United’s history at Wembley

Friday 28 April 2023 16:29

Wembley Stadium is celebrating its 100-year anniversary, with the iconic venue first opening on 28 April 1993.

'Old’ Wembley was closed in 2000 and demolished several years later to make way for a brand-new ground. 'New’ Wembley reopened in 2007, and United were involved in its first official match the same year, taking on Chelsea in the FA Cup final.  

The Reds have experienced many trips down the years to the stadium of the England national team, including our recent Emirates FA Cup semi-final success against Brighton and February’s Carabao Cup final triumph over Newcastle.  

Erik Ten Hag’s side can also look forward another visit to Wembley Way in the shape of June’s FA Cup final, with Pep Guardiola’s Manchester City awaiting the Reds.  

As we mark a century since 'old' Wembley first opened, find out all the facts and figures involving United during the 100-year history of the national stadium…

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WHO ARE OUR TOP SCORERS?

The Reds have found the net 79 times in 56 visits to Wembley, with Mark Hughes leading the way as our top scorer. Sparky has six goals to his name at the stadium for United - including a brace in a thrilling 3-3 draw with Crystal Palace in the 1990 FA Cup final. The Reds went on to win the replay 1-0 thanks to a goal from Lee Martin.

Our next top scorer is Eric Cantona, who boasts an impressive record of five Wembley goals in just six appearances. Cantona’s match-winning volley against rivals Liverpool in the 1996 FA Cup final remains one of the Frenchman’s most iconic goals.  

Captain Marvel Bryan Robson also has five goals at the national stadium, with two of those coming in the replay of the 1983 FA Cup final, as United beat Brighton 4-0.  

Next on the top scorers list with three Wembley goals are five players: Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Norman Whiteside, Nani, Jesse Lingard and Wayne Rooney.

MOST FAMILIAR OPPONENTS

The Reds have faced 16 different teams during Wembley’s 100-year history, but which team have we done battle with the most?

Chelsea are our most frequent foes, coming up against the Blues on nine occasions. The Reds' first meeting with the Blues at Wembley was the 1994 FA Cup final, where we emerged victorious thanks to goals from Cantona (2), Hughes and Brian McClair.  

Our overall record against Chelsea at the stadium stands at four wins out of nine matches, with three of those coming in the Community Shield (1997, 2007 and 2009).  

After Chelsea, bitter rivals Liverpool are United’s next most reoccurring opponents with six clashes occurring between the sides at Wembley. We have also faced Tottenham and Arsenal four times each.

MEMORABLE MATCHES

Benfica 1 United 4 

On 29 May 1968, ten years after the Munich Air Disaster, Sir Matt Busby’s United team defeated Portuguese champions Benfica to win our first European Cup. A brilliant glancing header from Sir Bobby Charlton put United ahead, however Jaime Graca struck for Benfica to send the tie to extra time.  

George Best expertly rounded the keeper to restore our lead, before Brian Kidd’s goal on his 19th birthday made it 3-1. Sir Bobby guided the ball home to round off the scoring, securing our maiden European Cup triumph. Our success in ’68 was also the first time an English side had won the prestigious competition.  

Chelsea 0 United 4 

The aforementioned ’94 FA Cup final saw Glen Hoddle’s Chelsea competing in their first major final since 1971, while United were aiming to complete the league and FA Cup double for the first time in our history.  

The first half ended goalless, before two second-half penalties from Cantona put the Reds in control. A clinical strike from Hughes took the game away from Chelsea, before McClair tapped into an empty net in the closing stages to make it 4-0.

Club captains Steve Bruce and Dennis Wise at the 1994 FA Cup final.

United 2 Newcastle 0  

The Reds secured the second trophy of the 1999 Treble with a dominant performance against the Magpies in yet another FA Cup final. Teddy Sheringham opened the scoring after clever link-up play with Paul Scholes, who doubled our lead with a powerful effort.

Crystal Palace 1 United 2

United last captured the FA Cup in 2016, with an action-packed victory over Alan Pardew’s men. Jason Puncheon put Palace ahead on 78 minutes, but Juan Mata’s close-range volley minutes later sent the tie to extra time. Despite Chris Smalling seeing red during the additional 30 minutes, the Reds netted the winning goal as Lingard’s wonderfully struck effort left keeper Wayne Hennessey stranded, causing wild scenes in the United end at Wembley.

United 3 Southampton 2 

The Reds and the Saints produced an enthralling encounter in the 2017 League Cup final. Ibrahimovic and Lingard put the Reds 2-0 up before Manolo Gabbiadini scored a brace to bring his side level. But it was our Swedish striker who had the final say, as Zlatan's emphatic header in the closing stages ensured the trophy came to Manchester.

HOW MANY TROPHIES HAVE WE LIFTED AT WEMBLEY?

The Reds have lifted 29 trophies at the national stadium, in four different competitions...

European Cup 
United’s sole European success at Wembley was the previously mentioned clash with Benfica in 1968. We did play Barcelona in the 2011 Champions League final at the iconic stadium, however that ended in a 3-1 defeat to the Catalan side. 

FA Cup
We have lifted the FA Cup on 10 occasions at Wembley, and the Reds will be aiming to add to that figure on 3 June against City.

League Cup 
United’s Carabao Cup success versus Newcastle in February 2023 was the fifth time we have won the competition at the Three Lions' stadium. Goals from Casemiro and Marcus Rashford confirmed the first trophy of the Erik Ten Hag era.  

Community Shield 
The Reds have 11 outright triumphs and two shared after draws, with our most recent Community Shield win coming in 2016 against Leicester. Lingard and Ibrahimovic scored in a 2-1 win over the Foxes.
MOST MANAGERIAL APPEARANCES

Eleven different managers have led United out at Wembley. As expected, Sir Alex Ferguson has been in the stadium's dugout as United manager the most, with 29 matches to his name. 
 
Sir Alex’s achievements at Wembley included four FA Cups and three League Cups, with further success in those competitions also coming at the Millennium Stadium.  
 
The next closest to Sir Alex’s total is Ron Atkinson, who managed the Reds on six occasions at the stadium, with Jose Mourinho third with five matches to his name. Atkinson won two FA Cups and one Community Shield, while Mourinho also tasted success in the Community Shield as well as the League Cup.

Sir Matt Busby closely follows Atkinson and Mourinho with four Wembley bouts, which were all finals. Busby won three of those games - the European Cup and two FA Cups.

Current Reds boss Ten Hag has led United out at Wembley twice already, with the FA Cup final in June set to lift him to three appearances in the dugout at the iconic arena.

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