Champions 1907-08 League Champions, 1909 FA Cup winners

To celebrate winning the championship, Davies invited the playing staff back to his home, Moseley Hall in Cheadle, for a celebratory dinner, but first United went to play in Europe. The tour was to the Austro-Hungarian empire and the team played matches in Prague, Vienna and Budapest. Generally welcomed, a match against the Budapest league leaders, Ferencvaros, showed the dark underside of touring abroad. United were unbeaten on tour and had sleepwalked through their games. It was soon noticeable that the Ferencvaros side were no match for United's strong defending and quick, agile forwards. A 7-0 victory, with even goalkeeper Harry Moger getting on the scoresheet, was over- shadowed by crowd trouble. The players were attacked on leaving the field and later the rioters made further attacks as they left the ground in carriages. The Manchester Evening News correspondent reported: "Many arrests were made and the police were compelled to draw their swords." It was an unhappy end to what had generally been a successful tour. Mangnall said that United would never return to Budapest.


Before setting out on their tour, United had been invited to compete in the very first FA Charity Shield match. Al-l draw at Stamford Bridge with the champions of the Southern League, Queen's Park Rangers, forced the Football Association to organize a replay. It took place the following season and this time United ran out easy 4-0 victors

to become the inaugural winners of the Shield.


In 1908-09, after a seven-match unbeaten start to the season, United's league form deserted them. Still just in contention for a championship challenge in January, they suddenly found it virtually impossible to win their league matches, either home or away. A 4-'3 home victory over Notts County on New Year's Day was one of just three wins from then until the end of the season. They did manage to complete a league double over Manchester City, but this was scant consolation as the club plummeted down the table. A 13th- place finish was a huge disappointment, but they did find form in the FA Cup.


Narrow wins over Brighton and Everton were followed by a 6-1 demolition of Blackburn Rovers in the third round. The quarter- finals brought them up against Ernest Mangnall's old club, Burnley. In the middle of a dismal league run, United seemed to be heading out of the Cup as well. Burnley took the lead ~ held on as the weather conditions deteriorated. A snowstorm descended from the Pennines and, as the pitch became even more of a quagmire and as the markings became obliterated, the referee abandoned the match. Famously, he was so cold and exhausted he was unable to blow his whistle, passing it to Charlie Roberts to call an end to the proceedings. As the Manchester Evening News reported on 13 March:



Manchester United lines up for the camera at Bank Street at the start of the 1908-09 season with the previous season's haul of trophies. The Charity Shield and the League Championship trophy join the Manchester Cup on the extreme right.   Charlie is sat directly in front of the Championship trophy, and would collect the FA cup in the 1909 final.



...the referee was in such a state that prior to calling his linesmen together he found it impossible to hold his whistle. There were only 18 minutes left on the clock and from then on, perhaps United's name was on the Cup. Replayed four days later, the team at last hit some form and left Turf Moor with both a 3-2 victory and a semi-final place. Then came the stiffest test yet - Newcastle United. While Manchester United's league form had been faltering, Newcastle appeared to be en route to becoming the first double-winning team of the twentieth century.. Harold Halse spoiled their party by scoring the only goal of the game.


In the final, played at the Crystal Palace, Bristol City fell to a single goal, this time scored by Sandy Turnbull. United's return, to Manchester brought huge crowds on to the streets:


The London train hove into sight, and amid a scene of wild enthusiasm Mr Mangnall emerged carrying the Cup on high, followed by the players, their wives, and other people who had travelled from the Metropolis. The band struck up "See the Conquering Hero Comes" and there was a great scramble by the crowd, which had been permitted to enter the platform, to reach the players. Some were carried shoulder high, and ultimately were comfortably seated in the third waggonette. Sticks were waved and hats were thrown in the air and the enthusiasm was unbounded when Roberts, carrying the trophy, came into view. Manchester Evening News, 27 April 1909


They lined the streets from Manchester Central station to the Town Hall, and afterwards outside the hotel near the Bank Street ground. A torchlight procession followed the players to their celebratory dinner at the Midland Hotel. With the FA Cup sitting in the Bank