It was estimated at £30,000-40,000 in Graham Budd’s sale in London running from May 21-22, but has been acquired by the club from a private collector “for an undisclosed fee”.
This contract, from from November 1, 1946, was a game-changing moment for United. As Budd said before the auction: “It changed the history of that club – they hadn’t been great for a long time at that stage and certainly Man City, who Busby had played for, ironically, were certainly the better team, winning an FA Cup [1933-34] and the league [1936-37] in the 30s.”
With United, Busby won five league titles and two FA Cups, and in 1968 they became the first English club to lift the European Cup.
As revealed in ATG, along with clauses such as a fixed annual salary of £675, the contract states he was to “use all proper means in his power to further the quality of play of the teams and the attractiveness of their football”.
Budd added: “The contract did go to auction at Phillips in the 1990s when the football memorabilia market was still in its infancy, and it made £4200 hammer. At the time that was a lot of money in the football market – no major collections had come up at that time.”
The person who bought the contract back then, a private collector, consigned it to Graham Budd. The contract is thought to have been spotted by the original vendor at Phillips when Man United were having an administrative clear-out.
The document, which has never been displayed before, will now form part of the museum, which already boasts over 500 medals and trophies from throughout the club’s 140-year history.
Speaking of the acquisition, Manchester United’s executive vice-chairman, Ed Woodward, said: "In a quarter of a century as manager, Sir Matt Busby changed the face of Manchester United and his role in shaping this club is well known.
"From the devastating 1958 Munich Air Disaster to the pinnacle of becoming the first English side to win the European Cup just 10 years later, Sir Matt Busby has written such a large part of the history of this club and it is important we recognise and remember what he achieved.
"I’m sure supporters will welcome this addition to the museum, as an artefact which changed this famous old club forever."
The contract will be on display from Friday, May 25, and supporters wishing to see it, along with other Sir Matt Busby memorabilia, can visit the Old Trafford Museum which is open daily between 10am-4pm.