Manchester United Eagle: The Story Of The Famous Emblem

Following the January 2024 release of our Man Utd Eagle Emblem T-Shirt. Here at Red Devil Threads we wanted to tell the story and explain the history of the Manchester United eagle Emblem and about the background behind the famous crest.

Red Devil Threads January Delivery

Manchester United History

Manchester United were founded in 1878 as Newton Heath LYR Football Club and are currently one of the most admired football clubs in the world. The Red Devils, as they’re famously known, became Manchester United in 1902. Not long after they moved their stadium to what is now known as Old Trafford, the Theatre of Dreams. Since then Man Utd have won 20 league titles, 2 second division titles, 12 FA Cups, 3 European Cups alongside many many more accolades.

The tragic Munich air disaster occurred on the 6th of February 1958 at 3:04 pm. The tragedy which claimed the lives of 23 out of the 44 individuals on board, including members of Manchester United’s celebrated Busby Babes team. The eight players who perished were Geoff Bent (aged 25), Roger Byrne (aged 28), Eddie Colman (aged 21), Duncan Edwards (aged 21), Mark Jones (aged 24), David Pegg (aged 22), Tommy Taylor (aged 26) and Liam Whelan (aged 22). 

The aftermath marked a somber chapter in the club’s history. The chartered flight, returning from a European Cup quarter-final victory over Red Star Belgrade, had to make a stop in Munich due to the aircraft’s inability to complete a nonstop flight from Belgrade to Manchester at the time. The clock at the South East corner of Old Trafford Stadium remains permanently frozen at 3:04 pm on Feb. 6, 1958,

Golden Eagle Crest

Following the tragedy, Manchester United’s crest featured a golden eagle atop a stone crown. The logo was popularly mistaken for a Phoenix symbolising United rising from the ashes as it was first worn during the 1958 FA Cup final loss to Bolton Wanderers. This was played just three months following the disaster. To many it was to show the determination of the club to recover and rebuild from the heartbreak of Munich. There was also another theory that the badge was actually an American Eagle and that this was embroidered on the shirt because of an American trade fair that was going on in Britain at the time. 

Manchester United 1958 Crest with Eagle - Official Football Logo

But it is in fact a symbol to celebrate the importance of Manchester’s aerospace industry at the time. A symbol that will probably look quite familiar to most of us. Since the early days when airplanes were constructed using materials like wood, paper, and bicycle components, engineers from Manchester have played a significant role in the field of aviation.

Manchester United 1958 Crest with Eagle - Historic Football Logo

Manchester Evening News, 24 April 1958

“This is the badge Manchester United will wear at Wembley. Although it looks fittingly like a phoenix rising out of the ashes. It is in fact a golden eagle on a mural crown – the city’s new badge which is contained in Manchester’s new coat of arms.”

Man City Eagle

Until recently the eagle was used on the emblem of United’s noisy neighbours Manchester City. The eagle is an old heraldic symbol of the city of Manchester; a golden eagle was added to the city’s badge in 1958, representing the growing aviation industry in Manchester.

Manchester City Old Crest

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