1973–74 in English football
|This article relies largely or entirely upon a single source. (May 2008)|
The 1973–74 season was the 94th season of competitive football in England.
- 1 Overview
- 2 Star players
- 3 Star managers
- 4 Top goalscorers
- 5 Diary of the season
- 6 Honours
- 7 League table
- 8 References
Don Revie marked his last season as Leeds United's manager by guiding them to league championship glory, before taking over from Sir Alf Ramsey as the England national team manager, with England having failed to qualify for the 1974 World Cup. Revie's Leeds side beat Liverpool to the title by five points to win it for the second time in their history. Newly promoted Burnley adopted to life back in the top flight well, finishing in sixth place.
Manchester United were relegated from the First Division just six years after winning the European Cup at the end of a traumatic season which had seen goalkeeper Alex Stepney as joint top scorer with two goals at Christmas. Their 36-year stay at the top was ended with a 1–0 home defeat against Manchester City in the last game of the season – former United striker Denis Law scored City's winning goal. Despite this the board kept faith in manager Tommy Docherty as the man to regain the club's top flight place.
Former Leeds player Jack Charlton had a fine debut in management by guiding Middlesbrough to the Second Division title and a place in the First Division. Second in the table were Luton Town, who finished 15 points behind the runaway champions. Third-placed Carlisle United, managed by Alan Ashman, gained a place in the First Division for the first, and so far only, time in their history, completing a rapid rise from the Fourth Division to the First Division. Crystal Palace, Preston North End and Swindon Town were all relegated.
Promotion was secured by champions Oldham Athletic, Bristol Rovers and York City, which at the time represented York's highest ever League finish. Cambridge United, Shrewsbury Town, Southport and Rochdale were all relegated.
Peterborough United won Division Four and were promoted along with Gillingham, Colchester United and Bury. The league's re-election system voted in favour of the bottom four league clubs and there were no departures from or arrivals into the league in 1974.
The FA Cup Final was won by Liverpool, who beat Newcastle United 3–0 with two goals from Kevin Keegan and one from Steve Heighway. Burnley beat Leicester City 1-0 at Filbert Street in the fifth and final third-place playoff, held five days after the final.
Surprises in the earlier rounds included a first round defeat for Exeter City by Alvechurch F.C. and a 4–0 second round replay win for a Walton & Hersham team that included Dave Bassett over a Brighton & Hove Albion side managed by Brian Clough.
Bill McGarry's Wolverhampton Wanderers beat Manchester City 2–1 in the final at Wembley Stadium with Kenny Hibbitt and John Richards getting the Wolves goals and Colin Bell replying for City. It was a first-ever League Cup win for Wolves, and their first major trophy since the Stan Cullis era more than a decade earlier.
Plymouth Argyle of the Third Division reached the semi-finals before losing to Manchester City.
- Veteran Liverpool winger Ian Callaghan won the Football Writers' Association Footballer of the Year for his contribution to the club's successful season.
- This season also saw the inauguration of two new awards by the Professional Footballers' Association, both of which were voted for by footballers. The PFA Players' Player of the Year was won by Norman Hunter of Leeds United, whilst the PFA Young Player of the Year was won by Kevin Beattie of Ipswich Town.
- The top scorer in Division One was Pop Robson, who scored 28 goals for West Ham United.
- The overall league top scorer was Brian Yeo, who hit 31 goals for Fourth Division Gillingham.
- Don Revie led his Leeds United side to their second title after a record 29 match unbeaten start to the season. He left at the end of the season to take charge of the England team.
- Alan Ashman led his Carlisle side to a best ever finish.
- Legendary Liverpool manager Bill Shankly announced his retirement from the game, despite mounting pressure from the club's fans for him to stay on. He went out on a high by winning the FA Cup and handed over the reins to coach Bob Paisley.
- Jack Charlton kicked off his management career on a high note as he helped Middlesbrough win promotion to the First Division.
- David Mackay had a good start to his Derby County managerial spell by helping them finish third in the league and achieve UEFA Cup qualification. His appointment came after Brian Clough had walked out on the club only 18 months after leading them to championship glory.
- Bill Nicholson retired after 17 years as Tottenham manager. During that time he had taken them to some of the finest moments in their history, the most memorable being the double triumph of 1961 – which made Tottenham the first club of the 20th century to achieve the double. In his final season, Nicholson took Tottenham to the UEFA Cup final, but they were defeated by Feyenoord.
Diary of the season
30 September 1973: Leeds United are setting the pace at the top of the First Division at the end of September, leading Coventry City by three points having dropped only one point from their first nine matches. At the bottom, Birmingham City and West Ham United are still looking for their first league wins of the season.
17 October 1973: England fail to qualify for next summer's World Cup after Poland hold them to a 1–1 draw at Wembley in the last qualifying game, sending the Eastern European nation through at the expense of the 1966 world champions.
23 October 1973: The eight-day saga of Brian Clough and Derby County, which has seen numerous protests by the club's fans calling for his reinstatement, ends when former Rams player Dave Mackay resigns as Nottingham Forest manager to take charge of his old club.
30 November 1973: Leeds United, without a league title since 1969, are seven points clear at the top, and still unbeaten, at the end of November. Newcastle United, Burnley, Everton and Liverpool lead the chasing pack. Birmingham City and West Ham United remain at the foot of the table, and have been joined in the relegation zone by Norwich City.
31 December 1973: At the end of the year, Leeds United are still unbeaten in the league, and now lead nearest rivals Liverpool by eight points. Only goal difference keeps Manchester United, level on points with Birmingham City, out of the relegation zone.
31 January 1974: Leeds United remain eight points ahead of Liverpool at the end of January. An improved run of form has seen West Ham United move out of the bottom three at the expense of Manchester United.
23 February 1974: After beginning the season with a 29-match unbeaten run, Leeds United finally suffer defeat when they are beaten 3–2 by Stoke City at the Victoria Ground. However, they remain eight points ahead of Liverpool, who have moved six points ahead of third-placed Derby County.
16 March 1974: Liverpool beat Leeds United 1–0 at Anfield to move six points behind the Yorkshire side with two games in hand. At the other end of the table, Manchester United's relegation problems continue as they lose 1–0 to Birmingham City, who also remain in the bottom three.
30 March 1974: Leeds United lose 3–1 at West Ham United, their third league defeat in a row, handing control of the title race to Liverpool, who are now four points behind with three games in hand.
20 April 1974: Liverpool draw 0–0 at home to Everton, allowing Leeds United to move to the verge of the title with a 3–2 win over Ipswich Town. Norwich City are relegated to the Second Division.
27 April 1974: Manchester United go into the Manchester derby at Old Trafford needing to beat neighbours City to stand any chance of avoiding relegation, a mere six years after winning the European Cup. They lose 1–0 with former club hero Denis Law scoring City's only goal, but would have been relegated even if they had won due to Birmingham City winning. Birmingham's win also relegates Southampton, despite the Saints' 3–0 win away to Everton. Leeds United end the season with a 1–0 win over Queens Park Rangers.
30 July 1974: Brian Clough leaves Brighton & Hove Albion to become the new manager of Leeds United, but his assistant Peter Taylor remains at the Goldstone Ground and steps into the manager's seat there.
|First Division||Leeds United (2)||Liverpool|
|Second Division||Middlesbrough||Luton Town|
|Third Division||Oldham Athletic||Bristol Rovers|
|Fourth Division||Peterborough United||Gillingham|
|FA Cup||Liverpool (2)||Newcastle United|
|League Cup||Wolverhampton Wanderers (1)||Manchester City|
|Charity Shield||Burnley||Manchester City|
|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
|8||Queens Park Rangers||42||13||17||12||56||52||1.077||43|
|18||West Ham United||42||11||15||16||55||60||0.917||37|
|8||West Bromwich Albion||42||14||16||12||48||45||1.067||44|
|21||Preston North End||42||9||14||19||40||62||0.645||31*|
* Preston North End had one point deducted for fielding an ineligible player.
|19||Brighton & Hove Albion||46||16||11||19||52||58||0.897||43|
* Scunthorpe United v. Exeter was never played; Exeter failed to turn up and Scunthorpe were awarded the points.
† Newport had one point deducted for fielding an ineligible player.
P = Matches played; W = Matches won; D = Matches drawn; L = Matches lost; F = Goals for; A = Goals against; GA = Goal average; Pts = Points
- TheFA (2008). "Cup Final Statistics" (web). Find out the result of every each and every Cup Final, as well as venue records, most wins and most appearances... Past FA Cup Finals. The Football Association. Archived from the original on 18 May 2008. Retrieved 29 May 2008.
- Smailes, Gordon (2000). The Breedon Book of Football Records. Derby: Breedon Books. p. 132. ISBN 1859832148.
- Payne, Mike (1993). England: The Complete Post-War Record'. Derby: Breedon Books. ISBN 1873626398.
- Bagchi, Rob (30 April 2008). "You're fired: Five worst managerial sackings". The Guardian (London).
- "Leeds U clinches pennant". Edmonton Journal. Reuters. 25 April 1974.
- Ley, John (6 January 2012). "Manchester City v Manchester United: the top 10 Manchester derbies". The Daily Telegraph (London).
- "1974: Shankly quits Liverpool". BBC News. 12 July 1974.