Manchester United's Nemanja Vidic may become one of their greatest captains ever—but not yet.
Similarly, great characters from the past may have been as great in their way as some who are selected here, but it is hard to compare their relative merits other than on historic achievements.
Harry Stafford was great for United. He was the first ever captain and held the honour for seven years, until he retired in 1903. He also found John Henry Davies, the first benefactor of the club, who saved it from bankruptcy. Newton Heath in green and gold became Manchester United, and the legend of the Reds was born.
Charlie Roberts was captain for eight years, during which he won two league titles. Not until 1983 did another Englishman, Bryan Robson, captain the side to FA Cup success as he did in 1909. He played a total of 299 matches, scoring 23 goals. He was also a founder of the Players Union and was capped three times for England.
Jack Silcock captained United during two periods, from 1930-1931 and 1932-1934. He played 423 times for the club and three times for England.
Bill McKay was a Scot who also captained United for two spells, from 1934-35 and 1939-40. His career was then disrupted by the war, and he guested for other clubs before leaving Manchester at the age of 40.
Bill Foulkes holds the third highest number of appearances for the club at 683. He was captain in 1958/9 in the immediate aftermath of the air crash, but for years, was unable to come to terms with the tragedy, so it was no surprise that Dennis Violet took over. Bill went on to become unarguably one of the greatest United players ever, including winning the European Cup in 1968.
Manchester United has a great tradition and history built on such great players as these. For our selection of the greatest captains, we start in the Matt Busby era with the first Irishman to achieve success and two of the legendary trio of Best, Charlton and Law.