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Friday, October 30, 1998 Published at 11:38 GMT

Fast facts on Man Utd

The 1958 "Busby Babes"

Justin Urquhart-Stewart, from Barclays Stockbrokers: "Deal no great surprise"
The possible sale of Manchester United to BSkyB is the latest development in the history of one of the soccer world's most glamorous and famous clubs.

Though they were denied a major trophy last season, losing their Premiership title to Arsenal, they have built an unrivalled reputation for quality football.

BBC News Online tells you what you need to know about Manchester's famous Red Devils.

  • Manchester United were formed in 1878

  • Former players include George Best, Bryan Robson, Bobby Charlton, Dennis Law and Eric Cantona

  • The Chief Executive is Martin Edwards and the manager is Alex Ferguson

  • The club are based at the Old Trafford ground. Capacity: 56,387

  • Manchester United have such a huge national and international following that a relatively small proportion of fans actually live in Manchester

  • The club have little room in the trophy cabinet after winning the European Cup in 1968 and the European Cup Winners' Cup in 1991. United were the FA Premier League champions in the 1992-3, 1993-4, 1995-96, 1996-7 seasons and Football League Division One Champions in 1907-8, 1910-11, 1951-2, 1955-6, 1956-7, 1964-5, 1966-7

  • Man Utd have won the FA Cup nine times - in 1909, 1948, 1963, 1977, 1983, 1985, 1990, 1994 and 1996

  • In 1991 the club floated on the stock market. Thanks in large part to a hugely successful marketing division, last year the team turned over £87.9m

  • The club's darkest year was 1958. A plane crash in Munich killed 23 people, including including eight of the legendary team the "Busby Babes". The team were on the way home from a European Cup quarter-final tie against Red Star Belgrade. The Babes were League title winners in 1955-56 and 1956-57

  • In August, the club launched its own TV channel. MUTV will broadcast six hours a day, seven days a week, from a studio at the club's Old Trafford ground. The channel, to go on air in the autumn, will be available on subscription and show live youth and reserve team games and friendlies - but not Premiership matches.

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