Picking a Manchester United Team for Each Decade Since the 1960s

Rob DawsonManchester United CorrespondentDecember 22, 2013

Picking a Manchester United Team for Each Decade Since the 1960s

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    Manchester United have been blessed with some wonderful players throughout their history.

    They've employed European champions, world champions and English champions—lots of them. They've also had European footballers of the year and world footballers of the year.

    They've had fantastic goalscorers and cult heroes, fearsome centre-halves and one Captain Marvel.

    The club hasn't always been seen terrific success. While the 1960s, 1990s and 2000s were filled with trophies at home and abroad, there wasn't much for the fans to shout about during the 1970s and 1980s. 

    Here's United's greatest team for each decade since the 1960s. Feel free to agree, disagree and add your own in the comments section below.

Team of the 1960s

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    When you're picking United's team of the 1960s, the side that won the European Cup in 1968 is a good place to start. It was a team built around Bobby Charlton, George Best and Denis Law, who missed the final with Benfica at Wembley because of injury.

    There's also room for two Munich survivors, Harry Gregg and Bill Foulkes, and Nobby Stiles, who was part of England's team that won the World Cup in 1966.

    Best, Charlton and Law were all named European Footballer of the Year during the '60s and have a statue dedicated to them outside Old Trafford.

    United team of the 1960s: Harry Gregg, Shay Brennan, Tony Dunne, Bill Foulkes, David Sadler, Nobby Stiles, Bobby Charlton, Paddy Crerand, George Best, Dennis Viollet, Denis Law.

Team of the 1970s

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    Despite beating Liverpool in the 1977 FA Cup final, the 1970s were a disappointing decade for United after they were relegated into the second division in 1974.

    But the decade did feature some of United's longest-serving players, including Arthur Albiston, Martin Buchan, Steve Coppell, Sammy McIlroy and Lou Macari, who all still hold places in the top 30 appearance-makers.

    Alex Stepney was in goal for the 1968 European Cup final, but he didn't leave Old Trafford until 1978 and earns a place in the team of the '70s.

    Up front, Joe Jordan is paired with England centre forward Stuart Pearson, who scored 55 goals in 139 league games.

    United team of the 1970s: Alex Stepney, Arthur Albiston, Gordon McQueen, Brian Greenhoff, Martin Buchan, Sammy McIlroy, Lou Macari, Steve Coppell, Willie Morgan, Joe Jordan, Stuart Pearson.

Team of the 1980s

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    Aside from FA Cup wins in 1983 and 1985, the '80s were another lean decade for United as they watched Liverpool dominate domestic football.

    The star was Bryan Robson, who moved to Old Trafford from West Brom in 1981 and went on to make 461 appearances for the club.

    Norman Whiteside wrote himself in United history with the winner against Everton in the 1985 FA Cup final, a game during which Kevin Moran became the first player to be sent off in an FA Cup final.

    Moran's centre-half partner Paul McGrath was another fans' favourite, but once Alex Ferguson took over in 1986, McGrath and Whiteside were quickly moved on.

    There are also spots for two of United's top-20 appearance-makers, Arthur Albiston and Mark Hughes, and for the first goalscorer of Ferguson's 26-year reign, John Sivebaek, for simply sentimental reasons.

    United team of the 1980s: Gary Bailey, John Sivebaek, Arthur Albiston, Paul McGrath, Kevin Moran, Bryan Robson, Gordon Strachan, Jesper Olsen, Norman Whiteside, Frank Stapleton, Mark Hughes.

Team of the 1990s

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    After two decades of relative disappointment, United dominated the 1990s. They began with the FA Cup in 1990 and won their first league title in 26 years in 1993. Then came a first double in 1994 and Champions League success in 1999.

    Eight of the 1999 treble team make the cut, including Peter Schmeichel, Gary Neville, Denis Irwin, David Beckham, Ryan Giggs, and Andy Cole, as well as Roy Keane and Paul Scholes, who both missed the Champions League final with Bayern Munich through suspension.

    At centre-half, Steve Bruce and Gary Pallister combined to make 851 appearances for United and were at the heart of the team during the first Premier League success in 1993.

    Alongside Cole up front is Eric Cantona, who scored 82 goals in 185 games for United after moving from Leeds United in 1992, a signing that triggered a decade of success.

    United team of the 1990s: Peter Schmeichel, Gary Neville, Denis Irwin, Steve Bruce, Gary Pallister, David Beckham, Ryan Giggs, Roy Keane, Paul Scholes, Andy Cole, Eric Cantona.

Team of the 2000s

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    United's era of dominance that started in the 1990s continued into the new millennium. Three players keep their places in the team from the '90s—Gary Neville, Paul Scholes and Ryan Giggs.

    There's also room for six of the team that won the 2008 Champions League after a penalty shoot-out with Chelsea—Edwin van der Sar, Patrice Evra, Nemanja Vidic, Rio Ferdinand, Michael Carrick, Wayne Rooney and Cristiano Ronaldo.

    Ronaldo was the stand-out player of the decade, scoring 118 goals in 292 games before leaving for Real Madrid in a world-record deal in 2009.

    Centre forward Ruud van Nistelrooy scored 150 goals in 219 games in just five years at Old Trafford.

    United team of the 2000s: Edwin van der Sar, Gary Neville, Patrice Evra, Nemanja Vidic, Rio Ferdinand, Michael Carrick, Paul Scholes, Ryan Giggs, Cristiano Ronaldo, Wayne Rooney, Ruud van Nistelrooy.