After the Munich air disaster United were struggling to put together a strong team. Albert Quixall had been
bought in August 1958 for a record 45000 pstg, but had failed to repeat his goal
scoring feats attained at Sheffield Wednesday. Maurice Setters was signed from
West Brom to plug a leaky defence that had let in 54 goals in 25 games. These
new players combined with the established team
members,Charlton,Gregg,Foulkes,Dawson,Brennan,Giles,McGuinness, and Dennis
Violet. Violet continued his goal scoring form to score a record 32 goals in
only 36 appearances. Crowds of up to 65000 attended Uniteds games even though
success eluded them. United finished seventh in the league and were knocked out
of the FA cup by Sheffield Wednesday in the 5th round.
Busby strengthened the team with Cantwell from West Ham, Dunne from the Irish league and the home grown Stiles, and Gaskell, who for the next few years was to share the goal keeping responsibilities with Gregg. United had a similar unsuccessful year finishing once again seventh and only reaching the 3rd round of the FA cup. Although 61000 saw the local derby against Manchester City and 65000 the Spurs game, attendances were starting to drop. Highs of the year included a 6-0 Vs Chelsea and Burnley. A low of 0-6 against Leicester occurred, also a 2-7 drubbing from Sheffield Wednesdy in the FA cup.
This season saw Herd recruited from Arsenal, having previously played locally for Stockport County with his Father. The defence was also strengthened with Chisnall making his debut. United finished a poor 15th in the league and eliminated from the FA cup in the semi final losing 1-3 to Spurs. Due to Uniteds poor form attendances again suffered a crowd of 57000 watched the Spurs game and 56000 the derby against Manchester City.
1962 saw the recruiting of Denis Law and Pat Crerand, two players who were to have a huge impact on United. United having a bad year finished 19th just avoiding relegation. Their best league result was the 5-1 defeat of Notts forest. Better results in the FA cup saw United reach the final. An unforgettable game resulted in the underdogs, United beating the fancied Leicester City 3-1. Attendances in general were continuing to drop although United were attracting better gates away from Old Trafford, 69000 squeezed into Goodison for the Everton game. Only 49000 watched the Manchester City derby.
The cup success drew the crowds back to old Trafford 63000 fans watched United thrash Everton 5-1, Ipswich receiving a 7-2 drubbing. A 6-1 defeat at Burnley was revenged with a 5-1 victory two days later.
Uniteds new players included Sadler, Anderson , the ineffective Moore from Chelsea and the magical George Best.
The trio of Charlton Law and Best were to become household names and lay fear and wonder into the hearts of opposition teams everywhere.
United further strengthened the their team with Fitzpatrick,Aston, and P Dunne. Success came to Old Trafford in the form of Uniteds first league championship since 1957. A cup run to the semis was also achieved.
Uniteds success resulted in an increase in attendances crowds around the 55000 to 63000 mark were a regular feature at Old Trafford.
Ryan and Noble, who had a promising future cut short were Uniteds new players this year.The crowds were once again flocking to watch United. United came a reasonable 4th in the league, and lost out to Everton in the FA cup semi final.
Alex Stepney arrived from Chelsea this helped to consolidate a position that had troubled United for a couple of years. The goal keeping duties had been shared by Gregg Gaskill and recently Dunne. Stepney now took the mantle of goalkeeper. High points of 5-0 against Sunderland,6-1 west Ham, but a loss of 0-3 to Stoke saw United take out the league championship again. A loss to giant killers Norwich ended Uniteds cup run in the 3rd round. More than 60000 fans watched United on not less than eight occassions this year.
Uniteds squad was strengthened further with the promotion of Burns,Gowling,Rimmer and the current assistant manager Brian Kidd.
Attendance soared topping the 60000 mark in the league alone 12 times.
100000 mainly United fans watched their greatest ever moment , the 4-1 defeat of Benfica in the European cup final. This was Uniteds finest hour and Busbys dream.
The 2nd position in the league, after Manchester City, paled to nothing when United triumphed at Wembley
Morgan, Sartori and James were Uniteds recruits this year although playing attractive football and attracting the crowds United seemed to wain after their triumph over Benfica. Finishing a poor 11th in the league and losing in the 6th round of the cup to Everton a loss in the semi final of the European cup to AC Milan completed a disapointing year for United.
1969 saw Wilf McGuinness promoted to manager on Matt Busbys retirement. Ian Ure joined the team in a stop gap measure to strengthen the defence. A chaotic year ended any chance United had of success Best although leading goal scorer was at his worse behaviour. Charlton and other senior team members would not accept the authority of McGuinness. United finished a poor 8th in the league losing once again in the FA cup semi to Leeds.
McGuinness eventually was relieved of his position in Dec 1970 when Matt Busby once again took control at Old Trafford.