1974–75 Manchester United F.C. season

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Manchester United
1974–75 season
Chairman Louis Edwards
Manager Tommy Docherty
Second Division 1st (promoted)
FA Cup Third Round
League Cup Semi-final
Top goalscorer League:
Stuart Pearson (17)
All:
Lou Macari (18)
Stuart Pearson (18)
Highest home attendance 60,585 vs Sunderland (30 November 1974)
Lowest home attendance 21,616 vs Charlton Athletic (11 September 1974)
Average home league attendance 47,781
Home colours
Away colours
Third colours

The 1974–75 season was Manchester United's 72nd season in the Football League,[1] and their first as a Second Division team since 1937–38, following relegation from the First Division at the end of the previous season.[2]

Relegation had been a traumatic affair, with the mass pitch invasion that accompanied the decisive 1–0 home defeat by neighbours City prompting the FA to insist that United erect perimeter fencing around Old Trafford, effectively 'caging in' the supporters. There was some uncertainty as to how Docherty's young team would fare, even at a lower level. In the event they coped admirably, going top after four matches and remaining there for the rest of the season, clinching their return to the top flight with a month of the season still to play. The manager stuck by many of the players who had dropped out of the First Division in ignominious fashion just a few months earlier, with the only new recruit being striker Stuart Pearson, signed from Hull for £200,000. Pearson was an immediate success and ended the season as leading scorer with 17 League goals.

United began with a 2–0 win at Orient, who had narrowly missed out on promotion the previous season, and followed it up with a 4–0 home win over Millwall, with midfielder Gerry Daly completing a hat-trick by converting two penalties in the last five minutes. Daly also scored from the spot in the next two matches, firstly to set United on the way to a 2–1 win over Portsmouth, and then to decide the match at Cardiff inside the first minute.

Two draws followed but United got back on track with three successive wins before losing their unbeaten start at Norwich, United reject Ted MacDougall scoring both goals in the Canaries' 2–0 win. United then embarked on an unbeaten sequence of five wins and a draw, conceding only one goal in the process. Following a 4–0 thrashing of Oxford (featuring a first half Pearson hat-trick), goalkeeper Alex Stepney had kept 12 clean sheets in 18 matches – a record that represented a marked improvement on recent seasons when United's biggest weakness was widely perceived to be their defensive brittleness.

Perversely, United conceded 10 goals in their next five matches, including defeats at Bristol City and Hull, and a top-of-the-table clash with Sunderland at Old Trafford in front of a season's best crowd of 60,585. Pearson gave United an 11th minute lead only for Billy Hughes to respond immediately for the visitors with two goals. Willie Morgan equalised early in the second half and moments later Sammy McIlroy side-footed home to give United a memorable 3–2 victory. The following week, United drew a remarkable match 4–4 at Sheffield Wednesday and lost central defender Jim Holton for the remainder of the season with a broken leg.

As 1974 turned to 1975, United's results wavered. They were surprisingly knocked out of the FA Cup by Third Division Walsall and then suffered an aggregate defeat to Norwich in the semi-final of the League Cup. League form also dipped as United suffered four defeats in seven matches and lost their unbeaten home record in the process. Docherty responded by splashing out £60,000 on an unknown winger from Tranmere called Steve Coppell. The youngster made his debut as a second-half substitute against Cardiff; shortly after his arrival in the match, Stewart Houston put United in front and they went on to win 4–0.

Thereafter, United regained their poise and remained undefeated in the final 11 matches of the season, clinching promotion with a 1–0 win at Southampton and the Championship with a 2–2 draw at Notts County.

Second Division[edit]

Date Opponents H / A Result
F–A
Scorers Attendance
17 August 1974 Orient A 2–0 Morgan, Houston 17,772
24 August 1974 Millwall H 4–0 Daly (3; 2 pens), Pearson 44,756
28 August 1974 Portsmouth H 2–1 Daly (pen), McIlroy 42,547
31 August 1974 Cardiff City A 1–0 Daly (pen) 22,344
7 September 1974 Nottingham Forest H 2–2 Greenhoff, McIlroy 40,671
14 September 1974 West Bromwich Albion A 1–1 Pearson 28,666
16 September 1974 Millwall A 1–0 Daly (pen) 16,988
21 September 1974 Bristol Rovers H 2–0 Greenhoff, Prince (o.g.) 42,948
25 September 1974 Bolton Wanderers H 3–0 Macari, Houston, McAllister (o.g.) 47,084
28 September 1974 Norwich City A 0–2 24,586
5 October 1974 Fulham A 2–1 Pearson (2) 25,513
12 October 1974 Notts County H 1–0 McIlroy 46,565
15 October 1974 Portsmouth A 0–0 25,608
19 October 1974 Blackpool A 3–0 Forsyth, Macari, McCalliog 25,370
26 October 1974 Southampton H 1–0 Pearson 48,724
2 November 1974 Oxford United H 4–0 Pearson (3), Macari 41,909
9 November 1974 Bristol City A 0–1 28,104
16 November 1974 Aston Villa H 2–1 Daly (2; 1 pen) 55,615
23 November 1974 Hull City A 0–2 23,287
30 November 1974 Sunderland H 3–2 Pearson, Morgan, McIlroy 60,585
7 December 1974 Sheffield Wednesday A 4–4 Houston, Macari (2), Pearson 35,230
14 December 1974 Orient H 0–0 41,200
21 December 1974 York City A 1–0 Pearson 15,314
26 December 1974 West Bromwich Albion H 2–1 McIlroy, Daly (pen) 51,104
28 December 1974 Oldham Athletic A 0–1 26,356
11 January 1975 Sheffield Wednesday H 2–0 McCalliog (2; 1 pen) 45,662
18 January 1975 Sunderland A 0–0 45,976
1 February 1975 Bristol City H 0–1 47,118
8 February 1975 Oxford United A 0–1 15,959
15 February 1975 Hull City H 2–0 Houston, Pearson 44,712
22 February 1975 Aston Villa A 0–2 40,353
1 March 1975 Cardiff City H 4–0 Houston, Pearson, McIlroy, Macari 43,601
8 March 1975 Bolton Wanderers A 1–0 Pearson 38,152
15 March 1975 Norwich City H 1–1 Pearson 56,202
22 March 1975 Nottingham Forest A 1–0 Daly 21,893
28 March 1975 Bristol Rovers A 1–1 Macari 19,337
29 March 1975 York City H 2–1 Morgan, Macari 46,802
31 March 1975 Oldham Athletic H 3–2 McIlroy, Macari, Coppell 56,618
5 April 1975 Southampton A 1–0 Macari 21,866
12 April 1975 Fulham H 1–0 Daly 52,971
19 April 1975 Notts County A 2–2 Houston, Greenhoff 17,832
26 April 1975 Blackpool H 4–0 Pearson (2), Macari, Greenhoff 58,769
Pos Club Pld W D L GF GA GAvg Pts
1 Manchester United 42 26 9 7 66 30 2.200 61
2 Aston Villa 42 25 8 9 79 32 2.469 58
3 Norwich City 42 20 13 9 58 37 1.568 53

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
4 January 1975 Round 3 Walsall H 0–0 43,353
7 January 1975 Round 3
Replay
Walsall A 2–3 (aet) Daly (pen), McIlroy 18,105

League Cup[edit]

Date Round Opponents H / A Result
F–A
Scorers Attendance
11 September 1974 Round 2 Charlton Athletic H 5–1 Macari (2), McIlroy, Houston, Bowman (o.g.) 21,616
9 October 1974 Round 3 Manchester City H 1–0 Daly (pen) 55,159
13 November 1974 Round 4 Burnley H 3–2 Macari (2), Morgan 46,275
4 December 1974 Round 5 Middlesbrough A 0–0 36,005
18 December 1974 Round 5
Replay
Middlesbrough H 3–0 Pearson, McIlroy, Macari 49,501
15 January 1975 Semi-Final
First leg
Norwich City H 2–2 Macari (2) 58,010
22 January 1975 Semi-Final
Second leg
Norwich City A 0–1 31,621

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Manchester United Season 1974/75". StretfordEnd.co.uk. Retrieved 21 December 2011. 
  2. ^ "Managers – Tommy Docherty". AboutManUtd.com. About ManUtd. Retrieved 9 March 2012.