Yes, you heard it right. It is a true incident. A lost dog not only saved Manchester United but also changed the history of football forever. Before you watch Bayern Munich vs. Manchester United tonight, you should know this interesting story about Manchester United.
Manchester United was founded in 1878 as Newton Heath LYR FC. They started to play England’s top-flight football in the 1892-93 season. Just after two seasons, the form of Manchester United began to drop and the departure of several key players weakened the team to a large extent.
Despite new signings, the club failed to earn a place in the First Division, and by 1900, the then Newton Heath LYR FC’s future became dark. The club was standing on the verge of bankruptcy.
The owner organized a fundraising campaign at St. James’s Hall on Oxford Road in central Manchester, from 27 February to 2 March 1901 in order to raise some money for survival.
The owner needed at least £1,000 from the campaign but the attempt failed. The owner spent more money on the campaign than what they raised from the campaign.
On the final night of the campaign, Newton Heath full-back and captain Harry Stafford’s white-colored St. Bernard dog called The Major, went missing. The dog was the mascot of the club. On match days, the dog roams around the field wearing a collection box around its neck.
The lost dog ended up at a restaurant where a wealthy local brewer and businessman, John Henry Davies noticed the dog and tried to buy the dog for his daughter.
In order to buy the dog, Davis tried to reach Harry Stafford through an advertisement published in the Manchester Evening News.
Harry initially refused Davis’ offer to sell the dog but later agreed as he needed to raise money for the club. Major became Davis’ daughter on her 12th birthday.
In return, Davis, with four other investors reached out to the club. They all together rescued Manchester United from bankruptcy and Davis became its new chairman.
Club captain Harry Stafford was given the director’s title for his role and responsibility to save the club. Later he became a licensee at one of Davies’s pubs, The Bridge Inn in Ancoats.
After this incident, the Football Association agreed that Newton Heath LYR FC would continue to play under a new name “Manchester United”.
The dog’s disappearance created chaos in the club but within seven years, they became an underperforming second-division team to first-division champion.
All thanks to Major and Harry Stafford, the captain.