Today (Wednesday 27 October 2010) marks the 65th anniversary of Matt Busby's first match in charge of United.
The arrival of one of English football's greatest-ever managers was heralded by a home fixture in Football War League (North) against Bolton Wanderers - however, with Old Trafford rendered unusable by German bombs, the game was played at Maine Road. The Reds won 2-1 with goals from Johnny Carey and Harry Worrall.
A former Manchester City and Liverpool player, Busby had in fact accepted the position of United manager on 19 February 1945, but he had to wait until October to join the club full-time following his demobilisation from the army.
Together with his loyal assistant manager Jimmy Murphy, Busby created a team good enough to win the FA Cup in 1948 and to challenge for the League Championship. After finishing runners-up four times, Busby's men won the title in 1952.
Far from being blinded by their success, Busby and Murphy had the foresight to plan ahead and prepare for the day when their first great team would need replacing. The club's scouting system was expanded and reorganised, soon yielding a young team that won the title again in 1956 and 1957 and reached the FA Cup final in 1957. This young team was christened the 'Busby Babes.'
Busby trailblazed the way for English clubs by entering the European Cup in 1956/57 - initially against the wishes of the Football League. United reached the semi-finals, losing to eventual winners Real Madrid.
The following season, 1957/58, bristled with promise and United were still challenging in all three competitions by February when disaster struck. On 6 February 1958, the aeroplane bringing the team home from a European Cup match against Red Star Belgrade crashed after refuelling in Munich. Twenty-three