1975–76 Manchester United F.C. season

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Manchester United
1975–76 season
Chairman Louis Edwards
Manager Tommy Docherty
First Division 3rd
FA Cup Runners-up
League Cup Fourth Round
Top goalscorer League:
Stuart Pearson (13)
All:
Lou Macari (15)
Highest home attendance 61,879 vs Everton (17 April 1976)
Lowest home attendance 25,286 vs Brentford (10 September 1975)
Average home league attendance 53,276
Home colours
Away colours

The 1975–76 season was Manchester United's 73rd season in the Football League.[1] They finished the season third in the First Division (their highest placing since 1968 [2]) to qualify for the 1976–77 UEFA Cup, and also reached the FA Cup Final where they lost 1-0 to Southampton at Wembley.

In the space of little over a year, Tommy Docherty had transformed a club that was on its knees into one that arrived back in Division One on the crest of a wave, having breezed to the Second Division title the previous season. Ultimately it was United's inexperience at the top level that would leave them just short of major honours. Nevertheless, they earned a reputation as 'crowd pleasers', with no less an authority than Bill Shankly describing them as "wonderful refreshing little boys...Tommy Docherty's sitting on a fortune."

United made the perfect start to the new season with two goals by Lou Macari giving them victory at Wolves. Three days later at Birmingham, with the score goalless, they lost keeper Alex Stepney to a freak injury - a dislocated jaw sustained while shouting orders at his defence. Brian Greenhoff took his place in goal, but United overcame the hurdle to secure a second successive 2-0 away win thanks to a Sammy McIlroy brace. United were rampant and a 5-1 win over Sheffield United in their opening home match left them sitting top of the League with a 100% record from three matches.

It was seven matches before United suffered their first defeat, an early David Webb goal giving QPR the points at Loftus Road, but this match was the precursor to a run of only one win in five, with away results becoming somewhat indifferent as United's defensive shortcomings became increasingly apparent. By late November they had lost five times on their travels, but home form remained strong and their youthful exuberance continued to win them admirers wherever they went.

Before Christmas, extrovert winger Gordon Hill signed from Millwall for £70,000, and his arrival provided a shot in the arm as United embarked on a run of 24 matches in League and Cup with only one defeat. They ended the year in second place, level on points with leaders Liverpool, and had returned to the top of the table by the end of January, remaining title contenders until the final few matches. A 3-0 defeat at Ipswich at the start of April proved costly, and United's challenge ended 11 days later when a goal by Stoke's Alan Bloor inflicted their one and only home defeat of the season.

Further disappointment was to follow. Having reached the FA Cup final for the first time since 1963, United were overwhelming favourites to take the trophy against Second Division Southampton, but they surprisingly lost courtesy of an 83rd minute goal by Bobby Stokes.

First Division[edit]

Date Opponents H / A Result
F–A
Scorers Attendance
16 August 1975 Wolverhampton Wanderers A 2–0 Macari (2) 32,348
19 August 1975 Birmingham City A 2–0 McIlroy (2) 33,177
23 August 1975 Sheffield United H 5–1 Pearson (2), Badger (o.g.), Daly, McIlroy 55,948
27 August 1975 Coventry City H 1–1 Pearson 52,169
30 August 1975 Stoke City A 1–0 Dodd (o.g.) 33,092
6 September 1975 Tottenham Hotspur H 3–2 Pratt (o.g.), Daly (2; 1 pen.) 51,641
13 September 1975 Queens Park Rangers A 0–1 29,237
20 September 1975 Ipswich Town H 1–0 Houston 50,513
24 September 1975 Derby County A 1–2 Daly 33,187
27 September 1975 Manchester City A 2–2 McCreery, Macari 46,931
4 October 1975 Leicester City H 0–0 47,878
11 October 1975 Leeds United A 2–1 McIlroy (2) 40,264
18 October 1975 Arsenal H 3–1 Coppell (2), Pearson 53,885
25 October 1975 West Ham United A 1–2 Macari 38,601
1 November 1975 Norwich City H 1–0 Pearson 50,587
8 November 1975 Liverpool A 1–3 Coppell 49,137
15 November 1975 Aston Villa H 2–0 Coppell, McIlroy 51,682
22 November 1975 Arsenal A 1–3 Pearson 40,102
29 November 1975 Newcastle United H 1–0 Daly 52,624
6 December 1975 Middlesbrough A 0–0 32,454
13 December 1975 Sheffield United A 4–1 Pearson (2), Hill, Macari 31,741
20 December 1975 Wolverhampton Wanderers H 1–0 Hill 44,269
23 December 1975 Everton A 1–1 Macari 41,732
27 December 1975 Burnley H 2–1 McIlroy, Macari 59,726
10 January 1976 Queens Park Rangers H 2–1 Hill, McIlroy 58,312
17 January 1976 Tottenham Hotspur A 1–1 Hill 49,189
31 January 1976 Birmingham City H 3–1 Forsyth, Macari, McIlroy 50,726
7 February 1976 Coventry City A 1–1 Macari 33,922
18 February 1976 Liverpool H 0–0 59,709
21 February 1976 Aston Villa A 1–2 Macari 50,094
25 February 1976 Derby County H 1–1 Pearson 59,632
28 February 1976 West Ham United H 4–0 Forsyth, Macari, McCreery, Pearson 57,220
13 March 1976 Leeds United H 3–2 Houston, Pearson, Daly 59,429
17 March 1976 Norwich City A 1–1 Hill 27,782
20 March 1976 Newcastle United A 4–3 Pearson (2), Bird (o.g.), Howard (o.g.) 41,427
27 March 1976 Middlesbrough H 3–0 Daly (pen.), McCreery, Hill 58,527
10 April 1976 Ipswich Town A 0–3 34,889
17 April 1976 Everton H 2–1 Kenyon (o.g.), McCreery 61,879
19 April 1976 Burnley A 1–0 Macari 27,418
21 April 1976 Stoke City H 0–1 53,879
24 April 1976 Leicester City A 1–2 Coyne 31,053
4 May 1976 Manchester City H 2–0 Hill, McIlroy 59,517
Pos Club Pld W D L GF GA GAvg Pts
2 Queens Park Rangers 42 24 11 7 67 33 2.030 59
3 Manchester United 42 23 10 9 68 42 1.619 56
4 Derby County 42 21 11 10 75 58 1.293 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
3 January 1976 Round 3 Oxford United H 2–1 Daly (2; 2 pen.) 41,082
24 January 1976 Round 4 Peterborough United H 3–1 Forsyth, McIlroy, Hill 56,352
14 February 1976 Round 5 Leicester City A 2–1 Macari, Daly 34,000
6 March 1976 Round 6 Wolverhampton Wanderers H 1–1 Daly 59,433
9 March 1976 Round 6
Replay
Wolverhampton Wanderers A 3–2 (aet) Pearson, Greenhoff, McIlroy 44,373
3 April 1976 Semi-Final Derby County N 2–0 Hill (2) 55,000
1 May 1976 Final Southampton N 0–1 100,000

League Cup[edit]

Date Round Opponents H / A Result
F–A
Scorers Attendance
10 September 1975 Round 2 Brentford H 2–1 Macari, McIlroy 25,286
22 September 1975 Round 3 Aston Villa A 2–1 Macari, Coppell 41,447
12 November 1975 Round 4 Manchester City A 0–4 50,182

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Manchester United Season 1975/76". StretfordEnd.co.uk. Retrieved 21 December 2011. 
  2. ^ "Managers – Tommy Docherty". AboutManUtd.com. About ManUtd. Retrieved 9 March 2012.