Two seasons after United’s first title triumph, Ernest Mangnall led his men back to glory with the help of a ferocious front line of Halse, West and Turnbull…
As the calendar ticked over to the first day of September 1910, The Great War was still four years off and the future looked bright, particularly in Manchester – a city booming in a new technological age. Nowhere was this adventurous spirit better typified than at Old Trafford, where an emerging United side prepared to challenge teams such as Aston Villa and Newcastle for pre-eminence in English football. And in the 1910/11 season, Ernest Mangnall’s side gave notice of this intent by winning the First Division title for the second time in four seasons.
Mangnall himself is still the only man in history to manage both the red and blue halves of Manchester, but it’s his achievements at Old Trafford that mark him out as one of the key figures in the club’s history. United began the season with a bang, travelling to Arsenal’s then Manor Field home and winning 2-1, thanks to a goal from Harold Halse and a debut strike from Enoch West – who would go on to net 80 times in 181 games for United. The Reds lost only two matches out of the opening 13, and despite a disappointing end to the year – three defeats in December – Mangnall’s side were well placed to strike for glory as the year turned.
A 5-0 win against Preston in mid-March, in which the prolific West bagged another brace, was a warning that this United side would not cede the advantage lightly. Further wins against Spurs, Liverpool and Bury put United on the cusp of a second title triumph – although, typically, we made it hard for ourselves. In the penultimate match of the season, United travelled to the Midlands to take reigning champions Aston Villa who, with a game in hand, knew nothing short of victory would do. A win for United, meanwhile, would effectively ensure the crown.
More than 50,000 packed into Villa Park for the showdown, and it was a thriller – Villa won 4-2 to blow the race wide