List of Manchester United F.C. managers

Manchester United Football Club is an English professional football club based in Old Trafford, Greater Manchester. The club was formed in Newton Heath in 1878 as Newton Heath LYR F.C., and played their first competitive match in October 1886, when they entered the First Round of the 1886–87 FA Cup. The club was renamed Manchester United F.C. in 1902, and moved to Old Trafford in 1910.

From the beginning of the club's official managerial records in 1892 to the start of the 2017–18 season, Manchester United have had 22 full-time managers. The current manager is José Mourinho who took over from Louis van Gaal on 27 May 2016.

The longest-serving and most successful person to manage Manchester United is Sir Alex Ferguson, who won 13 Premier League titles, five FA Cups, four League Cups, 10 Community Shields, two UEFA Champions League titles, one UEFA Cup Winners' Cup, one UEFA Super Cup, one Intercontinental Cup and one FIFA Club World Cup in his managerial reign of more than 26 years.

Managerial history

From 1878 to 1914, the team was selected by a committee whose secretary had the same powers and role as a manager has today. There were four secretaries during this period, A. H. Albut, James West, Ernest Mangnall and John Bentley.

Ernest Mangnall was the first man to bring any major silverware to the club, winning the club's first ever Football League title in 1908. This was followed by the FA Cup the following season, and another league title in 1911. Despite this success, though, he left the club a year later to join local rivals Manchester City. Coincidentally, Mangnall's last match in charge of United was the Old Trafford derby of 7 September 1912.[1] John Bentley took over as club secretary, but was replaced two years later by Jack Robson, who became the club's first full-time manager. He remained in the post for seven years, but resigned in December 1921 after succumbing to a bout of pneumonia.[2]

Robson was followed soon after by John Chapman. However, in Chapman's first season at the club, they were relegated to the Second Division for the first time since 1906. Three years in the Second Division followed, before promotion back to the First Division. After guiding the club to 9th place in the league and the FA Cup semi-finals in 1925–26, Chapman received a telegram from the Football Association on 8 October 1926 informing him of his suspension from management for the rest of the season; no reason was given. Half-back Lal Hilditch took over for the remainder of the season, before Herbert Bamlett took permanent control.

Bamlett was manager for four years, but was unable to muster any success, the club's highest position during his reign being 12th.[3] The club was relegated to the Second Division again in 1931, and Bamlett was replaced by club secretary Walter Crickmer. This was Crickmer's first of two spells as manager of the club, retaining his position as secretary all the while. It lasted only a season, though, as he failed to return the club to the First Division. In June 1932, Scott Duncan was appointed as manager, but in his second season in charge he led the club to what remains a club record lowest League position; 20th in the Second Division. The club held faith in Duncan though, and he managed to get the club back into the First Division by 1936. However, the club was relegated again the following year, and Walter Crickmer resumed control until the end of the Second World War.

Before the end of the war, the club approached Matt Busby, who had just turned down the opportunity to join the coaching staff at Liverpool, on the grounds that he wanted more responsibility over the playing side of the club than merely the selection of the team.[3] United allowed Busby the responsibilities he requested, and in his first five seasons in charge he guided the team to four second-place finishes in the league, before finally winning his first title in 1952. He soon set about replacing many of the more experienced players with a group of youths who came to be known as the "Busby Babes". This team went on to win two league titles in 1955–56 and 1956–57, as well as reaching two FA Cup finals. Unfortunately, the careers of many of the players were cut short by the Munich air disaster, which also left Busby fighting for his life.[4]

While Busby was in hospital recovering from the injuries he sustained in the air crash, his managerial duties were left to his assistant, Jimmy Murphy. After Busby recovered, he set about rebuilding his side, and within five years, in 1963, he had won the FA Cup for the first time in 15 years. This was followed up by two league titles in three years, and then the greatest prize in European club football, the European Cup. He continued as manager for one more year after this success, leaving his managerial duties to club trainer Wilf McGuinness. McGuinness struggled in his new post, however, and Busby was convinced to return for the second half of the 1970–71 season.[4] However, he retired from football permanently that summer, and was succeeded that summer by Frank O'Farrell. O'Farrell's stay was short-lived, though, as his inability to control George Best's extravagances forced the board to sack him with three years still to run on his contract.

O'Farrell's replacement was to be Scotland coach, Tommy Docherty. Docherty left the Scotland job and his first task at United was to keep the club in the top flight. He managed it once, but he was unable to pull it off again and the club was relegated in 1973–74. They bounced straight back up the following season, though, and in their first season back in the top flight, the team cruised to a third-place finish and yet another FA Cup final. The next year, they went one better, beating Liverpool in the final to claim his first and only trophy at Old Trafford. It was soon discovered, however, that Docherty was having an affair with the wife of the club's physiotherapist, and he was immediately fired,[5] replaced by Queens Park Rangers' manager Dave Sexton.

Sexton remained in the United job for four years, but was unable to produce any silverware, and was replaced in 1981 by Ron Atkinson. Atkinson was able to rekindle the club's cup success, leading his side to two FA Cups in his five-year tenure. He also oversaw a series of respectable finishes in the league, but after his disastrous start to the 1986–87 season, he was sacked.[6] His replacement, Alex Ferguson, had, in recent years, become the first manager to break the dominance of Rangers and Celtic in the Scottish league for over 15 years, winning the Scottish Premier Division title with Aberdeen three times in six years, as well as finishing as runner-up twice and winning the European Cup-Winners Cup.

During his tenure, Ferguson was credited with the distinction of making some of the most shrewd purchases in the club's history, including the signings of Peter Schmeichel and Eric Cantona, each for less than £1.5 million.[7] With these signings, combined with the club's many experienced players, Ferguson brought the league title back to Old Trafford for the first time in 26 years. In the following decade, he won the Premier League title another six times, including a hat-trick of titles from 1999 to 2001, a feat that no other manager has yet achieved with the same club.[8] In 1999, he also led the club to an unprecedented Treble of Premier League, FA Cup and UEFA Champions League. Subsequently, he added another three league titles to his trophy haul, despite a number of promises of retirement.[9] Ferguson won his 10th Premier League title in the 2007–08 season, and followed this up with his second Champions League title 10 days later. In 2008–09, Ferguson guided United to another Premier League title, making Manchester United the only club and him the only manager to have won the English league title three times in a row twice. His 12th title, in the 2010–11 season, was United's 19th overall, overtaking Liverpool's record of 18. Ferguson won his 13th and final league title in the 2012–13 season, making 20 titles overall for United. At the end of the season, Ferguson announced his retirement, and he was replaced by Everton manager David Moyes.[10]

In his first match, Moyes gave United their 20th Community Shield and his first trophy as United manager; however, after failing to lead the club to Champions League qualification, he was sacked before the end of his first season, with Ryan Giggs taking temporary charge for the final four games of the 2013–14 season where the club finished seventh, their lowest league finish since the establishment of the Premier League.[11] Netherlands manager Louis van Gaal was appointed as Moyes' permanent replacement on 19 May 2014, taking charge after the end of the 2014 FIFA World Cup.[12] In his inaugural season, United signed many prominent players and returned to the Champions League with a 4th-place finish. In his second season, United finished in 5th place behind Manchester City, out of Champions League position, but won the 2016 FA Cup, the club's first in a dozen years. The board, however, decided that not enough progress had been made from the previous season and Van Gaal was sacked on 23 May 2016, just days after lifting the cup. He was replaced by two-time European champion and former Chelsea boss José Mourinho on 27 May 2016. Mourinho became United's fourth manager (including Giggs) in as many years since Ferguson's retirement.


Information correct as of 19 August 2018. Only competitive matches are counted.

Table headers
  • Nationality – If the manager played international football as a player, the country/countries he played for are shown. Otherwise, the manager's nationality is given as their country of birth.
  • From – The year of the manager's first game for Manchester United.
  • To – The year of the manager's last game for Manchester United.
  • P – The number of games managed for Manchester United.
  • W – The number of games won as a manager.
  • D – The number of games draw as a manager.
  • L – The number of games lost as a manager.
  • GF – The number of goals scored under his management.
  • GA – The number of goals conceded under his management.
  • Win% – The total winning percentage under his management.
  • Honours – The trophies won while managing Manchester United.
  • (n/a) = Information not available
  • p = Player-manager
List of Manchester United F.C. managers
Name Nationality From To P W D L GF GA Win%[nb 1] Honours Notes
A. H. Albut  England 1892 1900 (n/a) (n/a) (n/a) (n/a) (n/a) (n/a) (n/a) [nb 2][nb 3]
James West  England 1900 September 1903 113 46 20 47 159 147 040.71 [nb 2][13]
Ernest Mangnall  England 10 October 1903 9 September 1912 373 202 76 95 700 476 054.16 2 First Division titles
1 FA Cup
2 Charity Shields
[nb 2][14]
T. J. Wallworth (n/a) 9 September 1912 20 October 1912 6 3 2 1 11 7 050.00 [nb 4]
John Bentley  England 28 October 1912 28 December 1914 82 36 16 30 127 110 043.90 [nb 2][15]
Jack Robson  England 28 December 1914 31 October 1921 139 41 42 56 183 207 029.50 [16]
John Chapman  Scotland 31 October 1921 8 October 1926 221 86 58 77 287 274 038.91 [17]
Lal Hilditchp  England 8 October 1926 13 April 1927 33 10 10 13 38 47 030.30 [18]
Herbert Bamlett  England 13 April 1927 9 November 1931 183 57 42 84 280 374 031.15 [19]
Walter Crickmer  England 9 November 1931 13 July 1932 43 17 8 18 72 76 039.53 [20]
Scott Duncan  Scotland 13 July 1932 7 November 1937 235 92 53 90 371 362 039.15 1 Second Division title [21]
Walter Crickmer  England 9 November 1937 15 February 1945 76 30 24 22 131 112 039.47 [20]
Matt Busby  Scotland 1 October 1945 4 June 1969 1,120 565 263 292 2,286 1,536 050.45 5 First Division titles
2 FA Cups
5 Charity Shields (inc. 2 shared)
1 European Cup
Jimmy Murphy (caretaker)  Wales February 1958 June 1958 22 5 7 10 27 42 022.73 [nb 5][23]
Wilf McGuinness  England 4 June 1969 29 December 1970 87 32 32 23 127 111 036.78 [24]
Matt Busby  Scotland 29 December 1970 8 June 1971 21 11 3 7 38 30 052.38 [22]
Frank O'Farrell  Ireland 8 June 1971 19 December 1972 81 30 24 27 115 111 037.04 [25]
Tommy Docherty  Scotland 22 December 1972 4 July 1977 228 107 56 65 333 252 046.93 1 FA Cup
1 Second Division title
Dave Sexton  England 14 July 1977 30 April 1981 201 81 64 56 290 240 040.30 1 Charity Shield (shared) [27]
Ron Atkinson  England 9 June 1981 6 November 1986 292 146 79 67 461 266 050.00 2 FA Cups
1 Charity Shield
Alex Ferguson  Scotland 6 November 1986 19 May 2013 1,500 895 338 267 2,769 1,365 059.67 13 Premier League titles
5 FA Cups
4 League Cups
10 Community Shields (inc. 1 shared)[nb 6]
2 UEFA Champions Leagues
1 UEFA Cup Winners' Cup
1 UEFA Super Cup
1 Intercontinental Cup
1 FIFA Club World Cup
David Moyes  Scotland 1 July 2013 22 April 2014 51 27 9 15 86 54 052.94 1 Community Shield [30]
Ryan Giggsp (caretaker)  Wales 22 April 2014 11 May 2014 4 2 1 1 8 3 050.00 [31]
Louis van Gaal  Netherlands 16 July 2014 23 May 2016 103 54 25 24 158 98 052.43 1 FA Cup [32]
José Mourinho  Portugal 27 May 2016 present 122 75 25 22 210 90 061.48 1 UEFA Europa League
1 League Cup
1 Community Shield


  1. Win% is rounded to two decimal places
  2. 1 2 3 4 Secretary of the committee that chose the team
  3. Information regarding A. H. Albut's managerial record is unavailable due to his exact date of appointment being unknown.
  4. Wallworth was only the club's acting secretary, and, as such, he is not included in any official lists of the club's managers.
  5. Murphy was installed as the club's caretaker manager while Busby was in hospital recovering from the Munich air disaster.
  6. Five of Ferguson's Community Shields were won while the competition was still known as the FA Charity Shield.


  1. Cawley, Steve; James, Gary (1991). The Pride of Manchester. ACL & Polar. pp. 56–57. ISBN 0-9514862-1-7.
  2. "Down memory lane 1889–1928". This is The North East. Archived from the original on 12 June 2011. Retrieved 30 November 2010.
  3. 1 2 Barnes, Justyn; Bostock, Adam; Butler, Cliff; Ferguson, Jim; Meek, David; Mitten, Andy; Pilger, Sam; Taylor, Frank OBE & Tyrrell, Tom (2001). The Official Manchester United Illustrated Encyclopedia. London: Manchester United Books. ISBN 0-233-99964-7.
  4. 1 2 "Sir Matt Busby". Retrieved 16 November 2007.
  5. "Football – Docherty Sacked for Love Affair". 1977. Retrieved 16 November 2007.
  6. "Atkinson, Ron: 1981–1986". Retrieved 16 November 2007.
  7. "Ferguson: 21 best signings". Manchester United. Manchester Evening News. 7 November 2007. Retrieved 16 November 2007.
  8. "Ferguson celebrates title triumph". BBC Sport (British Broadcasting Corporation). 25 November 2007. Retrieved 25 November 2007.
  9. "Ferguson to quit Man Utd in 2002". BBC Sport (British Broadcasting Corporation). 18 May 2001. Retrieved 23 November 2007.
  10. "United appoint Moyes". Manchester United. 9 May 2013. Retrieved 27 May 2013.
  11. "David Moyes: Manchester United manager sacked by club". BBC Sport (British Broadcasting Corporation). 22 April 2014. Retrieved 22 April 2014.
  12. "Manchester United: Louis van Gaal confirmed as new manager". BBC Sport (British Broadcasting Corporation). 19 May 2014. Retrieved 19 May 2014.
  13. "UNITED under James WEST". Retrieved 15 November 2007.
  14. "UNITED under Ernest MANGNALL". Retrieved 15 November 2007.
  15. "UNITED under J J BENTLEY". Retrieved 15 November 2007.
  16. "UNITED under John ROBSON". Retrieved 15 November 2007.
  17. "UNITED under John CHAPMAN". Retrieved 15 November 2007.
  18. "UNITED under Clarence HILDITCH". Retrieved 15 November 2007.
  19. "UNITED under Herbert BAMLETT". Retrieved 15 November 2007.
  20. 1 2 "UNITED under Walter CRICKMER". Retrieved 15 November 2007.
  21. "UNITED under Scott DUNCAN". Retrieved 15 November 2007.
  22. 1 2 "UNITED under Sir Matt BUSBY". Retrieved 15 November 2007.
  23. "UNITED under Jimmy MURPHY". Retrieved 15 November 2007.
  24. "UNITED under Wilf McGUINNESS". Retrieved 15 November 2007.
  25. "UNITED under Frank O'FARRELL". Retrieved 15 November 2007.
  26. "UNITED under Tommy DOCHERTY". Retrieved 15 November 2007.
  27. "UNITED under Dave SEXTON". Retrieved 15 November 2007.
  28. "UNITED under Ron ATKINSON". Retrieved 15 November 2007.
  29. "UNITED under Sir Alex FERGUSON". Retrieved 19 May 2013.
  30. "UNITED under David MOYES". Retrieved 22 April 2014.
  31. "UNITED under Ryan GIGGS". Retrieved 15 March 2015.
  32. "UNITED under Louis van GAAL". Retrieved 13 July 2015.
  33. "UNITED under José MOURINHO". Retrieved 28 August 2016.

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