Manchester United: The Red Devils’ Top Five Captains of All Time

Over the years, not only have Manchester United been blessed with the world’s best players, they have also had some of the most iconic and loyal captains to grace the famous red jersey, also.

We take a look back at United’s top five skippers of all time.


Denis Law

Where else can we start other than former Scotland international Denis Law? Law arrived at Old Trafford from Italian club Torino, before spending a year at United’s rivals Manchester City. Law’s £115,000 transfer fee from Torino broke the British record at the time.

He went onto play over 300 league games for the Red Devils, scoring 171 goals, and going on to win the FA Cup, two league titles, two Charity Shield’s and a European Cup.

Law eventually left Old Trafford in 1973, returning to Maine Road to see out his playing career. The now 75-year-old left a legacy at United, and he still to this day remains one of the most popular players and captains of the club.


Steve Bruce

Steve Bruce spent nine years at Old Trafford, after signing from Norwich City for a reported £800,000 fee in 1987.

During his time with the Red Devils, Bruce won three Premier League titles, three FA Cup’s, three Charity Shield’s, a League Cup, a European Cup and a European Super Cup – he remains one of United’s most successful captains of all time.

The now Hull City boss stacked up a superb 414 appearances for Man Utd, netting 51 goals in the process. Another former United captain, Gary Neville, described Gary Pallister and Bruce’s central defensive partnership as “arguably the best” in the club’s history.

Steve Bruce was undeniably one of the best English players never to have been capped by his country. Still, he will always be a legend at Old Trafford.


Bobby Charlton

Bobby Charlton not only goes down in history as one of United’s best ever players, the former striker was one of United’s most popular captains, too.

Charlton skippered the Red Devils from 1968 to 1973, wearing the armband during the club’s first European success in 1968. Sir Bobby, who was capped over 100 times by England, won three First Division title and two FA Cup’s – amongst numerous other team and individual accolades – before leaving Old Trafford for Preston North End in 1974.

Bobby played over 750 times for Manchester United, scoring a superb 249 goals. Bobby Charlton was without doubt a footballing genius, for England and Manchester United.


Bryan Robson

Bryan Robson arrived at Old Trafford from West Bromwich Albion for a then record £1.5m fee back in 1981. He spent an extremely successful 13 years in Manchester, stacking up over 450 appearances in all competitions – he also played 90 times for England, captaining his nation on 65 occasions.

Robson is widely regarded as one of Man Utd’s best ever skippers, if not the best. During a very successful time in the club’s history, Robson inspired United to Premier League titles, FA Cup’s and a European Cup Winners Cup, among various other trophies.

‘Captain Marvel’ was Man Utd’s longest serving skipper of all time, and to many, the greatest. Robson was an incredible servant to this famous old football club, he wore his heart on his sleeve, and dragged United out of the mire on countless occasions.


Roy Keane

Last and by no means least is Roy Keane. In terms of modern day football, Roy Keane was the ultimate captain. His blood, sweat and tears for the United cause was plain for all to see, even if he did overstep the mark from time to time.

Keane arrived on the scene at Old Trafford from Nottingham Forest in 1993 for another British transfer fee (£3.75m) at the time. He went onto win 17 major trophies at Old Trafford, including a league and cup double in his first year. Keane spent five solid years as United’s skipper, writing his name in Red Devils folklore in the process.

The former Republic of Ireland international may have left the club under a dark cloud, but nothing can be taken away from what he achieved with Manchester United during his illustrious 12-year career at Old Trafford.


Written by Gareth Hinton

Follow Gareth on Twitter @Galccfc

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