Manchester United Managers: The Complete All-Time Guide to Every Man Utd Boss

alex fergusson statue at old trafford

Since the very formation of Newton Heath in 1878, (only to be renamed Manchester United in 1902)

this historic football club has had 29 different managers.

This includes four men who handled managerial duties but under the role of a ‘secretary,’ which was voted in by a committee.

In the space of just a decade, from 2014 to 2024, United have had eight different managers, which represents 27.5% of the head coaches this club has ever had…

Everyone knows Sir Alex Ferguson or Sir Matt Busby, but do you know about Ernest Mangall, the first man to bring silverware to this now world-renowned football club?

If not, this is the guide for you, as we will be deep-diving into every manager United have ever had.

Manager Date Appointed Date Left Nationality Games Won Games Drawn Games Lost Win %
Alfred Hubert Albut 1892 (unknown date) 1900

(unknown date)

English 127 48 110 44.56
James West 1900

(unknown date)

1903 (unknown date) English 48 21 49 40.68
Ernest Mangall 10/10/1903 09/09/1912 English 200 76 94 54.05
T J Wallworth 09/09/1912 20/10/1912 English 3 2 2 42.86
John James Bentley 28/10/1912 28/12/1914 English 36 19 36 39.56
Jack Robson 28/12/1914 31/10/1921 English 38 36 47 31.40
John Albert Chapman 31/10/1921 08/10/1926 Scottish 86 58 76 39.09
Clarence Hilditch 08/10/1926 13/04/1927 English 9 8 14 29.03
Herbet Bamlett 13/04/1927 09/11/1931 English 61 48 91 30.50
Walter Crickmer 09/11/1931 (first spell)

09/11/1937 (second spell)

13/07/1932 (first spell)

15/02/1945 (second spell)

English 44 28 33 41.90
Scott Duncan 13/07/1932 07/11/1937 Scottish 92 53 90 39.15
Sir Matt Busby 01/10/1945 (first spell)

29/12/1970 (second spell)

04/06/1969 (first spell)

08/06/1971 (second spell)

Scottish 576 265 299 50.53
Jimmy Murphy 02/1958 (Took over while Busby was recovering) 06/1958 Welsh 5 7 10 22.73
Wilf McGuiness 04/06/1969 29/12/1970 English 32 33 23 36.36
Frank O’Farell 08/06/1971 19/12/1972 Irish 30 24 27 37.04
Tommy Docherty 22/12/1972 04/07/1977 Scottish 107 56 65 46.93
Dave Sexton 14/07/1977 30/04/1981 English 81 64 56 40.30
Ron Atkinson 09/06/1981 06/11/1986 English 146 79 67 50.00
Sir Alex Ferguson 06/11/1968 19/05/2013 Scottish 895 338 267 59.67
David Moyes 01/07/2013 22/04/2014 Scottish 27 9 15 52.94
Ryan Giggs 22/04/2014 18/05/2014 Welsh 2 1 1 50.00
Louis Van Gaal 19/05/2014 23/05/2016 Dutch 54 25 24 52.43
Jose Mourinho 26/05/2016 18/12/2018 Portuguese 84 32 28 58.33
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer 19/12/2018 21/11/2021 Norwegian 91 37 40 54.17
Michael Carrick 21/11/2021 02/12/2021 English 2 1 0 66.67
Ralf Rangnick 29/11/2021 29/05/22 German 11 10 8 37.93
Erik ten Hag 21/04/2022 Present Dutch 66 17 31 57.89

Alfred Hubert Albut

Known as a candy salesman, Alfred Hubert Albut became club ‘secretary’ in 1892 and remained until 1900.

He was in charge when United moved from North Road to the Bank Road stadium.

In a period of financial instability for United, Albut kept the club afloat before he was replaced by James West, following an external search to find a new secretary.

Albut managed 285 games for United, winning 127, drawing 48 and losing 110.

This left him with a 44.56% win percentage.

James West

Before becoming United secretary, James West was a manager for Lincoln City from 1897-1900.

After leaving Lincoln, he became United Secretary in the same year.

He lasted just three years, unable to bring United out of the second division.

In his reign, he saw United almost fall into bankruptcy after being served a liquidation order, before captain Harry Stafford was able to get four local businessmen to each invest, in return for power in running the club.

One of those four was John Henry Davies, who became club president and officially changed the name from Newton Heath to Manchester United in 1902.

Davies went on to take United completely out of debt, before changing the club’s colours from green and gold, to red, white and black.

He funded the move to Old Trafford in 1910 and oversaw a lot of United’s success in this period.

There is a classic story about his initial investment though…

It’s believed that captain Stafford’s dog had wandered off at a club’s fundraising event in Manchester in 1901.

He was found by Davies, who then wanted the dog and, in a compromise, United found a new big investor and Davies got himself a dog.

There are other interpretations of this story, but however it happened, Davies was the man who saved United.

Davies replaced West with Ernest Mangall in the Autumn of 1903.

West managed 118 games, winning 48, drawing 21 and losing 49.

This left him with a 40.68% win percentage.

Ernest Mangall

112 years after Ernest Mangall left the club, and he’s still the third most successful manager in United’s history.

It took him three seasons to promote the side out of the second division and into the first.

In their incepting season in the first division, Mangall guided them to a mid-table finish before leading United to their first league title in 1907/08.

The following season, United won their first FA Cup as well.

A few years later, Mangall’s side won the league again in 1910/11.

However, Mangall would leave in 1912 to join rivals Manchester City.

His final game managing United came in a 1-0 derby loss to City themselves.

United wouldn’t win a league title again for 40 years, their longest-ever run.

Mangall managed 370 games, winning 200, drawing 76 and losing 94.

This left him with a 54.05% win percentage.


Serving as an ‘interim’, T.J.Wallworth managed United in the period after Mangall left, before they found their replacement.

He was only there for seven games before John Bentley was hired in October of 1912.

Of his seven matches, he won three, drew two and lost two.

This left him with a 42.86% win percentage.

John James Bentley

Brought in as the official replacement for Mangall, Bentley had a high act to follow.

The Englishman however, was not able to replicate the previous success.

Before joining United, Bentley played for and then became the secretary of Bolton Wanderers.

In 1887, he became a founding member of the ‘Football League,’ eventually becoming president.

He then went on to be a lifetime member of the ‘Football League management committee.’

He only lasted two years at United, after taking them from a title-chasing team to scrapping relegation.

Subsequently, in 1914 he was replaced by Jack Robson.

After United, Bentley became the vice-president of the Football Association (FA).

In his time at United though, he managed 91 games, winning 36, drawing 19 and losing 36.

This left him with a 39.56% win percentage.

Jack Robson

Known as the very first official manager of United.

With the previous coach’s role described as a secretary, Robson changed this.

Before joining United, Robson had been a secretary for Middlesbrough, Crystal Palace and Brighton and Hove Albion.

He entered Manchester at a turbulent time after it emerged that United and Liverpool were involved in a betting scandal, to fix a league game, to prevent United from relegation.

United would win the game 2-0 and people from both sides would benefit.

Robson however was not aware and was not happy with the fixing.

He managed for seven years at United, before stepping down due to illness.

In that time, Robson managed 121 games, winning 38, drawing 36 and losing 47.

This left him with a 31.40% win percentage.

John Albert Chapman

Chapman’s run as United manager was an unusual one, particularly with the way it ended.

He initially joined United in 1921, having managed Scottish side Airdrieonians before this.

In his first season, United finished rock bottom of Division One and was subsequently relegated.

It took him three years to get United back up and promoted again.

Chapman guided United to a ninth-place finish in his first season back in Division One and an FA Cup semi-final.

However, ex-manager Mangall, now at Manchester City, would come back to haunt ‘The Red Devils’ by beating them 3-0 in the semis.

Chapman’s time at United would be cut short on October 7th 1926, when United received this message from the FA.

It said:For improper conduct in his position as Secretary-Manager of your Club Mr J. A. Chapman is suspended from taking any part in football or football management during the present season”.

No explanation was ever given but United cut all ties with him immediately.

Clarence Hilditch, a player at the time, became player-manager.

Before his abrupt exit, Chapman had managed 220 games, winning 86, drawing 58 and losing 76.

This left him with a 39.09% win percentage.

Clarence Hilditch

The first person to be a player-manager at Manchester United.

This was then only repeated by Ryan Giggs 88 years later.

He did this for the rest of the season before being replaced by Herbert Bamlett.

Before going back to just being a player, he managed 31 games for United, winning nine, drawing eight and losing 14.

This left him with a 29.03% win percentage.

Herbert Bamlett

Bamlett was formally a referee before getting into management.

He was the referee in 1909 when United played against Burnley.

Burnley were winning 1-0 and Bamlett called the game off with 18 minutes left due to snow.

United won the rearranged game and then went on to win the FA Cup for the first time.

He managed Oldham Athletic, Wigan Borough and Middlesbrough before becoming United manager.

Bamlett was at the club for four years, before he was relieved of duties after leaving United on the brink of relegation.

This was further worsened by the death of owner Davies, leaving United struggling for cash.

Bamlett left United having managed 200 games, winning 61, drawing 48 and losing 91.

This left him with a 30.50% win percentage.

Walter Crickmer

Known as ‘Mr Manchester United’, Crickmer was a huge reason the club is what it is today.

Crickmer joined United as a teenager in 1919 to be a clerk but soon became secretary.

After Bamlett’s departure, Crickmer stepped in and with the assistance of his chief scout Louis Rocca, they were able to steer United away from relegation into a 12th-place finish.

Crickmer is also attributed with persuading local businessman James W Gibson to invest in the club.

Such investment was pivotal to the club’s survival during ‘The Great Depression’ and the German bombing raids of 1941.

Crickmer then took a backseat to let new manager Scott Duncan take charge.

However, his influence didn’t end there.

Crickmer and Duncan were the founders of United’s fabled youth policy, which then saw the creation of the Busby Babes and Fergie’s Fledglings.

He remained at the club in operational form, until the Munich Air Disaster where he lost his life.

Crickmer had two stints as manager of the club.

His first tenure was from the 9th of November 1931 to the 13th of July 1932.

His second was from the 9th of November 1937 to the 15th of February 1945.

He managed 105 games over both spells winning 44, drawing 28 and losing 33.

This left him with a 41.90% win percentage.

Scott Duncan

Before becoming United manager, Scott Duncan had managed Hamilton Academicals and Cowdenbeath.

He was a former English Football League-winning player for Newcastle.

He joined United in 1932, almost getting the club relegated to Division Three in his first season, just surviving.

In the 1935/36 season, Duncan got the team going and led United to promotion back into Division One.

However, United were relegated the following season and Duncan left for Ipswich Town.

He managed 235 games winning 92, drawing 53 and losing 90.

This left him with a 39.15% win percentage.

Sir Matt Busby

sir matt busby statue
Sir Matt Busby Statue, Old Trafford by David Dixon, CC BY-SA 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Crickmer had his second stint just after Duncan’s departure but Sir Matt Busby took over at the end of WW2.

This is the man who revolutionised Manchester United.

Busby is renowned for his use of youth, creating the ‘Busby Babes’.

Names like Sir Bobby Charlton, Duncan Edwards and David Pegg were all part of this.

Busby could have left for Real Madrid, but simply said: “Manchester is my heaven.”

He led United to three First Division titles and an FA Cup before the tragedy of the Munich Air Disaster.

Busby survived the crash and began managing United again.

He felt immense guilt having gone against the FA’s wishes to compete in Europe, but his wife convinced him to return.

She said: “I am sure those who have gone would have wanted you to carry on.”

He managed to rebuild the side to win an FA Cup just half a decade on from the tragedy.

But his most famous achievement came after Busby led United to two more league titles and then a European Cup triumph in 1968, just 10 years on from the disaster.

Busby had rebuilt a heartbroken and destroyed club into European Champions in just a decade.

He retired the season after.

Such an achievement earned him a knighthood and a place on United’s board of directors before later becoming club president.

He would end up managing United again, as an interim in 1970 until the end of the season, following Wilf McGuiness’ sacking.

In his 24 years at the club, he managed 1140 games at United, winning 576, drawing 265 and losing 299.

This left him with a 50.53% win percentage.

Jimmy Murphy

He was Busby’s assistant who took over duties while he recovered in hospital.

The Young Player of the Year award seen today is named after him.

He managed 22 games, winning five, drawing seven and losing 10.

This left him with a 22.73% win percentage.

Wilf McGuiness

Coming after the legendary Busby was some ask.

This wasn’t something he could live up to.

He played for United from 1954-59 but was injured in 1958, so wasn’t involved in the Munich Air Disaster.

Unfortunately, like many, injuries set him back.

After retiring he became involved at United through coaching.

He initially became reserve team manager, before being promoted to first team manager following Busby’s departure.

However, his tenure wasn’t very successful.

He managed 88 games in his 18 months in the job, winning 32, drawing 33 and losing 23.

This left him with a 36.36% win percentage.

Frank O’Farrell

He took over as United manager in 1971 having managed Weymouth, Torquay United and Leicester City.

His time at United started well but it took a quick turn.

O’Farrell finished eighth in his first season but in his second he was sacked after a 5-0 defeat to Crystal Palace, leaving the club third from bottom.

He managed 81 games winning 30, drawing 24 and losing 27.

This left him with a 37.04% win percentage.

Tommy Docherty

He joined United in 1972 and was there for five years until 1977.

In his first full season, Docherty got United relegated, but his attacking style of football was popular at the club.

He quickly got United back into the First Division.

In 1976, he led United to an FA Cup final, which they lost to second-division Southampton.

But the following year, United were there again, this time beating the favourites Liverpool.

However, Docherty fell out with key players, which worsened the atmosphere around the club.

Ultimately, he was the master of his own demise, after it was publicly released that he was having an affair with the club’s physio’s wife.

He was subsequently sacked.

He managed 228 games, winning 107, drawing 56 and losing 65.

This left him with a 46.93% win percentage.

Dave Sexton

dave sexton
Unua.genius, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

The Englishman joined United in 1977, lasting till 1981.

He was an awkward fit at the club, opting for a more reserved approach, which clashed with the size of United and the media attention it got.

The press had called him ‘Whispering Dave’.

He was heavily criticised for the £1.25m signing of Gary Birtles, who failed to score in 11 months.

Sexton did however lead United to an FA Cup final in 1979, but they lost to Arsenal.

The following year they finished runners-up to Liverpool in the First Division.

He was subsequently sacked in 1981.

He managed 201 games, winning 81, drawing 64 and losing 56.

This left him with a 40.30% win percentage.

Ron Atkinson

ron atkinson
Jonesy702, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

The man before Sir Alex Ferguson.

Atkinson had managed Kettering Town, Cambridge United and West Bromwich Albion before joining United.

One of his big signings was future United legend Bryan Robson, from West Brom.

He was also the man who brought 17-year-old Norman Whiteside into the United first-team picture as well as Mark Hughes.

In his first season, Atkinson led United to third in the league.

In the following season, he led United to FA Cup glory.

In the 1984-85 season, United won the FA Cup again.

However, despite coming close, Atkinson’s failure to win the First Division ultimately led to his sacking.

He was the most successful United manager since Busby, winning two FA Cups and five successive top-four finishes, but this wasn’t enough.

In the 1986-87 season after bad form, Atkinson was sacked.

He managed 292 games, winning 146, drawing 79 and losing 67.

This left him with a 50.00% win percentage.

Sir Alex Ferguson

alex fergusson statue at old trafford

Where do we begin?

13 Premier League titles.

Two European Cups.

Five FA Cups.

And this is just some of the trophies the Scotsman won.

The creator of the Class of 92, breeding youth to be successful.

Arguably the greatest manager of all time.

He was one of a kind.

Ferguson’s man-management skills were next to none.

He left Manchester United in 2013 following his 13th league title victory.

He managed 1500 games, winning 895, drawing 338 and losing 267.

This left him with a 59.67% win percentage.

David Moyes

david moyes
Jon Candy from Cardiff, Wales, CC BY-SA 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

The impossible job.

Following the greatest football manager ever, his demise was inevitable.

Lasting less than a year, Moyes’ tenure was one to forget.

United finished seventh in the league, their second-worst Premier League finish ever.

Moyes managed 51 games, winning 27, drawing nine and losing 15.

This left him with a 52.94% win percentage.

Ryan Giggs

ryan giggs
Gordon Flood, CC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Giggs became a player-manager upon the sacking of Moyes, with just four games of the season left.

He won two of the games, drew one and lost the other.

This left him with a 50% win percentage.

Louis van Gaal

louis van gaal
Louis-van-gaal2.jpg: Paul blankderivative work: kaʁstn Disk/Cat, CC BY 2.5, via Wikimedia Commons

After the failures of Moyes, Van Gaal was deemed the right man to bring United back.

Unfortunately, this wasn’t the case.

Imposing a pragmatic and slow style of football, Van Gaal needed to be very successful to keep fans on his side.

He secured Champions League football in his first season finishing fourth in the Premier League, but failure to do so in his second was the cause of his sacking.

His removal came just a day after he led United to FA Cup glory in a 2-1 victory over Crystal Palace.

He managed 103 games, winning 54, drawing 25 and losing 24.

This left him with a 52.43% win percentage.

Jose Mourinho

Jose Mourinho

Labelled ‘The Special One’, hopes were incredibly high for Mourinho’s arrival.

He’d won wherever he’d gone, be it Champions League glory with Porto, or leading the treble-winning Inter Milan side.

Like Van Gaal, his slower football didn’t suit the club, but the promise of trophies kept fans excited.

His first season saw United win the Community Shield, League Cup and Europa League.

This was a fantastic start.

But the next two years wouldn’t be so successful.

He failed to win silverware again, before being sacked in December 2018.

He managed 144 games, winning 84, drawing 32 and losing 28.

This left him with a 58.33% win percentage.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer

Brought in as an interim after Mourinho’s sacking, Solskjaer immediately blew all expectations out of the water. He won 14 of his first 19 matches, before being given a three-year contract.

However, Solskjaer never really got United playing as well as they did in his interim period and it all went downhill from there.

Knockout defeats define Solskjaer’s tenure as United manager, after losing four semi-finals and winning just one in the Europa League.

But a penalty shootout defeat to Villarreal was another nail in the coffin.

He failed to secure any silverware in his three years at the club.

He managed 168 games, winning 91, drawing 37 and losing 40.

This left him with a 54.17% win percentage.

Michael Carrick

Michael Carrick

The English midfielder was Solskjaer’s first team coach, before taking on the caretaker role for three games, following the Norwegian coach’s sacking.

He won two and drew one.

This left him with a 66.67% win percentage.

Ralf Rangnick

ralf rangnick man united manager

The German coach was brought in as a caretaker manager following the sacking of Solskjaer and Carrick also leaving.

He is known as the ‘Godfather’ of the ‘gegenpress’.

However, he wasn’t able to implement his style at the club.

Results were poor, the mood in the dressing room declined and Rangnick’s publicly outspoken approach, tarnished relations between him and the board.

He managed 29 games, winning 11, drawing 10 and losing eight.

This left him with a 37.93% win percentage.

Erik ten Hag

erik ten hag while head coach of ajax with mauricio pochettino when he was at tottenham

The Dutch coach arrived at Old Trafford with a reputation for playing great football at Ajax.

The hope was he’d do the same at the ‘Theatre of Dreams’.

His first season showed great promise of this, winning the League Cup and finishing third in the League.

However, his second season went drastically downhill after an early Champions League group-stage exit and an eighth-place finish in the Premier League.

This was United’s worst-ever finish in the Premier League.

But a tremendous 2-1 victory over Manchester City in the FA Cup final has helped keep Ten Hag his job.