1972–73 Manchester United F.C. season

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Manchester United
1972–73 season
Chairman Louis Edwards
Manager Frank O'Farrell
(until 19 December 1972)
Tommy Docherty
(from 22 December 1972)
First Division 18th
FA Cup Third Round
League Cup Third Round
Anglo-Italian Cup Group stage (2nd)
Top goalscorer League:
Bobby Charlton (6)
All:
Bobby Charlton (7)
Highest home attendance 61,676 vs Manchester City (21 April 1973)
Lowest home attendance 21,486 vs Oxford United (12 September 1972)
Average home league attendance 46,703
Home colours
Away colours
Third colours

The 1972–73 season was Manchester United's 70th season in the Football League, and their 28th consecutive season in the top division of English football.[1] For the first and only season United took part in the Anglo-Italian Cup, the 1973 version.[2]

On 19 December 1972, Frank O'Farrell was sacked as United manager as he was unable to mount a title challenge, and a 5–0 defeat at Crystal Palace had left them in real danger of relegation, with little improvement having been made on United's dismal nine-match winless start to the league campaign.[3] On the same day, the club's directors also announced that the errant George Best would not be playing for them again.[4]

Three days later Tommy Docherty was appointed as the new manager, after he resigned from the Scotland national team, and he guided United to survival. He also restored George Best to the team.

United struggled to find goals in the league, only managing 44 from 42 games, with Bobby Charlton - in his final season as a player before retiring - topping the club's goalscoring charts with a mere six goals in the First Division.

First Division[edit]

Date Opponents H / A Result
F – A
Scorers Attendance
12 August 1972 Ipswich Town H 1 – 2 Law 51,459
15 August 1972 Liverpool A 0 – 2 54,779
19 August 1972 Everton A 0 – 2 52,348
23 August 1972 Leicester City H 1 – 1 Best 40,067
26 August 1972 Arsenal H 0 – 0 48,108
30 August 1972 Chelsea H 0 – 0 44,482
2 September 1972 West Ham United A 2 – 2 Best, Storey-Moore 32,372
9 September 1972 Coventry City H 0 – 1 37,073
16 September 1972 Wolverhampton Wanderers A 0 – 2 34,049
23 September 1972 Derby County H 3 – 0 Davies, Morgan, Storey-Moore 48,255
30 September 1972 Sheffield United A 0 – 1 37,347
7 October 1972 West Bromwich Albion A 2 – 2 Best, Storey-Moore 39,209
14 October 1972 Birmingham City H 1 – 0 MacDougall 52,104
21 October 1972 Newcastle United A 1 – 2 Charlton 38,170
28 October 1972 Tottenham Hotspur H 1 – 4 Charlton 52,497
4 November 1972 Leicester City A 2 – 2 Best, Davies 32,575
11 November 1972 Liverpool H 2 – 0 Davies, MacDougall 53,944
18 November 1972 Manchester City A 0 – 3 52,086
25 November 1972 Southampton H 2 – 1 Davies, MacDougall 36,073
2 December 1972 Norwich City A 2 – 0 MacDougall, Storey-Moore 35,913
9 December 1972 Stoke City H 0 – 2 41,347
16 December 1972 Crystal Palace A 0 – 5 39,484
23 December 1972 Leeds United H 1 – 1 MacDougall 46,382
26 December 1972 Derby County A 1 – 3 Storey-Moore 35,098
6 January 1973 Arsenal A 1 – 3 Kidd 51,194
20 January 1973 West Ham United H 2 – 2 Charlton, Macari 50,878
24 January 1973 Everton H 0 – 0 58,970
27 January 1973 Coventry City A 1 – 1 Holton 42,767
10 February 1973 Wolverhampton Wanderers H 2 – 1 Charlton (2) 52,089
17 February 1973 Ipswich Town A 1 – 4 Macari 31,918
3 March 1973 West Bromwich Albion H 2 – 1 Kidd, Macari 46,735
10 March 1973 Birmingham City A 1 – 3 Macari 51,278
17 March 1973 Newcastle United H 2 – 1 Holton, Martin 48,426
24 March 1973 Tottenham Hotspur A 1 – 1 Graham 49,751
31 March 1973 Southampton A 2 – 0 Charlton, Holton 23,161
7 April 1973 Norwich City H 1 – 0 Martin 48,593
11 April 1973 Crystal Palace H 2 – 0 Kidd, Morgan 46,891
14 April 1973 Stoke City A 2 – 2 Macari, Morgan 37,051
18 April 1973 Leeds United A 1 – 0 Anderson 45,450
21 April 1973 Manchester City H 0 – 0 61,676
23 April 1973 Sheffield United H 1 – 2 Kidd 57,280
28 April 1973 Chelsea A 0 – 1 44,184
Pos Club Pld W D L GF GA GAvg Pts
17 Everton 42 13 11 18 41 49 0.837 37
18 Manchester United 42 12 13 17 44 60 0.733 37
19 Coventry City 42 13 9 20 40 55 0.727 35

Pld = Matches played; W = Matches won; D = Matches drawn; L = Matches lost; GF = Goals for; GA = Goals against; GAvg = Goal average; Pts = Points

FA Cup[edit]

Date Round Opponents H / A Result
F – A
Scorers Attendance
13 January 1973 Round 3 Wolverhampton Wanderers A 0 – 1 40,005

League Cup[edit]

Date Round Opponents H / A Result
F – A
Scorers Attendance
6 September 1972 Round 2 Oxford United A 2 – 2 Law, Charlton 16,560
12 September 1972 Round 2
Replay
Oxford United H 3 – 1 Best (2), Storey-Moore 21,486
3 October 1972 Round 3 Bristol Rovers A 1 – 1 Morgan 33,597
11 October 1972 Round 3
Replay
Bristol Rovers H 1 – 2 McIlroy 29,348

Anglo-Italian Cup[edit]

Date Opponents H / A Result
F – A
Scorers Attendance
21 February 1973 Fiorentina H 1 – 1 Holton 23,951
21 March 1973 Lazio A 0 – 0 52,834
4 April 1973 Bari H 3 – 1 Law, Storey-Moore, Martin 14,303
2 May 1973 Verona A 4 – 1 Charlton (2), Olney, Fletcher 8,168

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Manchester United Season 1972/73". StretfordEnd.co.uk. Retrieved 21 December 2011. 
  2. ^ "United in the Anglo-Italian Cup". StretfordEnd.co.uk. Retrieved 21 December 2011. 
  3. ^ "Managers – Frank O'Farrell". AboutManUtd.com. About ManUtd. Retrieved 9 March 2012. 
  4. ^ Blackmore, Ben (29 October 2010). "Comebacks that are best forgotten". ESPN.co.uk (ESPN). Retrieved 9 March 2012.