1991–92 Manchester United F.C. season

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Manchester United
1991–92 season
Chairman Martin Edwards
Manager Alex Ferguson
First Division 2nd
FA Cup Fourth Round
League Cup Winners
Cup Winners' Cup Second Round
UEFA Super Cup Winners
Top goalscorer League:
Brian McClair (18)
All:
Brian McClair (25)
Highest home attendance 47,576 vs Nottingham Forest (20 April 1992)
Lowest home attendance 22,110 vs Red Star Belgrade (19 November 1991)
Average home league attendance 42,061
Home colours
Away colours
Third colours

The 1991–92 season was Manchester United's 85th season in the Football League, and their 17th consecutive season in the top division of English football.[1]

The season saw United lift the League Cup for the first time in their history with a 1–0 win over Nottingham Forest at Wembley Stadium, but they then endured the disappointment of being beaten to the league title by rivals Leeds United, having led the league for much of the season.

New signings for the season included Danish goalkeeper Peter Schmeichel and England right-back Paul Parker. Ryan Giggs, who had played twice for United in 1990–91, broke into the first team and was one of the most exciting players in the country as he won the PFA Young Player of the Year award.

Soviet international winger Andrei Kanchelskis, who had joined United in the later stages of the 1990–91 season, was also putting in star performances to give manager Alex Ferguson a more attacking alternative to the ageing Mike Phelan on the right hand side of midfield.

Pre-season and friendlies[edit]

Date Opponents H / A Result
F – A
Scorers Attendance
24 July 1991 Mazda H 1 – 2 Ferguson
29 July 1991 Strømsgodset A 3 – 1 Ince, Beardsmore, Wallace 7,809
30 July 1991 Viking A 1 – 0 Robins 6,025
1 August 1991 Molde A 3 – 1 Blackmore, Hughes (2) 3,468
4 August 1991 Dumbarton A 5 – 0 Robins (2), Hughes (2), McClair 1,570
5 August 1991 Aberdeen A 1 – 1
(4 – 3p)
Hughes 20,300
7 August 1991 Austria Memphis A 1 – 5 McClair 12,000
11 August 1991 Republic of Ireland XI H 1 – 1 Robson 33,412
3 May 1992 Everton H 2 – 4 Ince, Hughes 7,434
8 May 1992 Manchester City A 2 – 1 Bruce (pen.), Toal 4,696

First Division[edit]

Date Opponents H / A Result
F – A
Scorers Attendance League
position
17 August 1991 Notts County H 2 – 0 Hughes 40', Robson 57' 46,278 1st
21 August 1991 Aston Villa A 1 – 0 Bruce 38' (pen.) 39,995 1st
24 August 1991 Everton A 0 – 0 36,085 2nd
28 August 1991 Oldham Athletic H 1 – 0 McClair 85' 42,078 1st
31 August 1991 Leeds United H 1 – 1 Robson 85' 43,778 1st
3 September 1991 Wimbledon A 2 – 1 Blackmore 25', Pallister 43' 13,824 1st
7 September 1991 Norwich City H 3 – 0 Irwin 20', McClair 23', Giggs 28' 44,946 1st
14 September 1991 Southampton A 1 – 0 Hughes 48' 19,264 1st
21 September 1991 Luton Town H 5 – 0 Ince 23', Bruce 63' (pen.), McClair (2) 76', 80', Hughes 87' 46,491 1st
28 September 1991 Tottenham Hotspur A 2 – 1 Hughes 21', Robson 86' 35,087 1st
6 October 1991 Liverpool H 0 – 0 44,997 1st
19 October 1991 Arsenal H 1 – 1 Bruce 44' 46,594 1st
26 October 1991 Sheffield Wednesday A 2 – 3 McClair (2) 17', 22' 38,260 2nd
2 November 1991 Sheffield United H 2 – 0 Hoyland 35' (o.g.), Kanchelskis 78' 42,942 1st
16 November 1991 Manchester City A 0 – 0 38,180 2nd
23 November 1991 West Ham United H 2 – 1 Giggs 15', Robson 42' 47,185 1st
30 November 1991 Crystal Palace A 3 – 1 Webb 26', McClair 57', Kanchelskis 58' 29,017 2nd
7 December 1991 Coventry City H 4 – 0 Bruce 13', Webb 20', McClair 27', Hughes 81' 42,549 2nd
15 December 1991 Chelsea A 3 – 1 Irwin 19', McClair 57', Bruce 61' 23,120 1st
26 December 1991 Oldham Athletic A 6 – 3 Irwin (2) 2', 54', Kanchelskis 43', McClair (2) 56', 59', Giggs 78' 18,947 1st
29 December 1991 Leeds United A 1 – 1 Webb 46' 32,638 1st
1 January 1992 Queens Park Rangers H 1 – 4 McClair 83' 38,554 2nd
11 January 1992 Everton H 1 – 0 Kanchelskis 56' 46,619 1st
18 January 1992 Notts County A 1 – 1 Blackmore 70' (pen.) 21,055 2nd
22 January 1992 Aston Villa H 1 – 0 Hughes 48' 45,022 1st
1 February 1992 Arsenal A 1 – 1 McClair 27' 41,703 2nd
8 February 1992 Sheffield Wednesday H 1 – 1 McClair 12' 47,074 1st
22 February 1992 Crystal Palace H 2 – 0 Hughes (2) 11', 51' 46,347 1st
26 February 1992 Chelsea H 1 – 1 Hughes 87' 44,872 1st
29 February 1992 Coventry City A 0 – 0 23,967 1st
14 March 1992 Sheffield United A 2 – 1 McClair 62', Blackmore 82' 30,183 2nd
18 March 1992 Nottingham Forest A 0 – 1 28,062 2nd
21 March 1992 Wimbledon H 0 – 0 45,428 2nd
28 March 1992 Queens Park Rangers A 0 – 0 22,603 2nd
31 March 1992 Norwich City A 3 – 1 Ince (2) 41', 58', McClair 66' 17,489 1st
7 April 1992 Manchester City H 1 – 1 Giggs 20' 46,781 1st
16 April 1992 Southampton H 1 – 0 Kanchelskis 65' 43,972 1st
18 April 1992 Luton Town A 1 – 1 Sharpe 25' 13,410 1st
20 April 1992 Nottingham Forest H 1 – 2 McClair 36' 47,576 2nd
22 April 1992 West Ham United A 0 – 1 24,197 2nd
26 April 1992 Liverpool A 0 – 2 38,669 2nd
2 May 1992 Tottenham Hotspur H 3 – 1 McClair 37', Hughes (2) 57', 59' 44,595 2nd
Pos Club Pld W D L GF GA GD Pts
1 Leeds United 42 22 16 4 74 37 +37 82
2 Manchester United 42 21 15 6 63 33 +30 78
3 Sheffield Wednesday 42 21 12 9 62 49 +13 75

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
15 January 1992 Round 3 Leeds United A 1 – 0 Hughes 44' 31,819
27 January 1992 Round 4 Southampton A 0 – 0 19,506
5 February 1992 Round 4
Replay
Southampton H 2 – 2 (a.e.t.)
(2 – 4p)
Kanchelskis 42', McClair 90' 33,414

League Cup[edit]

Date Round Opponents H / A Result
F – A
Scorers Attendance
26 September 1991 Round 2
First leg
Cambridge United H 3 – 0 Giggs 44', McClair 48', Bruce 66' 30,934
9 October 1991 Round 2
Second leg
Cambridge United A 1 – 1 McClair 2' 9,248
30 October 1991 Round 3 Portsmouth H 3 – 1 Robins (2) 59', 89', Robson 74' 29,543
4 December 1991 Round 4 Oldham Athletic H 2 – 0 McClair 1', Kanchelskis 25' 38,550
8 January 1992 Round 5 Leeds United A 3 – 1 Blackmore 31', Kanchelskis 51', Giggs 56' 28,886
4 March 1992 Semi-final
First leg
Middlesbrough A 0 – 0 25,572
11 March 1992 Semi-final
Second leg
Middlesbrough H 2 – 1 (a.e.t.) Sharpe 29', Giggs 106' 45,875
12 April 1992 Final Nottingham Forest N 1 – 0 McClair 14' 76,810

Cup Winners' Cup[edit]

Date Round Opponents H / A Result
F – A
Scorers Attendance
18 September 1991 First round
First leg
Athinaikos A 0 – 0 5,400
2 October 1991 First round
Second leg
Athinaikos H 2 – 0 (a.e.t.) Hughes 109', McClair 111' 35,023
23 October 1991 Second round
First leg
Atlético Madrid A 0 – 3 40,000
6 November 1991 Second round
Second leg
Atlético Madrid H 1 – 1 Hughes 4' 39,654

UEFA Super Cup[edit]

Main article: 1991 UEFA Super Cup
Date Opponents H / A Result
F – A
Scorers Attendance
19 November 1991 Red Star Belgrade H 1 – 0 McClair 67' 22,110

Squad statistics[edit]

Pos. Name League FA Cup Rumbelows Cup Europe Other Total
Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals
GK Denmark Peter Schmeichel 40 0 3 0 6 0 3 0 1 0 53 0
GK England Gary Walsh 2 0 0 0 1 0 1 0 0 0 4 0
GK England Ian Wilkinson 0 0 0 0 1 0 0 0 0 0 1 0
DF Wales Clayton Blackmore 19(14) 3 1 0 4(1) 1 1 0 1 0 26(15) 4
DF England Steve Bruce 37 5 1 0 7 1 4 0 1 0 50 6
DF Northern Ireland Mal Donaghy 16(4) 0 2 0 3(1) 0 0 0 0 0 21(5) 0
DF Republic of Ireland Denis Irwin 37(1) 4 3 0 7 0 2 0 1 0 50(1) 4
DF England Lee Martin 0(1) 0 0 0 1 0 1(2) 0 1 0 3(3) 0
DF England Gary Pallister 37(3) 1 3 0 8 0 3(1) 0 1 0 52(4) 1
DF England Paul Parker 24(2) 0 3 0 6 0 2 0 0 0 35(2) 0
MF England Russell Beardsmore 0 0 0 0 0 0 1(2) 0 0 0 1(2) 0
MF Scotland Darren Ferguson 2(2) 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 2(2) 0
MF Wales Ryan Giggs 32(6) 4 2(1) 0 6(2) 3 1 0 0(1) 0 41(10) 7
MF England Paul Ince 31(2) 3 3 0 6(1) 0 3 0 1 0 44(3) 3
MF Commonwealth of Independent States Andrei Kanchelskis 28(6) 5 2 1 4 2 1 0 1 0 36(6) 8
MF England Mike Phelan 14(4) 0 0 0 2(1) 0 4 0 0 0 20(5) 0
MF England Bryan Robson 26(1) 4 2 0 5(1) 1 3 0 0 0 36(2) 5
MF England Lee Sharpe 8(6) 1 0(1) 0 1(3) 1 0 0 0 0 9(10) 2
MF England Neil Webb 29(2) 3 3 0 6 0 3 0 1 0 42(2) 3
FW Wales Mark Hughes 38(1) 11 2(1) 1 6 0 4 2 1 0 51(2) 14
FW Scotland Brian McClair 41(1) 18 3 1 8 4 4 1 1 1 57(1) 25
FW England Mark Robins 1(1) 0 0 0 0(3) 2 2(1) 0 0 0 3(5) 2
FW England Danny Wallace 0 0 0 0 0 0 1(1) 0 0 0 1(1) 0

Transfers[edit]

In[edit]

Date Pos. Name From Fee
6 August 1991 DF England Paul Parker England Queens Park Rangers £1.7m
6 August 1991 GK Denmark Peter Schmeichel Denmark Brøndby £625k

Out[edit]

Date Pos. Name To Fee
5 August 1991 FW Wales Deiniol Graham England Barnsley £50k
6 February 1992 GK Scotland Jim Leighton Scotland Dundee £200k
19 March 1992 DF England Jason Lydiate England Bolton Wanderers Undisclosed
30 June 1992 MF England Mark Gordon Released Free
30 June 1992 MF England Paul Gough Released Free
30 June 1992 FW England Andy Noone Released Free
30 June 1992 MF Malta Paul Sixsmith England Preston North End Undisclosed
30 June 1992 MF Northern Ireland Peter Smyth Released Free
30 June 1992 DF England Leonard Taylor Released Free
30 June 1992 MF England Paul Wratten England Hartlepool United Undisclosed

Loan in[edit]

Date from Date to Position Name From
1 March 1992 1 May 1992 MF England Andy Arnott England Gillingham

Loan out[edit]

Date from Date to Position Name To
12 September 1991 12 December 1991 DF Republic of Ireland Derek Brazil Wales Swansea City
29 November 1991 29 February 1992 GK Scotland Jim Leighton England Reading
19 December 1991 19 January 1992 MF England Russell Beardsmore England Blackburn Rovers
24 December 1991 10 April 1992 DF Republic of Ireland Brian Carey Wales Wrexham
16 January 1992 21 February 1992 DF England Neil Whitworth England Preston North End
21 February 1992 10 April 1992 DF England Neil Whitworth England Barnsley

Events of the season[edit]

Five years after becoming manager of Manchester United, Alex Ferguson finally enjoyed much-awaited success at the club. In 1990, he ended his fourth season in charge with FA Cup glory that ended the club's five-year trophy drought, and followed it up a year later with European Cup Winners' Cup glory. He now prepared his squad for an assault on the league title that had not been United's since 1967, when Matt Busby had been manager and the likes of Bobby Charlton, Denis Law and George Best were in the team.

Ferguson made two major signings in the close season. He boosted his defence with a £1.75 million move for Queens Park Rangers and England right-back Paul Parker, with the previous season's first choice right-back Denis Irwin being switched to left-back – the position that Clayton Blackmore and Lee Martin had spent the last couple of seasons competing for.

With Les Sealey and Mark Bosnich gone, Jim Leighton almost a forgotten man after just one appearance the previous season, and Gary Walsh seemingly not good enough to be first choice goalkeeper, Ferguson paid £500,000 for Brøndby and Denmark goalkeeper Peter Schmeichel. He now had a squad that few if any clubs in the First Division could match. As well as having established stars like Steve Bruce, Gary Pallister, Bryan Robson and Mark Hughes at his disposal, there was plenty of young talent on the way up at Old Trafford. 20-year-old winger Lee Sharpe's impressive displays in 1990–91 had earned him the PFA Young Player of the Year award, and there was much hype surrounding 17-year-old winger Ryan Giggs, who had made his debut the previous season and scored in only his second senior game. When Giggs turned professional the previous November, he was billed as the next George Best, though it still seemed that it would be a while before he would become a first team regular.

On 11 August, Sir Matt Busby, 82-year-old club president and former team manager, earned around £250,000 in gate receipts from his testimonial in which Manchester United drew 1–1 with a Republic of Ireland XI at Old Trafford.

Six days later, Manchester United began their league campaign with a 2–0 home win over newly promoted Notts County in the First Division. By 7 September, they had opened up a four-point lead over Leeds United at the top of the First Division by winning 3–0 against Norwich City at Old Trafford.

Later that month, they began their defence of the European Cup Winners' Cup with a 0–0 draw with Athinaikos in Greece in the first round first leg. There were ugly scenes on the night of the game, leading to five Manchester United supporters receiving £1,500 fines and seven-month prison sentences for their involvement in a Greek bar brawl.

Before the end of September, they began their quest for Football League Cup glory with a 3–0 home win over Cambridge United in the second round first leg.

The following week, they progressed to the next stage of the European Cup Winners' Cup with a 2–0 win over Athinaikos in the first round second leg at Old Trafford, four days before a goalless draw with Liverpool at Old Trafford, in which United's Mark Hughes and Liverpool's Gary Ablett were both sent off.

On 23 October, Manchester United's hopes of retaining the European Cup Winners' Cup received a massive blow when they lost 3–0 to Spanish club Atlético Madrid in the second round first leg.

Before the month had ended, they ensured that their League Cup quest remained alive by beating Portsmouth 3–1 in the third round at Old Trafford. Mark Robins, the striker whose first team chances were becoming increasingly limited due to the strength of the Hughes–McClair partnership, scored twice in the game. By this stage of the season, however, the United player attracting the most attention was Ryan Giggs, still not quite 18 but now United's first choice left winger and the youngest Wales international to date.

On 6 November, United's defence of the European Cup Winners' Cup ended when they could only manage a 1–1 draw at home to Atletico Madrid, meaning that they suffered a 4–1 aggregate defeat. Consolation came from the fact that they remained unbeaten at home in European competitions 35 years after first competing.

There was still European glory for United this season, though with a less significant trophy than before, when on 19 November they clinched the European Super Cup with a 1–0 win over European Cup winners Red Star Belgrade at Old Trafford. The only goal of the game came from Brian McClair.

With Hughes and McClair both now 28 and their long term future as a top striker partnership looking doubtful, rumours began to circulate in early December that Alex Ferguson was going to bring Southampton's 21-year-old striker Alan Shearer to Old Trafford. Newcastle-born Shearer had been the centre of much speculation and hope since scoring a hat-trick on his Football League debut nearly four years ago at the age of 17, and in 1991–92 had established himself as a regular goalscorer.

Boxing Day was a dramatic day for United, who triumphed 6–3 against local rivals and relegation battlers Oldham Athletic at Boundary Park. Denis Irwin and Brian McClair both scored twice, with the other goals coming from Ryan Giggs and Andrei Kanchelskis, helping United maintain their lead at the top of the league. Three days later, they drew 1–1 with their nearest title contenders Leeds United at Elland Road. However, New Year's Day brought one of United's worst home results ever when they were crushed 4–1 at Old Trafford by Queen's Park Rangers, in a game which also brought them their first home defeat of the season.

United's FA Cup quest began on 15 January when they faced Leeds United at Elland Road, with both teams fighting it out to cancel the other out of the Double race. The game ended in a 1–0 win for Manchester United, with Mark Hughes scoring the only goal of the game. 12 days later, United travelled to the south coast to take on Southampton in the FA Cup fourth round. The game ended in a goalless draw, and was replayed the following week at Old Trafford. The replay ended in a 2–2 draw, with Bryan Robson being denied a goal which would have won the game for United. With the scores still level at the end of extra time, the match went to penalties. Penalty misses from Ryan Giggs and Neil Webb ended their hopes of a unique domestic treble and left them with just the league title and League Cup to challenge for.

On the day of the cup exit, United were saddened to hear of the death of Alan Davies, a member of their FA Cup winning squad from nine years earlier, who had committed suicide in South Wales.

The next day, out of favour goalkeeper Jim Leighton headed out of the Old Trafford exit door in a £250,000 move to Dundee, 16 months after making his final United appearance.

At the end of March, by which time United had slowed down in the league and were being pushed hard by Leeds United, defender Gary Pallister was voted PFA Player of the Year, while 18-year-old winger Ryan Giggs was voted PFA Young Player of the Year.

12 April 1992 saw Manchester United win the Football League Cup for the first time in their history with a 1–0 win over Nottingham Forest in the final at Wembley Stadium, in which Brian McClair scored the only goal of the game. It ensured that Peter Schmeichel, Paul Parker, Andrei Kanchelskis and Ryan Giggs gained the first major honours of their English league careers, as well as ensuring United silverware for the third season running.

Eight days later, however, the highest Football League audience of the season saw Manchester United lose 2–1 to Nottingham Forest at home, a result which made winning the title look like an uphill task following a recent downturn in form which saw Leeds United emerge as the stronger side in what had been a two-horse title race for most of the season. However, the team from Yorkshire were a point ahead, and had played a game more. There was still a chance.

That chance came on 22 April, when United travelled to East London to take on an already relegated West Ham United side. They had high hopes for the game, only to lose 1–0, a result that left them needing to beat Liverpool at Anfield four days later to stay in the title race.

On 26 April, United lost 2–0 to Liverpool and the title went to a Leeds United side who defeated Sheffield United 3–2. Ironically, the key player in the West Yorkshire club's title glory was Gordon Strachan, who had been sold to them from Manchester United just three years earlier and on his transfer had spoken of his hope that he would soon be able to get his new club promoted to the top flight when his old club were league champions.

After the season ended, Alex Ferguson began his quest to sign a striker in order to address the lack of goals which had cost United the title. One player high on his wish list was Alan Shearer, who had been linked with a move to the club from Southampton since before Christmas.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Manchester United Season 1991/92". StretfordEnd.co.uk. Retrieved 23 May 2008.