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Pride of Manchester United Books
The Iain McCartney Books selection.

Elsewhere in our 'Books' pages we've referred to Iain McCartney as our favourite, and the best, writer on the subject of Manchester United. His books have become so influential in telling the history of United that we've decided to devote an entire page to showcasing the many volumes that he's penned.

Anybody who is looking for a crash course on where United came from, the peaks and troughs along the way and the things which have made the club unique should look no further than the list of books detailed on this page.

Iain is a fanatical Red, who commutes from his home in Scotland to watch every game and fulfil the various roles he has taken on over the years. For well over twenty years he has run the Manchester United Review Collectors' Club, an invaluable source of information and a central connecting point for collectors of every kind of United memorabilia. He has become well-known as 'an expert' and, for example, he contributes to the fanzine "United We Stand" on the popular feature "Ask the Anorak", where supporters throw a myriad of questions at him, rarely stumping him.

Most of his books are his own projects but he is often asked by United and publishers to produce books on specific subjects.

What we like most about him is that he is first and foremost a fan, who has shared and lived the experiences and emotions that many of us treasure. He writes in a lively, enjoyable style, even when the subject requires encyclopaedic information. His books include many which have become the principal reference point, or indeed, the only significant reference point on specific United topics.

We doff our Mancunian caps to the man who has produced the following selection of brilliant books:

Having previously covered the post-Munich years and the difficult period after Sir Matt Busby's retirement, Iain now takes us further back in time with Building the Dynasty, Manchester United 1946-1958. This gives us an informative account of the pre-war period followed by a detailed look at: (1) Matt taking the reins at a bombed out Old Trafford (2) the cobbling together and shaping of the team which won the 1948 FA Cup and 1952 League Championship (3) the building of the youth system and the blooding of the Babes and, finally, (4) the successes of that great team .. This impressively researched book is highly readable and covers a seminal period in United's history. (Pitch Publishing 2015)

The years following the Aircrash have been covered patchily until now. There are many excellent books out there which include passages on the post Munich Busby Years and there are books such as the famous David Meek series of annual books which give part of the story. Iain McCartney's Manchester United 1958-68 Rising from the Wreckage is the first book of its' type, bringing us the story of the period in its' entirety, covered in 351superb pages. An excellent companion to "Building the Dynasty" and "Busby's Legacy" and very highly recommended. (Amberley Publishing 2013) Manchester United; Busby's Legacy covers, in detail, a period which has until now been neglected by writers: the turbulent years after Sir Matt Busby's retirement. The short reigns of Wilf McGuinness, Frank O'Farrell and Tommy Docherty are the backdrop to a story which includes the demise of George Best, the humbling relegation to Division Two, unrully supporters and countless comings and goings of players. Definitely not United's finest hours but a fascinating period to look back on and as usual McCartney gives us the story in a very readable style. Highly recommended. (Amberley Books 2014)
Building the Dynasty by Iain McCartney
Manchester United Rising From the Wreckage 1958-68 by Iain McCartney
Manchester United Busby's Legacy by Iain McCartney
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The nicely illustrated The United Tour of Manchester takes the reader on a tour of locations in the Manchester which have significance in the story of United. The numerous places include the site of Newton Heath's first pitch, the houses of Matt Busby &George Best, the graves of the victims of the Munich Aircrash and many more. Iain McCartney has co-written this book with another of our favourite writers, Reds stalwart, Tom Clare, who is an ex-pat living in the US. (Amberley Publishing 2013)
Usually we find books featuring copious match reports to be dry, boring and often lazy works. Not so with Sir Alex Ferguson, Fifty Defining Fixtures. Iain McCartney sets the scene for each of his choices with the rationale for their inclusion, not always obvious, and he gives a well written account of what was happening at the time. The match reports themselves are highly readable and the book is a real page turner, covering all of the great man's career not just the United years. (Amberley Publishing 2013)
United Tour of Manchester
Sir Alex Ferguson Fifty Defining Fixtures buy Iain McCartney
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We haven't yet seen this book but the publishers blurb says that The Official Manchester United Players A-Z covers every one of the 840+ players who have worn the United shirt and is the definitive A-Z listing, with statistics and biographies. We have no doubt that Iain McCartney will have done his usual impeccable job. (Simon & Schuster 2013)

Manchester United, The Forgotten Fixtures is a remarkable book. Painstaking research has enable Iain McCartney to produce 400 pages which cover 60 years of United matches which don't usually feature in the records. Friendly matches all over the globe are featured in this beautifully illustrated book, which on its' publication in 2009 filled a big gap in the written history of the Reds. Now quite hard to find and not cheap but a real tour-de-force. (Breedon 2009)

 

There are a couple of very creditable books on the subject of United's ground and Old Trafford; 100 Years of the Theatre of Dreams by Iain McCartney is one of them. Last updated in 2010, it tells the full story of the development of Old Trafford from inception to its' modern state-of-the art facilities. We wonder when the next chapter will need to be written? (Empire 2010)
Official Manchester United Players A-Z by Iain McCartney
Manchester United The Forgotten Fixtures by Iain McCartney
Old Trafford; 100 Years of the Theatre of Dreams by Iain McCartney
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A pair of books tell the story of key matches from one of the great periods in United's history and Manchester United, Thirty Memorable Matches from the Fifties, is the first of them. In his usual style, Iain McCartney sets each match in its' historical context and consequently the book is a very readable journey through the incredible decade that saw the formation, rise, devastation and aftermath of the magnificent Busby Babes. (Derby Books Publishing 2010)

The second in the pair of books covering two of United's greatest decades, Manchester United, Thirty Memorable Matches from theSixties tells the story of key matches involving the team which picked up the torch from the Babes to become United's first European Cup winning side. Coupled with it's twin about the '50's and the book about Ferguson's Fifty Defining Matches and Iain McCartney has covered the past half a century in fine style. (Derby Books Publishing 2012).

Roger Byrne deserves to be widely recognised as a great captain and a great player and full credit to Iain McCartney for enlightening us about this strong willed individual who' played such a key role in one of the greatest chapters in the United story. The Busby Babe and England stalwart sadly died at Munich but he will always be a United legend. Roger Byrne, Captain of the Busby Babes is now out of print but definitely worth seeking out. (Empire Publications 2001)
Manchester United Thirty Memorable Games from the Fifties by Iain McCartney
Manchester United Thirty Memorable Games from the Sixties by Iain McCartney
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Reds from North of the Border have played a huge part in the history of United. (Denis Law will always be our personal King!). Iain McCartney, as a Scot himself, has written an authoritative account of the many Scottish players who have worn the shirt with pride. Tartan Reds was written quite a while ago but can still be obtained easily and is a worthy addition to the bookshelf. (Britespot Publishing 2002)

A companion book to Tartan Reds is Irish Reds which needs no explanation. Think of Ireland and names such as George Best, Jackie Blanchflower, Roy Keane and Harry Gregg spring to mind and this book brings you the full story of the many players who have crossed the Irish Sea. (Britespot Publishing 2002)

Duncan Edwards has become the most iconic player in the entire history of Manchester United, even to many thousands of fans who may have never seen even a short film clipping of the great player. Duncan Edwards, the Full Report, is Iain McCartney's biography and tribute to the superb player who died so young, in the Munich Aircrash.

(Britespot 2001 and 2004)

Tartan Reds by Iain McCartney
Irish Reds by Iain McCartney
Duncan Edwards by Iain McCartney<empty>
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The United Review Collectors Club has been run by Iain McCartney since 1990 and is a great source of information for all memorabilia relating to Manchester United. Until 2017, newsletters were sent to members six times a year but Iain has now gone digital, which has increased the scope considerably. His excellent newsletters are sent out 10 times a year and can run to 25 or more fact-packed PDF pages, in glorious technicolour. On the insistence of members who greatly appreciate his work, an annual subscription of £10 is payable but it's great value for a superb service.

To join or for further details click here

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