1971–72 in English football

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The 1971–72 season was the 92nd season of competitive football in England.

Football League[edit]

First Division[edit]

Brian Clough, 37, won the first major trophy of his managerial career by guiding Derby County to their first ever league championship. They overcame Leeds United to win a four-horse race also contested with Liverpool and Manchester City. There were later bribery allegations from The Sun newspaper regarding Leeds manager Don Revie and Leeds' final opponents Wolverhampton Wanderers. Billy Bremner won a high court battle to clear his name of the allegations, with evidence provided by Wolves striker Derek Dougan.

Nottingham Forest and Huddersfield Town lost their First Division status. By the end of the decade, Forest had made an explosive comeback to the top flight under Brian Clough. 1971–72 was Huddersfield's last season in the top flight to date, and within a few seasons they would be in the Fourth Division – most of their existence since 1972 has been spent in the league's third tier, with eleven seasons being spent in the second and six in the bottom.

Pos Club P W D L F A GA Pts
1 Derby County 42 24 10 8 69 33 2.091 58
2 Leeds United 42 24 9 9 73 31 2.355 57
3 Liverpool 42 24 9 9 64 30 2.133 57
4 Manchester City 42 23 11 8 77 45 1.711 57
5 Arsenal 42 22 8 12 58 40 1.450 52
6 Tottenham Hotspur 42 19 13 10 63 42 1.500 51
7 Chelsea 42 18 12 12 58 49 1.184 48
8 Manchester United 42 19 10 13 69 61 1.131 48
9 Wolverhampton Wanderers 42 18 11 13 65 57 1.140 47
10 Sheffield United 42 17 12 13 61 60 1.017 46
11 Newcastle United 42 15 11 16 49 52 0.942 41
12 Leicester City 42 13 13 16 41 46 0.891 39
13 Ipswich Town 42 11 16 15 39 53 0.736 38
14 West Ham United 42 12 12 18 47 51 0.922 36
15 Everton 42 9 18 15 37 48 0.771 36
16 West Bromwich Albion 42 12 11 19 42 54 0.778 35
17 Stoke City 42 10 15 17 39 56 0.696 35
18 Coventry City 42 9 15 18 44 67 0.657 33
19 Southampton 42 12 7 23 52 80 0.650 31
20 Crystal Palace 42 8 13 21 39 65 0.600 29
21 Nottingham Forest 42 8 9 25 47 81 0.580 25
22 Huddersfield Town 42 6 13 23 27 59 0.458 25

Second Division[edit]

Norwich City won the Second Division and were promoted along with Birmingham City. This marked the first time that Norwich City reached the top flight in their history, less than 70 years after the club was founded. Charlton Athletic and Watford were relegated.

Pos Club P W D L F A GA Pts
1 Norwich City 42 21 15 6 60 36 1.667 57
2 Birmingham City 42 19 18 5 60 31 1.935 56
3 Millwall 42 19 17 6 64 46 1.391 55
4 Queens Park Rangers 42 20 14 8 57 28 2.036 54
5 Sunderland 42 17 16 9 67 57 1.175 50
6 Blackpool 42 20 7 15 70 50 1.400 47
7 Burnley 42 20 6 16 70 55 1.273 46
8 Bristol City 42 18 10 14 61 49 1.245 46
9 Middlesbrough 42 19 8 15 50 48 1.042 46
10 Carlisle United 42 17 9 16 61 57 1.070 43
11 Swindon Town 42 15 12 15 47 47 1.000 42
12 Hull City 42 14 10 18 49 53 0.925 38
13 Luton Town 42 10 18 14 43 48 0.896 38
14 Sheffield Wednesday 42 13 12 17 51 58 0.879 38
15 Oxford United 42 12 14 16 43 55 0.782 38
16 Portsmouth 42 12 13 17 59 68 0.868 37
17 Orient 42 14 9 19 50 61 0.820 37
18 Preston North End 42 12 12 18 52 58 0.897 36
19 Cardiff City 42 10 14 18 56 69 0.812 34
20 Fulham 42 12 10 20 45 68 0.662 34
21 Charlton Athletic 42 12 9 21 55 77 0.714 33
22 Watford 42 5 9 28 24 75 0.320 19

Third Division[edit]

Aston Villa ended their two-year spell in the Third Division by gaining promotion as champions, and by the end of the decade would be firmly re-established as a First Division club. Brighton & Hove Albion followed Villa into the Second Division, but would not reach the heady heights that the midlanders would experience. Mansfield Town, Barnsley, Torquay United and Bradford City were relegated.

Pos Club P W D L F A GA Pts
1 Aston Villa 46 32 6 8 85 32 2.656 70
2 Brighton & Hove Albion 46 27 11 8 82 47 1.745 65
3 Bournemouth 46 23 16 7 73 37 1.973 62
4 Notts County 46 25 12 9 74 44 1.682 62
5 Rotherham United 46 20 15 11 69 52 1.327 55
6 Bristol Rovers 46 21 12 13 75 56 1.339 54
7 Bolton Wanderers 46 17 16 13 51 41 1.244 50
8 Plymouth Argyle 46 20 10 16 74 64 1.156 50
9 Walsall 46 15 18 13 62 57 1.088 48
10 Blackburn Rovers 46 19 9 18 54 57 0.947 47
11 Oldham Athletic 46 17 11 18 59 63 0.937 45
12 Shrewsbury Town 46 17 10 19 73 65 1.123 44
13 Chesterfield 46 18 8 20 57 57 1.000 44
14 Swansea City 46 17 10 19 46 59 0.780 44
15 Port Vale 46 13 15 18 43 59 0.729 41
16 Wrexham 46 16 8 22 59 63 0.937 40
17 Halifax Town 46 13 12 21 48 61 0.787 38
18 Rochdale 46 12 13 21 57 83 0.687 37
19 York City 46 12 12 22 57 66 0.864 36
20 Tranmere Rovers 46 10 16 20 50 71 0.704 36
21 Mansfield Town 46 8 20 18 41 63 0.651 36
22 Barnsley 46 9 18 19 32 64 0.500 36
23 Torquay United 46 10 12 24 41 69 0.594 32
24 Bradford City 46 11 10 25 45 77 0.584 32

Fourth Division[edit]

Grimsby Town, Southend United, Brentford and Scunthorpe United were promoted from the Fourth Division. Barrow were voted out of the Football League and replaced by Hereford United, who a short time earlier had achieved a shock FA Cup victory over Newcastle United.

Ernie Tagg sacked himself as manager of Crewe Alexandra because he felt that a younger manager should take charge of the club.

Pos Club P W D L F A GA Pts
1 Grimsby Town 46 28 7 11 88 56 1.571 63
2 Southend United 46 24 12 10 81 55 1.473 60
3 Brentford 46 24 11 11 76 44 1.727 59
4 Scunthorpe United 46 22 13 11 56 37 1.514 57
5 Lincoln City 46 21 14 11 77 59 1.305 56
6 Workington 46 16 19 11 50 34 1.471 51
7 Southport 46 18 14 14 66 46 1.435 50
8 Peterborough United 46 17 16 13 82 64 1.281 50
9 Bury 46 19 12 15 73 59 1.237 50
10 Cambridge United 46 17 14 15 62 60 1.033 48
11 Colchester United 46 19 10 17 70 69 1.014 48
12 Doncaster Rovers 46 16 14 16 56 63 0.889 46
13 Gillingham 46 16 13 17 61 67 0.910 45
14 Newport County 46 18 8 20 60 72 0.833 44
15 Exeter City 46 16 11 19 61 68 0.897 43
16 Reading 46 17 8 21 56 76 0.737 42
17 Aldershot 46 9 22 15 48 54 0.889 40
18 Hartlepool 46 17 6 23 58 69 0.841 40
19 Darlington 46 14 11 21 64 82 0.780 39
20 Chester 46 10 18 18 47 56 0.839 38
21 Northampton Town 46 12 13 21 66 79 0.835 37
22 Barrow 46 13 11 22 40 71 0.563 37
23 Stockport County 46 9 14 23 55 87 0.632 32
24 Crewe Alexandra 46 10 9 27 43 69 0.623 29

P = Matches played; W = Matches won; D = Matches drawn; L = Matches lost; F = Goals for; A = Goals against; GA = Goal average; Pts = Points |}

FA Cup[edit]

Main article: 1971–72 FA Cup

Leeds United won the FA Cup for the first time in their history by beating the previous year's winners, Arsenal, 1–0 in the final at Wembley. Allan Clarke scored the winning goal.[1]

1971–72 marked the centenary of the FA Cup. Non-League Hereford United of the Southern League provided one of the shocks of the season by knocking out Newcastle United 2–1 after extra time in the 3rd Round Replay.

League Cup[edit]

Stoke City won the 1972 Football League Cup Final to claim the only major trophy in their history.

European competitions[edit]

The 1972 UEFA Cup Final was the final of the first ever UEFA Cup and was contested by two English teams, Wolverhampton Wanderers and Tottenham Hotspur. Spurs won 2–1 in the first leg at the Molineux on 3 May. The second leg, played on 17 May at White Hart Lane, ended 1–1. The 3–2 aggregate win by Tottenham Hotspur gave them the second European trophy in their history [2]

Diary of the season[edit]

8 July 1971: Bill Shankly signs a three-year contract as Liverpool manager which will keep him in charge until the end of the 1973-74 season.[3]

6 November 1971: The Manchester derby at Maine Road ends in a 3–3 thriller, with debutant 17-year-old winger Sammy McIlroy on the scoresheet for United.[4]

27 November 1971: Alan Woodward scores four of the seven Sheffield United put past Ipswich Town without reply, while elsewhere, George Best is the hat-trick hero as Manchester United beat Southampton 5–2, and Wolverhampton Wanderers beat West Bromwich Albion 3–2 in the Black Country derby.[5]

15 December 1971: John Ritchie's goal and a penalty save from Gordon Banks gives Stoke City a replay in the Football League Cup semi-final against West Ham United.[6]

31 December 1971: At the end of the year, Manchester United are top of the First Division, three points ahead of Manchester City and four ahead of Leeds United. West Bromwich Albion and Nottingham Forest occupy the relegation places.[7]

19 February 1972: Leeds United thrash Manchester United 5–1 at Elland Road and are two points behind Manchester City at the top of the table. Manchester United have now lost five League matches in a row.[7]

4 March 1972: Leeds United beat Southampton 7–0 and will overtake Manchester City at the top of the table if they win their two games in hand. Manchester United are beaten for the sixth consecutive match in the League when they lose 2–0 to Tottenham Hotspur.[7]

1 April 1972: Derby County beat Leeds United 2–0 and take over at the top of the First Division.[7]

26 April 1972: Derby County win the Texaco Cup by beating Airdrieonians 2–1 on aggregate.[8] Crystal Palace's 2–0 win over Stoke City relegates both Nottingham Forest and Huddersfield Town from the First Division.

1 May 1972: Derby County beat Liverpool 1–0 in their last League game of the season. Leeds United beat Chelsea 2–0 and will win the title if they can beat Wolverhampton Wanderers in their final fixture.[7]

6 May 1972: Leeds United win the FA Cup for the first time in their history by beating Arsenal 1–0 in the final at Wembley, with Allan Clarke heading the only goal in the second half.

8 May 1972: Derby County win the League Championship as neither Leeds United nor Liverpool manage to win their final league games. Leeds would have overtaken Derby on goal average had they drawn with Wolverhampton Wanderers at Molineux, but lose 2-1, while Liverpool draw 0-0 with Arsenal at Highbury.[7]

11 May 1972: The First Division season ends when Tottenham Hotspur beat Arsenal 2–0 in the North London derby at Highbury.[7]

Star players[edit]

Star managers[edit]

National team[edit]

England were eliminated from the 1972 European Championships in the quarter-finals after losing 3–1 on aggregate over two legs (1–3 at Wembley and 0–0 in West Berlin) to West Germany, who went on to win the tournament.

Honours[edit]

Competition Winner Runner-up
First Division Derby County (1) Leeds United
Second Division Norwich City Birmingham City
Third Division Aston Villa Brighton & Hove Albion
Fourth Division Grimsby Town Southend United
FA Cup Leeds United (1) Arsenal
League Cup Stoke City (1) Chelsea
Charity Shield Leicester City Liverpool
Home Championship Shared by  England and  Scotland

Notes = Number in parentheses is the times that club has won that honour. * indicates new record for competition

References[edit]

  1. ^ "FA Cup Final 1972". Fa-cupfinals.co.uk. Retrieved 2011-04-09. 
  2. ^ "1972 UEFA Cup Final". Spurs Memorabilia. Retrieved 2011-04-09. 
  3. ^ [1]
  4. ^ Ley, John (10 November 2010). "Top 10: Manchester derbies". Telegraph. Retrieved 2011-04-09. 
  5. ^ "Best kicks three goals". The Sydney Morning Herald. 29 November 1971. p. 17. Retrieved 26 September 2014. 
  6. ^ "Stoke City earn Cup replay". The Age (Melbourne). Australian Associated Press; Reuters. 17 December 1971. p. 26. Retrieved 26 September 2014. 
  7. ^ a b c d e f g Smailes, Gordon (2000). The Breedon Book of Football Records. Derby: Breedon Books. ISBN 1859832148. 
  8. ^ "Disputed penalty decision robs Airdrie of cup". The Herald (Glasgow). 27 April 1972. p. 9. Retrieved 26 September 2014.