The Journey From 1 to 19 – Part One


By James Johnson.


The 1907/08 season saw United win their first league title. Managed by Ernest Mangnall, United won the league by nine points from Aston Villa.

Manchester United started the league campaign with a 4-1 win over title rivals Villa, and lost only twice in the first 22 games of the season.

The Scottish forward Alexander ‘Sandy’ Turnbull was the team’s top scorer with an incredible 25 goals in only 30 league games. One highlight of United and Turnbull’s season was the 4-0 victory at home against Liverpool where the forward scored a hat-trick in front of 25 thousand fans.

Yorkshireman George Wall had his most prolific season at United as he contributed 19 league goals to help the club to the title.

Man United ended the season as champions of England and also won the Charity Shield with a 4-0 victory over QPR in a replay at Stamford Bridge.


Three years after the clubs first league title, Mangnall once again piped Aston Villa to the post as United won the league by a point from their Midlands rivals.

Turnbull was once again integral to the team’s success with 18 league goals, and was the clubs second highest scorer that season behind Enoch West. West scored 18 goals on the way to winning the league and stayed at the club for five years before being suspended for life for match fixing.

After losing to Aston Villa in the penultimate game of the season, United needed to beat Sunderland at Old Trafford to clinch the title. In true United fashion they did win, and won handsomely 5-1 with goals from Turnbull, West, an own goal and a brace from Londoner Harold Halse.

This proved to be the last title that Mangnall would win at the club before he left in 1912, and the last the club would win for 41 years.


In his 7th season as manager Sir Matt Busby finally saw the previous six years hard work pay dividends as he led United to their 3rd league title.

Jack Rowley, the Wolverhampton born striker who signed for the club in 1937 for the fee of £3,000 ended up as the clubs top scorer with 30 goals which included four hat-tricks, two of which came in the first two games of the season against West Brom and Middlesbrough.

United were the second top scorers in the division with 95 goals, 21 of which were scored in the final five games of the season, including a 6-1 victory on the last day of the season against third placed Arsenal.

This league win was the first of Busby’s five league titles he brought to the club and set the standard that the Scot demanded of his players. Local lad Stanley Pearson was one of the heros of the season with his contribution of 22 goals in all competitions which helped United finish top of the league by four points from North London rivals Tottenham and Arsenal.

When players and managers talk about fixture congestion every season, they should take a minute to think of what the players had to deal with in 1951. They were forced to play four games in seven days in December, including home and away matches against Fulham on Christmas day and Boxing Day.

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Sources of information

MUFC info
Stretford End

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