1976–77 Manchester United F.C. season

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Manchester United
1976–77 season
Chairman Louis Edwards
Manager Tommy Docherty
First Division 6th
FA Cup Winners
League Cup Fifth Round
UEFA Cup Second Round
Top goalscorer League:
Gordon Hill (15)
Stuart Pearson (15)
All:
Gordon Hill (22)
Highest home attendance 60,723 vs Tottenham Hotspur (4 September 1976)
Lowest home attendance 37,586 vs Tranmere Rovers (1 September 1976)
Average home league attendance 53,390
Home colours
Away colours
Third colours

The 1976–77 season was Manchester United's 74th season in the Football League, and their second consecutive season in the top division of English football.[1] They finished the season sixth in the league and won the FA Cup to end a nine-year spell without a major trophy. Despite this success, it was to be their last season under the management of Tommy Docherty, who had been at the helm for four-and-a-half years and revived United following several years of decline. During the close season, he was dismissed by the club after revealing his love affair with the wife of the club's physiotherapist. The club's top scorer for this season was winger Gordon Hill, who found the net 22 times in all competitions, with 15 of his goals coming in the league.[2]

United failed to carry their consistent League form of the two previous years into the first half of the new season. Although they went top of the table following a 2-0 win at Leeds on 2 October, the cracks were already showing, most notably in a 3-2 home defeat by Spurs after leading 2-0 at half-time. A 4-0 thrashing at West Brom was the first in a run of eight matches without a win, and defeat at Arsenal just before Christmas left United in 17th place. Remarkably, a run of 10 wins from 12 matches then took them back into contention for the title, and although they were unable to sustain this upturn in form, a sixth-placed finish was far better than had looked likely at the turn of the year.

In the FA Cup, home wins over Walsall and QPR set up a fifth round tie with Second Division Southampton, who had shattered United's Wembley dreams the previous May. A 2-2 draw at The Dell was followed by a 2-1 win back at Old Trafford, courtesy of two goals from Brian Greenhoff's elder brother Jimmy, a £100,000 signing from Stoke in November.

After disposing of Aston Villa in the quarter-final and Leeds in the semi-final at Hillsborough, United faced the formidable challenge of League champions and prospective European Cup winners Liverpool in the final. Stuart Pearson broke clear to fire United in front early in the second half, and although Jimmy Case equalised within minutes, United's fourth FA Cup success was clinched by one of the luckiest and most unusual goals in the history of the final, as Lou Macari's wayward shot looped into the net off the shoulder of Jimmy Greenhoff.

In the League Cup, United scored 17 times on their way to the quarter-final, where they were well-beaten at home by Everton. Their UEFA Cup campaign was ended in the second round by Italian giants Juventus.

First Division[edit]

Date Opponents H / A Result
F – A
Scorers Attendance
21 August 1976 Birmingham City H 2 – 2 Coppell, Pearson 58,898
24 August 1976 Coventry City A 2 – 0 Macari, Hill 26,775
28 August 1976 Derby County A 0 – 0 30,054
4 September 1976 Tottenham Hotspur H 2 – 3 Coppell, Pearson 60,723
11 September 1976 Newcastle United A 2 – 2 B. Greenhoff, Pearson 39,037
18 September 1976 Middlesbrough H 2 – 0 McAndrew (o.g.), Pearson 56,712
25 September 1976 Manchester City A 3 – 1 Coppell, McCreery, Daly 48,861
2 October 1976 Leeds United A 2 – 0 Daly, Coppell 44,512
16 October 1976 West Bromwich Albion A 0 – 4 36,615
23 October 1976 Norwich City H 2 – 2 Daly (pen.), Hill 54,356
30 October 1976 Ipswich Town H 0 – 1 57,416
6 November 1976 Aston Villa A 2 – 3 Pearson. Hill 44,789
10 November 1976 Sunderland H 3 – 3 Hill, Pearson, B. Greenhoff 42,685
20 November 1976 Leicester City A 1 – 1 Daly (pen.) 26,421
27 November 1976 West Ham United H 0 – 2 55,366
18 December 1976 Arsenal A 1 – 3 McIlroy 39,572
27 December 1976 Everton H 4 – 0 Pearson, J. Greenhoff, Hill, Macari 56,786
1 January 1977 Aston Villa H 2 – 0 Pearson (2) 55,446
3 January 1977 Ipswich Town A 1 – 2 Pearson 30,105
15 January 1977 Coventry City H 2 – 0 Macari (2) 46,567
19 January 1977 Bristol City H 2 – 1 Pearson, B. Greenhoff 43,051
22 January 1977 Birmingham City A 3 – 2 J. Greenhoff, Pearson, Houston 35,316
5 February 1977 Derby County H 3 – 1 Macari, Houston, Powell (o.g.) 54,044
12 February 1977 Tottenham Hotspur A 3 – 1 Macari, McIlroy, Hill 46,946
16 February 1977 Liverpool H 0 – 0 57,487
19 February 1977 Newcastle United H 3 – 1 J. Greenhoff (3) 51,828
5 March 1977 Manchester City H 3 – 1 Pearson, Hill, Coppell 58,595
12 March 1977 Leeds United H 1 – 0 Cherry (o.g.) 60,612
23 March 1977 West Bromwich Albion H 2 – 2 Hill (pen.), Coppell 51,053
2 April 1977 Norwich City A 1 – 2 Powell (o.g.) 24,161
5 April 1977 Everton A 2 – 1 Hill (2) 38,216
9 April 1977 Stoke City H 3 – 0 Houston, Macari, Pearson 53,102
11 April 1977 Sunderland A 1 – 2 Hill (pen.) 38,785
16 April 1977 Leicester City H 1 – 1 J. Greenhoff 49,161
19 April 1977 Queens Park Rangers A 0 – 4 28,848
26 April 1977 Middlesbrough A 0 – 3 21,744
30 April 1977 Queens Park Rangers H 1 – 0 Macari 50,788
3 May 1977 Liverpool A 0 – 1 53,046
7 May 1977 Bristol City A 1 – 1 J. Greenhoff (pen.) 28,864
11 May 1977 Stoke City A 3 – 3 Hill (2), McCreery 24,204
14 May 1977 Arsenal H 3 – 2 J. Greenhoff, Macari, Hill 53,232
16 May 1977 West Ham United A 2 – 4 Hill, Pearson 29,904
Pos Club Pld W D L GF GA GD Pts
5 Newcastle United 42 18 13 11 64 49 +15 49
6 Manchester United 42 18 11 13 71 62 +9 47
7 West Bromwich Albion 42 16 13 13 62 56 +6 45

Pld = Matches played; W = Matches won; D = Matches drawn; L = Matches lost; F = Goals for; A = Goals against; GD = Goal difference; Pts = Points

FA Cup[edit]

Date Round Opponents H / A Result
F – A
Scorers Attendance
8 January 1977 Round 3 Walsall H 1 – 0 Hill 48,870
29 January 1977 Round 4 Queens Park Rangers H 1 – 0 Macari 57,422
26 February 1977 Round 5 Southampton A 2 – 2 Macari, Hill 29,137
8 March 1977 Round 5
Replay
Southampton H 2 – 1 J. Greenhoff (2) 58,103
19 March 1977 Round 6 Aston Villa H 2 – 1 Houston, Macari 57,089
23 April 1977 Semi-final Leeds United N 2 – 1 J. Greenhoff, Coppell 55,000
21 May 1977 Final Liverpool N 2 – 1 Pearson, J. Greenhoff 100,000

League Cup[edit]

Date Round Opponents H / A Result
F – A
Scorers Attendance
1 September 1976 Round 2 Tranmere Rovers H 5 – 0 Daly (2), Macari, Pearson, Hill 37,586
22 September 1976 Round 3 Sunderland H 2 – 2 Pearson, Clarke (o.g.) 46,170
4 October 1976 Round 3
Replay
Sunderland A 2 – 2 B. Greenhoff, Daly (pen.) 46,170
6 October 1976 Round 3
2nd Replay
Sunderland H 1 – 0 B. Greenhoff 47,689
27 October 1976 Round 4 Newcastle United H 7 – 2 Houston, Hill (3), Pearson, Nicholl, Coppell 52,002
1 December 1976 Round 5 Everton H 0 – 3 57,738

UEFA Cup[edit]

Date Round Opponents H / A Result
F – A
Scorers Attendance
15 September 1976 Round 1
First leg
Ajax A 0 – 1 30,000
29 September 1976 Round 1
Second leg
Ajax H 2 – 0 Macari, McIlroy 58,918
20 October 1976 Round 2
First leg
Juventus H 1 – 0 Hill 59,000
3 November 1976 Round 2
Second leg
Juventus A 0 – 3 66,632

Squad statistics[edit]

Pos. Name League FA Cup League Cup UEFA Cup Total
Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals
GK Republic of Ireland Paddy Roche 2 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 2 0
GK England Alex Stepney 40 0 7 0 6 0 4 0 57 0
DF Scotland Arthur Albiston 14(3) 0 1 0 2(2) 0 2(1) 0 19(6) 0
DF Scotland Martin Buchan 33 0 7 0 4 0 2 0 46 0
DF Scotland Alex Forsyth 3(1) 0 0 0 1 0 0 0 4(1) 0
DF England Brian Greenhoff 40 3 7 0 6 2 4 0 57 5
DF Scotland Stewart Houston 36 3 6 1 5 1 4 0 51 5
DF Northern Ireland Jimmy Nicholl 39 0 7 0 5 1 4 0 55 1
DF Scotland Steve Paterson 2 0 0 0 1 0 0(2) 0 3(2) 0
DF England Colin Waldron 3 0 0 0 1 0 0 0 4 0
MF Wales Jonathan Clark 0(1) 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0(1) 0
MF England Steve Coppell 40 6 7 1 5 1 4 0 56 8
MF Republic of Ireland Gerry Daly 16(1) 4 0(1) 0 6 3 4 0 26(2) 7
MF Northern Ireland Tommy Jackson 2 0 0 0 1 0 0 0 3 0
MF Northern Ireland David McCreery 9(16) 2 0(3) 0 3(2) 0 1(3) 0 13(24) 2
MF Northern Ireland Chris McGrath 2(4) 0 0 0 0(1) 0 0 0 2(5) 0
MF Northern Ireland Sammy McIlroy 39(1) 2 7 0 6 0 4 1 56(1) 3
FW England Alan Foggon 0(3) 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0(3) 0
FW England Jimmy Greenhoff 27 8 7 4 0 0 0 0 34 12
FW England Gordon Hill 38(1) 15 7 2 6 4 4 1 55(1) 22
FW Scotland Lou Macari 38 9 7 3 4 1 4 1 53 14
FW England Stuart Pearson 39 15 7 1 4 3 3 0 53 19
Own goals 4 0 1 0 5

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Manchester United Season 1976/77". StretfordEnd.co.uk. Retrieved 21 December 2011. 
  2. ^ "1977: Manchester United sack manager". BBC Sport. British Broadcasting Corporation. Retrieved 9 March 2012.