Book Review by Mark Young.
There are many books on Manchester United and Manchester United’s history that paint a good picture of what has happened over the years at Old Trafford but Manchester United Then and Now puts everything into perspective.
The back cover reads “Manchester United Then and Now takes a nostalgic look at the people and places from Manchester United’s inspiring past. It traces the stadia, the training grounds, the houses, businesses and even cars of past players and shows how many of them look today.” That pretty much sums it up.
The book is full of photographs of Man United’s past and present, hence the title but that doesn’t even begin to describe it. Just because there are pictures does not make the writing suffer. The description of the historical content and the contrasting pictures is brilliant. It adds just about enough description to almost make the images move.
One of the most intriguing pictures is that of the residence of Sir Matt Busby. In a striking image, in a chapter titled “Home After Munich” there is a picture of Sir Matt’s house. People are gathered outside his house after he had arrived home after everything that had happened at that time. The image on the opposite page is that of the same house today. It is a normal house on a normal street that you or me could potentially live in. You would not be able to afford where Sir Alex Ferguson lives today but this modest residence of the legendary Sir Matt.
Another particularly interesting contrast is how the teams of today and yesteryear travel. The picture on the left hand side of the page shows the United team and Sir Matt queuing up to get on a private aeroplane for a European trip. The page of the modern United side has them posing for a photo outside of a aeroplane that has pictures of the current Untied squad plastered across it and the vessel is a lot larger that that on the opposite page. It is fascinating and in two pictures you can see where United and football in general has come.
My personal favourite part is where the training regimes are compared and the pictures of the training kits are equally impressive. As one of the sub headings says, any old kit was picked in days gone by where today it is all co ordinated and it covered in sponsors.
All in all, the entire book is fascinating and the difference in whatever there was ten, twenty, thirty or even seventy years ago is amazing. Be it from Old Trafford, to training kits, to cars and players and managers. An amazing look at one of the biggest football clubs in the world. Michael Heatley has done a superb job and this needs to be down as a must buy.