Sons of United

Albert Scanlon features in the new Sons of United book

Author: Doron

Follow Doron on Twitter

You can purchase a copy of Sons of United at the website.

It goes without saying that United have a rich history of developing and playing home-produced youngsters in their teams. It is something that has become synonymous with the club from the time of the MUJACs through to Alex Ferguson today. Whilst fans are aware of such a culture, few know the stories and details about players, teams and records. That’s soon to change; Manchester United fans and youth football historians, Tony Park and Steve Hobin, have written a must-own book that’s soon to be released – Sons of United.

Sons of United aims to take United fans on a journey through time, detailing a history of youth football at United and helping fans to understand the importance of it to the club. The first chapter is an introduction, outlining the beginnings of the youth team in the early 1930s and the formation of the MUJACs in 1938. The story continues through to the formation of the FA Youth Cup in the early 1950s and up to the Munich Disaster.

The various chapters take you on a journey, highlighting 1964 when George Best helped the club to recapture the FA Youth Cup; through the poor period from 1965 to 1981 when Harrison took over; before the recovery in the 1980s and ultimately success in the 1990s until the current decade and the most recent of trophy wins.

There are lost treasures too, details of the various youth tournaments that United have entered sides in, both domestically and abroad. Also included are many real match reports taken from the local and national press of the day together with over 450 photographs, many of which have never been seen before. The book goes beyond the games themselves; there are human stories that need telling. Chapters end with biographies of the people involved – many have been tracked down and interviewed on the way to producing the book, nothing has been overlooked.

The book has a website which will have more content added to it over the coming months. If you’re interested in ordering a hard copy please send Tony or Steve an email on so they have a rough idea of how many hard copies they’ll need to produce. They aim to have the hard copies ready in time for Christmas and they’ll be priced somewhere between £35 and £40.

If you can’t wait that long, they’ll be offering the option to download a digital version via the website. Payment for that can be made by credit card or PayPal – be sure to follow Tony on Twitter so you know when this option is available (likely to be mid September). This e-version will be priced at £19.99. You’ll also be able to get it on Apple’s iBookstore but unfortunately it won’t be available on Kindle.

I have been lucky enough to not only read sections of the book but see them first hand mocked up and ready to go. This has been a long project for Tony and Steve but one they’ve wanted to do so they can let other fans enjoy a passion that they both share. If you follow Tony on Twitter you’ll know just how deep his love for the club and all things youth football are. Calling this a book is arguably doing it a disservice, an encyclopaedia may be more apt – it is a record that all United fans should own and enjoy.

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One response to “Sons of United”

  1. […] Tony Park joins to give us his historical perspective on the Manchester United Youth and Reserves Academy and taking a long range view of what might be considered one of the brightest spots for the club in the Ferguson era, developing a standard and establishing a clear and pragmatic culture within the club from a very early age. This is a must listen part of the show as Tony gets into the gears of this process, some of the important figures behind the scenes with several real world examples, comparing how English clubs develop their players against the Spanish system which seems to reflect its unique cultural challenges. Tony gives us the look back at how clubs in England have traditionally used non-league clubs to improve their youth players and what the new challenges will be in the future, given the spectre of the NextGen Series and what UEFA might do with a youth Champions League. We also examine the emergence of the continental influence in youth technical training in recent years to measure whether the progress is measurable and whether the unique aspects of English football might force an even further rethink given the nature of top flight game. Also in the crosshairs is how youth prospects are really been challenged like never before as the leap from an Academy to the potential of Premier League and Champions League football is such a long one and if manager longevity issues reduce the opportunities for young players as managers no longer have the length of tenure that they once did. The segment finishes with a quick chat about Tony’s upcoming book, Sons of United. […]

  2. Clare Callery says:

    Sons of United was a Christmas present from a good friend – fellow utd fan. I was totally engrossed in the book and it’s wealth of detail was a joy. Loved it. I use and reference book and continually flick through to settle healthy debates…
    Whole family has now read. All utd fans should read it. It puts flesh on the bones of our clubs youth history.

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