Manchester United’s best ever start to the season! Can it be repeated this season?

Manchester United began the 1985/86 season in the best possible way, by winning the first ten matches! P10, W10, points = 30. A perfect start, in fact, one which had commentators at the time predicting a Manchester United title win by Christmas and ending an 18-year title drought to boot. Why not? The players were there, and the points were on the board.

It’s also a season, which promised much for me, as a lad who was barely into double figures, and why would it not? United were truly unstoppable, surely this would be the year that after waiting since 1968, the league title would finally be captured?

There was a TV dispute at the time which meant that unfortunately little of this footage has never been seen other than those who were actually in attendance at those first ten matches.

United drew away to Luton Town away on match 11, denying them the chance to equal the record of 11 straight wins from the off which was held by Spurs in the 1960-61 season where they claimed the Double. Incidentally, Luton Town players celebrated this home draw against United as if they had actually won the World Cup, such was Manchester United’s dominance at the time.

I always remember these 10 straight wins at the start of every season and wonder on the eve of every season if this will be season will be the one where we can go one or two better and equal/beat that Spurs record?

In addition to winning the first ten, United were unbeaten in 15 from the start, and still at the top come February, before frittering away the lead they had created. The main reason for squandering this lead, was largely down to a shoulder injury sustained by the magnificent Bryan “Captain Marvel” Robson in February 1986 which limited him to 21 top flight appearances. What a player he was! It shows just how much of a driving force he was, on paper, an unassailable lead was surrendered. 20 years ago this year, it was the anniversary of Roy Keane becoming Captain of Manchester United. As we all know, he saw Man United and said “I fancy that!”, as the song goes – also going on to explain that he didn’t sign for Blackburn or Arsenal as they were faecal matter, but preferred Man United as they were ‘absolute’ dynamite!

This gave rise to a recent debate in a truly excellent Manchester United supporters What’s App group, about which of the two legendary Manchester United captains was the best – a good argument, as the two were so great, that there was barely a fag paper to separate them.

I raise this point, thinking about our next “Captain-in-waiting”, Mr Paul Pogba. After his initial season of bedding in, and the securing of Matic, is it just possible that Matic will create the defensive midfield platform which will free Pogba to conduct the orchestra and provide some of the required creativity to allow United and in particular new Striker Lukaku to thrive on an attacking basis? We know that Pogba has the ‘chops’, however, will the signing of Nemanja Matic release him to find even more of those flashes of brilliance required to turn matches? Maybe with the addition of a width player, this annual dream could become a reality.

Maybe, given the quality of opposition and the squads of players that teams can assemble with the TV wealth available mean that the days of winning ten straight matches are over? However, maybe this TV money simply heats the market, and when you consider the fee for Kyle Walker, then maybe the target of ten straight wins isn’t that unfeasible.

So, let’s anticipate the start of this coming season with some optimism, the spine of the Manchester United team is very strong, and with the addition of Lukaku and Matic, we have acquired players who understand the hurly-burly of the Premier League and will be able to hit the ground running.

I’d love to see United win the first ten again or even better that proud, yet often overlooked record of ten straight wins from the off!. However I’d happily settle for nine straight wins, or even eight, or seven, or six – if it meant that Manchester United were crowned Champions!

Written by Paul Young


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