Foreword by Pat Crerand

It always staggers me when I speak to my sons or grandsons about Manchester United, and they speak with knowledge of things that happened long before they were born. It’s amazing and it serves to remind me of just how important the history of the club is to the fans, and when you look at it, the history of Manchester United is incredible.

Success, tragedy, gifted players, great managers… it’s a club whose tale is unlike any other. United surpasses every other club by a distance in terms of heritage. We have been at the forefront of football worldwide since Matt Busby came here back in the 1950s – we’re talking about 60 years of being news all over the globe, and there are no signs of that diminishing today. Quite the opposite, in fact!

When Matt came along and had the success that he had, that’s when things really got going, and after that along came Alex Ferguson. It’s amazing to think how fortunate we’ve been to have had two of the greatest managers ever, but there are so many other stories and characters involved too that it’s no wonder people have been so captivated.

I get fans coming up to me all the time to chat about football or have a picture taken, fans who are far too young to remember me playing. I’m in no doubt that I get recognised because I do a lot of work on MUTV, and the number of subscribers that the channel has around the world further demonstrates the level of interest in the club and its past.

It was a dreadful disaster in Munich in 1958, but you talk to kids today and they know more about it than events in the news which have happened recently. If they knew as much about general history at school as they do about United’s history, they’d fly through their exams. It’s amazing how important a football club is to lots of people. Manchester United have the biggest following worldwide and they’re news everywhere they go.

I think it’s terrific that people like Giles Oakley dedicate so much time to telling the club’s tale. There’s no limit to the amount of knowledge and stories people want to hear about Manchester United, and people like Giles help to quench that incredible thirst.

Pat Crerand, February 2013