Manchester United Football Club was formed in 1878 as Newton Heath LYR Football Club by the Carriage and Wagon department of the Lancashire and Yorkshire Railway depot at Newton Heath.

Lancashire and Yorkshire Railway Company granted permission for the employees of its Carriage and Wagon department to start a football team, which was subsequently named Newton Heath LYR, with Frederick Attock appointed as this new club’s president. LYR stood for “Lancashire & Yorkshire Railway” and was used to distinguish the team from their colleagues from the Motive Power Division, who were known as Newton Heath Loco.

The team was funded by the railway company, who paid the lease on its first home ground, a field close to the railway yard on North Road. It is said that the players were “tough, diligent men who formed a powerful side” they initially played games against other teams of railway workers, very few of which were recorded.

During the 1882–83 season, the team played a total of 26 recorded friendly matches, and the following season competed in the Lancashire Cup but lost 7–2 in the first round to the reserve team of Blackburn Olympic.

In 1886, the club began to expand by signing players of national reputation such as Jack Powell, who became club captain, Jack and Roger Doughty, and Tom Burke. In 1886–87 the club entered the FA Cup for the first time and were drawn away to Fleetwood Rangers in the first round; they managed to earn a 2–2 but when club captain Jack Powell refused to play a period of extra time, Fleetwood were awarded the tie. A subsequent unsuccessful protest to the Football Association led to Newton Heath LYR entering a self-imposed exile from the FA Cup, which lasted until 1889.

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