1987–88 Manchester United F.C. season

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Manchester United
1987–88 season
Chairman Martin Edwards
Manager Alex Ferguson
First Division 2nd
FA Cup Fifth Round
League Cup Fifth Round
Top goalscorer League:
Brian McClair (24)
All:
Brian McClair (31)
Highest home attendance 50,716 vs Chelsea (30 January 1988)
Lowest home attendance 25,041 vs Hull City (23 September 1987)
Average home league attendance 38,605
Home colours
Away colours
Third colours

The 1987–88 season was Manchester United's 85th season in the Football League, and their 13th consecutive season in the top division of English football.[1]

The season was a relative success, with the club finishing second in the league, but they did not play in the UEFA Cup the following season due to the ban on English clubs in Europe after the Heysel Stadium disaster. They finished nine points behind champions Liverpool, who lost just twice all season and for much of the campaign looked uncatchable. Perhaps the most memorable game of the season was in the league at Anfield just before Liverpool's title was confirmed, when United were 3–1 down at half time but fought back to hold the hosts to a 3–3 draw.

United lost just five times in the league in 40 games, and lost only once at Old Trafford, but a few disappointing draws against relatively unfancied sides including Charlton and Luton led to crucial points being dropped and prevented them from mounting a serious threat to Liverpool.

It was Alex Ferguson's first full season as United manager, and it was the first season at the club for new signings Brian McClair (who finished the season as one of the First Division's top scorers with 24 goals) and Viv Anderson. December also saw the arrival of defender Steve Bruce from Norwich City.


Pre-season and friendlies[edit]

Date Opponents H / A Result
F – A
Scorers Attendance
22 July 1987 Næstved A 2 – 0 Moran, Robson 6,500
24 July 1987 IS Halmia A 9 – 1 Whiteside (4), Davenport (2), Strachan, Olsen, Marshall (o.g.) 2,607
26 July 1987 B 1903 A 3 – 2 Robson, Davenport, McClair (pen.) 2,500
28 July 1987 Vejle A 4 – 1 Anderson, Davenport, Olsen, McClair 7,000
4 August 1987 Manchester City A 3 – 1 McClair (2), Robson 20,250
5 August 1987 Atlético Mineiro N 3 – 1 McClair (3) 7,150
10 August 1987 Irish League N 0 – 0 10,000
21 October 1987 Weymouth A 0 – 1 4,904
28 November 1987 Bermuda A 4 – 1 Robson, McClair (pen.), Whiteside, Davenport 4,200
1 December 1987 Somerset CC A 4 – 1 Wilson, McClair, Knox, Olsen 2,000
28 March 1988 Tottenham Hotspur A 3 – 2 Strachan (2), Davenport 20,190
22 April 1988 Walsall A 3 – 1 Whiteside, Strachan, McClair 6,141
8 May 1988 Manchester City H 0 – 2 14,898
17 May 1988 Milan H 2 – 3 McClair, Olsen 37,392

First Division[edit]

Date Opponents H / A Result
F – A
Scorers Attendance League
position
15 August 1987 Southampton A 2 – 2 Whiteside (2) 25', 31' 21,214 10th
19 August 1987 Arsenal H 0 – 0 43,893 12th
22 August 1987 Watford H 2 – 0 McGrath 10', McClair 20' 38,769 7th
29 August 1987 Charlton Athletic A 3 – 1 McClair 10', Robson 22', McGrath 45' 14,046 5th
31 August 1987 Chelsea H 3 – 1 McClair 25', Strachan 48', Whiteside 83' 46,616 1st
5 September 1987 Coventry City A 0 – 0 27,125 2nd
12 September 1987 Newcastle United H 2 – 2 Olsen 8', McClair 45' (pen.) 45,619 3rd
19 September 1987 Everton A 1 – 2 Whiteside 59' 38,439 6th
26 September 1987 Tottenham Hotspur H 1 – 0 McClair 44' (pen.) 48,087 6th
3 October 1987 Luton Town A 1 – 1 McClair 54' 9,137 6th
10 October 1987 Sheffield Wednesday A 4 – 2 Robson 40', McClair (2) 53', 78', Blackmore 60' 32,779 4th
17 October 1987 Norwich City H 2 – 1 Davenport 46', Robson 80' 39,821 4th
24 October 1987 West Ham United A 1 – 1 Gibson 45' 19,863 5th
31 October 1987 Nottingham Forest H 2 – 2 Robson 54', Whiteside 59' 44,669 5th
15 November 1987 Liverpool H 1 – 1 Whiteside 50' 47,106 5th
21 November 1987 Wimbledon A 1 – 2 Blackmore 65' 11,532 6th
5 December 1987 Queens Park Rangers A 2 – 0 Davenport 35', Robson 74' 20,632 6th
12 December 1987 Oxford United H 3 – 1 Strachan (2) 23', 31', Olsen 50' 34,709 4th
19 December 1987 Portsmouth A 2 – 1 Robson 35', McClair 48' 22,207 4th
26 December 1987 Newcastle United A 0 – 1 26,461 5th
28 December 1987 Everton H 2 – 1 McClair (2) 50', 73' (pen.) 47,024 4th
1 January 1988 Charlton Athletic H 0 – 0 37,257 4th
2 January 1988 Watford A 1 – 0 McClair 39' 18,038 4th
16 January 1988 Southampton H 0 – 2 35,716 5th
24 January 1988 Arsenal A 2 – 1 Strachan 11', McClair 67' 29,392 3rd
6 February 1988 Coventry City H 1 – 0 O'Brien 5' 37,144 3rd
10 February 1988 Derby County A 2 – 1 Strachan 71', Whiteside 88' 20,016 2nd
13 February 1988 Chelsea A 2 – 1 Bruce 50', O'Brien 52' 25,014 2nd
23 February 1988 Tottenham Hotspur A 1 – 1 McClair 82' 25,731 2nd
5 March 1988 Norwich City A 0 – 1 19,129 2nd
12 March 1988 Sheffield Wednesday H 4 – 1 Blackmore 1', McClair (2) 7', 53', Davenport 79' 33,318 2nd
19 March 1988 Nottingham Forest A 0 – 0 27,598 2nd
26 March 1988 West Ham United H 3 – 1 Strachan 58', Anderson 83', Robson 90' 37,269 2nd
2 April 1988 Derby County H 4 – 1 McClair (3) 16', 23', 64', Gibson 51' 40,146 2nd
4 April 1988 Liverpool A 3 – 3 Robson (2) 3', 66', Strachan 77' 43,497 2nd
12 April 1988 Luton Town H 3 – 0 McClair 44', Robson 66', Davenport 68' 28,830 2nd
30 April 1988 Queens Park Rangers H 2 – 1 Bruce 10', Parker 83' (o.g.) 35,733 2nd
2 May 1988 Oxford United A 2 – 0 Anderson 7', Strachan 37' 8,966 2nd
7 May 1988 Portsmouth H 4 – 1 McClair (2) 5', 58', Davenport 25', Robson 35' 35,105 2nd
9 May 1988 Wimbledon H 2 – 1 McClair (2) 50', 75' (pen.) 28,040 2nd
Pos Club Pld W D L GF GA GD Pts
1 Liverpool 40 26 12 2 87 24 +63 90
2 Manchester United 40 23 12 5 71 38 +33 81
3 Nottingham Forest 40 20 13 7 67 39 +28 73

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

FA Cup[edit]

Date Round Opponents H / A Result
F – A
Scorers Attendance
10 January 1988 Round 3 Ipswich Town A 2 – 1 D'Avray 28' (o.g.), Anderson 64' 23,012
30 January 1988 Round 4 Chelsea H 2 – 0 Whiteside 42', McClair 70' 50,716
20 February 1988 Round 5 Arsenal A 1 – 2 McClair 52' 54,161

League Cup[edit]

Date Round Opponents H / A Result
F – A
Scorers Attendance
23 September 1987 Round 2
First leg
Hull City H 5 – 0 McGrath 38', Davenport 71', Whiteside 74', Strachan 81', McClair 85' 25,041
7 October 1987 Round 2
Second leg
Hull City A 1 – 0 McClair 62' 13,586
28 October 1987 Round 3 Crystal Palace H 2 – 1 McClair (2) 7' (pen.), 28' 27,283
18 November 1987 Round 4 Bury H[2] 2 – 1 Whiteside 63', McClair 68' 33,519
20 January 1988 Round 5 Oxford United A 0 – 2 12,658

Football League Centenary Tournament[edit]

Date Round Opponents H / A Result
F – A
Scorers Attendance
16 April 1988 Round 1 Luton Town N 2 – 0 McClair, Davenport
16 April 1988 Quarter-final Everton N 1 – 0 Bruce
16 April 1988 Semi-final Sheffield Wednesday N 1 – 2 Davenport (pen.)

Events of the season[edit]

Manchester United began the 1987–88 season (the first full season under the management of Alex Ferguson) with new signings in the shape of defender Viv Anderson and striker Brian McClair, while Frank Stapleton and Terry Gibson were both on their way out of Old Trafford.

The First Division season began with Manchester United drawing 2–2 at Southampton, with Norman Whiteside scores both of United's goals, with Southampton's Danny Wallace scoring both of the home side's goals.[3][4]

Bryan Robson was sent off on 29 August as Manchester United beat Charlton Athletic 3–1 away in their fourth league game of the season, placing them fifth in the First Division.[5][6]

18 September 1987: Manchester United also made a bid to sign Wales striker Andy Jones from Port Vale, but the player instead opted for Charlton Athletic in a £300,000 deal. [19]

The good progress which saw Manchester United climb to mid table from near the foot of the First Division following Alex Ferguson's appointment last season has continued into this season as they soon established themselves as a top five force and perhaps the nearest serious challengers to traditional title favourites Liverpool.

Alex Ferguson had long been known to be keen to secure the signing of Mark Hughes, who had to stay outside Britain until at least April 1988 to avoid taxation on money earned since his move from Manchester United to FC Barcelona in June 1986, was reported to be on the verge of signing a permanent contract with Bayern Munich of West Germany after a successful start to his loan spell at the Olympiastadion.[7]

His hopes of signing the Rangers and England defender Terry Butcher were dashed when Rangers manager Graeme Souness offered him a lucrative contract to stay at Ibrox until at least 1993.[8]

On a tour of Bermuda in late November, winger Clayton Blackmore was arrested on allegations of rape but swiftly released from custody after no charges were brought against him.

Alex Ferguson then made a £750,000 bid to bring Steve Bruce to Manchester United from Norwich City, but the offer was rejected. Ferguson had turned his attention back to Bruce following his failure to secure Terry Butcher, having originally been put off Bruce by Norwich's £1 million price tag.[9] A second bid for Steve Bruce - reported to be in the region of £850,000 - was then made, but again rejected.[10] The transfer was finally completed on 18 December at a cost of £900,000 transfer from Norwich City to Manchester United.[11]

Ferguson then looked to boost his attack with an offer for Luton Town striker Mick Harford, but the player decided to remain at Kenilworth Road after manager Ray Harford offered him a four-year contract.[12]

On 10 January 1988, Manchester United's FA Cup quest began with a 2–1 over Ipswich Town in the third round at Portman Road.[13] 10 days later, their hopes of Football League Cup glory were ended by a 2–0 defeat at Oxford United in the quarter-final.[14]

By the end of the month, however, they had progressed to the FA Cup fifth round with a 2–0 home win over Chelsea.[15]

The FA Cup dream ended, however, on 20 February, when they suffered a 2–1 home defeat by Arsenal in the fifth round. Brian McClair, the club's leading goalscorer, missed a late penalty that would have forced a replay.[16]

Norman Whiteside, who had spent his whole seven-year playing career at Manchester United, handed in a transfer request near the end of March and spoke of his desire to play football in a foreign country.[17]

On 4 April, Manchester United pulled off a remarkable 3–3 draw with Liverpool at Anfield in a First Division game which Liverpool had led 3–1 at half time.[18] Manchester United trailed Liverpool, who have two games in hand, by 11 points as they still had five games left to play, so Liverpool inevitably clinched the title within three weeks of this game and United had to settle for second place.[19]

On 18 April, Ferguson agreed a deal for Lee Sharpe, the 16-year-old Torquay United winger, for £200,000 - a record fee for a YTS player.[20]

After the end of the season, Ferguson brought Mark Hughes back to Manchester United for a club record fee of £1.8 million and also signed Aberdeen and Scotland goalkeeper Jim Leighton for £500,000. Newcastle United midfielder Paul Gascoigne had looked set to join Manchester United, but then spurned them for a national record £2 million move to Tottenham Hotspur.

Squad statistics[edit]

Pos. Name League FA Cup Littlewoods Cup Total
Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals
GK England Chris Turner 24 0 3 0 3 0 30 0
GK England Gary Walsh 16 0 0 0 2 0 18 0
DF Scotland Arthur Albiston 5(6) 0 0 0 0 0 5(6) 0
DF England Viv Anderson 30(1) 2 3 1 4 0 37(1) 3
DF Wales Clayton Blackmore 15(7) 3 1(1) 0 3(1) 0 19(9) 3
DF England Steve Bruce 21 2 3 0 0 0 24 2
DF England Mike Duxbury 39 0 3 0 5 0 47 0
DF England Billy Garton 5(1) 0 0 0 2(1) 0 7(2) 0
DF England Colin Gibson 26(3) 2 2 0 5 0 33(3) 2
DF Scotland Graeme Hogg 9(1) 0 2 0 0(1) 0 11(2) 0
DF England Lee Martin 0(1) 0 0 0 0 0 0(1) 0
DF Republic of Ireland Paul McGrath 21(1) 2 0 0 2 1 23(1) 3
DF Republic of Ireland Kevin Moran 20(1) 0 1 0 2 0 23(1) 0
MF England Remi Moses 16(1) 0 1 0 1(1) 0 18(2) 0
MF Republic of Ireland Liam O'Brien 6(11) 2 0(2) 0 0(2) 0 6(15) 2
MF Denmark Jesper Olsen 30(7) 2 2(1) 0 3(1) 0 35(9) 2
MF England Bryan Robson 36 11 2 0 5 0 43 11
MF Scotland Gordon Strachan 33(3) 8 3 0 5 1 41(3) 9
FW England Peter Davenport 21(13) 5 1(1) 0 3(1) 1 25(15) 6
FW Wales Deiniol Graham 1 0 0 0 0(1) 0 1(1) 0
FW Scotland Brian McClair 40 24 3 2 5 5 48 31
FW Northern Ireland Norman Whiteside 26(1) 7 3 1 5 2 34(1) 10

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Manchester United Season 1987/88". StretfordEnd.co.uk. Retrieved 21 December 2011. 
  2. ^ United were drawn away but the tie was switched to Old Trafford.
  3. ^ [1]
  4. ^ [2]
  5. ^ [3]
  6. ^ [4]
  7. ^ [5]
  8. ^ [6]
  9. ^ [7]
  10. ^ [8]
  11. ^ [9]
  12. ^ [10]
  13. ^ [11]
  14. ^ [12]
  15. ^ [13]
  16. ^ [14]
  17. ^ [15]
  18. ^ [16]
  19. ^ [17]
  20. ^ [18]