1971–72 in English football
The 1971–72 season was the 92nd season of competitive football in England.
Brian Clough, 37, won the first major trophy of his managerial career by guiding Derby County to their first ever league championship. They overcame Leeds United, Liverpool and Manchester City to win a four-horse race, with only a single point separating them. It was so close that when Manchester City won their last game of the season—against Derby—they were top of the league by a point but had no chance of actually being champions, as Derby and Liverpool were still to play each other, and both had a superior goal average.
There were later bribery allegations from The Sun newspaper regarding Leeds manager Don Revie, who stood accused of attempting to bribe Wolverhampton Wanderers on the final day of the season in an attempt to win the league title. Captain Billy Bremner won a high court battle to clear his name of the allegations, with evidence provided by Wolves striker Derek Dougan. Although Leeds failed to win the league, they did win the FA Cup for the first time of their history.
Stoke City finally got their hands on some silverware after a century of trying, by winning the League Cup.
Manchester United started the season well under new manager Frank O'Farrell and topped the league for a while, but then lost seven league games in a row and finished eighth in the final table. Troubled winger George Best was dropped from the team towards the end of the season after failing to turn up for training, the latest controversy to surround the hugely popular Northern Irish star, whose excellent early season form had fuelled United's title hopes.
Nottingham Forest and Huddersfield Town lost their First Division status. By the end of the decade, Forest had made an explosive comeback to the top flight under Brian Clough. 1971–72 was Huddersfield's last season in the top flight to date, and within a few seasons they would be in the Fourth Division – most of their existence since 1972 has been spent in the league's third tier, with seventeen seasons being spent in the second and six in the bottom.
|14||West Ham United||42||12||12||18||47||51||0.922||36|
|16||West Bromwich Albion||42||12||11||19||42||54||0.778||35|
Norwich City won the Second Division and were promoted along with Birmingham City. This marked the first time that Norwich City reached the top flight in their history, less than 70 years after the club was founded. Charlton Athletic and Watford were relegated.
|4||Queens Park Rangers||42||20||14||8||57||28||2.036||54|
|18||Preston North End||42||12||12||18||52||58||0.897||36|
Aston Villa ended their two-year spell in the Third Division by gaining promotion as champions, and by the end of the decade would be firmly re-established as a First Division club. Brighton & Hove Albion followed Villa into the Second Division, but would not reach the heady heights that the midlanders would experience. Mansfield Town, Barnsley, Torquay United and Bradford City were relegated.
|2||Brighton & Hove Albion||46||27||11||8||82||47||1.745||65|
Grimsby Town, Southend United, Brentford and Scunthorpe United were promoted from the Fourth Division. Barrow were voted out of the Football League and replaced by Hereford United, who a short time earlier had achieved a shock FA Cup victory over Newcastle United.
||Qualification or relegation
|1||Grimsby Town (C)||46||28||7||11||88||56||1.571||63||Promoted to the Third Division|
|2||Southend United (P)||46||24||12||10||81||55||1.473||60|
|4||Scunthorpe United (P)||46||22||13||11||56||37||1.514||57|
Rules for classification: 1) points; 2) goal difference; 3) number of goals scored
(C) = Champion; (R) = Relegated; (P) = Promoted; (E) = Eliminated; (O) = Play-off winner; (A) = Advances to a further round.
Only applicable when the season is not finished:
(Q) = Qualified to the phase of tournament indicated; (TQ) = Qualified to tournament, but not yet to the particular phase indicated; (RQ) = Qualified to the relegation tournament indicated; (DQ) = Disqualified from tournament.
1971–72 marked the centenary of the FA Cup. Non-League Hereford United of the Southern League provided one of the shocks of the season by knocking out Newcastle United 2–1 after extra time in the 3rd Round Replay.
The 1972 UEFA Cup Final was the final of the first ever UEFA Cup and was contested by two English teams, Wolverhampton Wanderers and Tottenham Hotspur. Spurs won 2–1 in the first leg at the Molineux on 3 May. The second leg, played on 17 May at White Hart Lane, ended 1–1. The 3–2 aggregate win by Tottenham Hotspur gave them the second European trophy in their history 
Diary of the season
7 June 1971: Rodney Marsh is staying with Queens Park Rangers following the breakdown of talks between Manchester City manager Joe Mercer and Rangers boss Gordon Jago. Mercer refuses to increase his original offer of £140,000.
4 August 1971: Arsenal gain their revenge on Benfica, thrashing them 6-2 at Highbury. The Portuguese attack referee Norman Burtenshaw who in turn reports the entire team to UEFA...Chelsea draw 1-1 with Bruges in Belgium.
7 August 1971: West Bromwich Albion and Colchester United draw 4-4 in the Watney Cup final but the Fourth Division side win on penalties, 18-year-old Phil Bloss scoring from the spot to make sure of the trophy.
8 August 1971: Don Howe is appointed as the new manager of WBA. Arsenal manager Bertie Mee says, "There is no need for me to repeat how highly I rate Don as a coach and how sorry I am to see him leaving Highbury."
13 August 1971: A notice drawing the attention of players to 'bookable' offences will face them as they change before matches this season. The FA have sent copies to all member clubs because they found last season that many players were not aware of the reasons for their bookings.
14 August 1971: The League season opens with double winners Arsenal beating European Cup Winners' Cup holders Chelsea 3-0 at Highbury...Kevin Keegan makes his League debut for Liverpool, scoring their first goal in a 3-1 win over Nottingham Forest at Anfield.
17 August 1971: Norman Hunter is booked as Sheffield United beat Leeds 3-0 at Bramall Lane...'Refs revolution!' is the new slogan. The Football League, in conjunction with the FA, instruct referees to enforce the laws of the game to the letter. Players will be cautioned for technical offences, tactical fouls and deliberate handling while the tackle from behind is outlawed. British football at last falls in line with the continental interpretation of the rules.
18 August 1971: George Best is sent off against Chelsea at Stamford Bridge in a match that Manchester United win 3-2. After the game, Chelsea manager Dave Sexton announces that Peter Osgood is on the transfer list for lack of effort...Trouble at Tottenham - hooligans fire metal staples at three Newcastle players.
21 August 1971: Osgood plays for Chelsea who draw 2-2 with Manchester City at Stamford Bridge...Sheffield United win 1-0 at Everton to move to the top of the First Division...Malcolm Macdonald scores a hat-trick as Newcastle beat Liverpool 3-2 and Ian Bowyer also scores three for Orient in a 4-1 win over Cardiff City...Experts say that the new 'refs code' is the best thing that has happened to football in the last 10 years. After eight days of the new season, the toll is four sent off, 120 booked.
23 August 1971: West Ham United gain their first point of the season in a goalless draw with Ipswich Town at Upton Park...Manchester United beat WBA 3-1 at Stoke - another of their rearranged 'home' matches.
24 August 1971: Sheffield United win 1-0 at Highbury to complete successive wins over the League champions of the past three seasons - Leeds, Everton and Arsenal. It's the Gunners' first home League defeat since January 1970...Chelsea are still without a win, beaten 2-0 at Everton.
25 August 1971: Leeds draw 1-1 with Tottenham at Hull, their second draw from two 'home' games...Three players are booked at St James' Park in a 0-0 draw between Newcastle and Huddersfield Town - Terry Hibbitt (Newcastle), Jimmy Lawson and Frank Worthington (Huddersfield)...Notts County beat Orient 3-1 in a League Cup replay...At a press conference, Crystal Palace chairman Arthur Wait calls for the mass resignation of the Football League management committee and the removal of secretary Alan Hardaker, saying that clubs were not consulted before the League's directive to referees about interpretation of the laws were issued.
28 August 1971: Arsenal lose 1-0 at home to Stoke City - their third successive defeat...West Ham and Chelsea both gain their first wins and Sheffield United still lead the First Division...At Selhurst Park, play is held up for five minutes over a disputed Crystal Palace goal. Steve Kember sportingly admits that the ball had not gone in the net and the match against Nottingham Forest ends 1-1...Bernard Purdie of Chester scores the only hat-trick of the day, getting four goals in a 5-1 home win over Gillingham...40 more players are booked.
31 August 1971: Dave Sexton announces that Peter Osgood has been taken off the transfer list...13 more players are booked including PFA chairman Derek Dougan in Wolverhampton Wanderers' home match against Crystal Palace...Sheffield United move three points clear at the top of the First Division with a 3-1 home win over Huddersfield...Manchester United suffer their first League defeat - 1-0 at Everton...In the League Cup, last season's finalists Aston Villa finally beat Wrexham 4-3 in a first round second replay at the Hawthorns...Bournemouth move to the top of the Third Division with a 1-0 home win over Blackburn Rovers.
1 September 1971: Chelsea sign Chris Garland from Bristol City for £100,000 and gain their first home win of the season, beating WBA 1-0...Leeds beat Newcastle 5-1 at Hillsborough...Another 16 players are booked in League matches and Nigel Edwards of Chester is sent off in a 0-0 draw at Aldershot...Tottenham beat Torino 1-0 in Turin in the first leg of the Anglo-Italian League Cup final, Martin Chivers scoring the goal.
4 September 1971: 50 more players are booked - total for the season is now 292...Sheffield United are still top of the First Division following a 3-2 win at Nottingham Forest...Arsenal beat WBA 1-0 at the Hawthorns...Birmingham City beat Charlton Athletic 4-1 at St Andrew's with three goals from striker Bob Latchford...Notts County top the Third Division, winning 2-1 at Walsall with both goals coming from Tony Hateley....Bristol Rovers hit seven at home to Bradford City, Brian Godfrey scoring a hat-trick.
5 September 1971: The Professional Footballers' Association holds a seven hour management committee meeting in Manchester and demands an 'immediate and urgent' meeting with football's bosses. Chairman Derek Dougan says, "The livelihood of our members has been put in jeopardy. We appreciate that something needed to be done to improve the game - but we are upset and astonished that they did not consult us. We are getting away from common sense and instead finding chaos and confusion. It is imperative that we get around a table and talk - and we must do it as soon as possible."
6 September 1971: Bert Head holds a four hour meeting with his Crystal Palace players and accuses some of not trying - Head adds three reserves to his first team squad for the League Cup tie with Luton Town.
8 September 1971: Holders Tottenham win 1-0 at WBA in the second round of the League Cup...West Ham are held to a 1-1 draw at Upton Park by Cardiff.
11 September 1971: Arsenal beat Leeds 2-0 at Highbury but Sheffield United, who draw 2-2 at home to Tottenham, still lead the First Division. Other Division leaders: Bristol City, Notts County and Grimsby Town...Leicester City gain their first away win of the season - 2-1 at Ipswich...Ted MacDougall scores a hat-trick in Bournemouth's 4-1 home win over Rochdale.
15 September 1971: The Football League announce a 14-strong squad to play the League of Ireland in Dublin on 22 September...An active night in European competitions. In the European Cup, Arsenal win 3-1 in Norway against Strømsgodset. Peter Osgood scores a hat-trick for Chelsea who crush Jeunesse Hautcharage 8-0 in Luxembourg in the Cup Winners' Cup. Liverpool are beaten 2-1 by Servette in Switzerland and Cardiff draw 1-1 with Dynamo (East Berlin) in Germany, conceding the equaliser in the last minute. In the UEFA Cup, Leeds win 2-0 away to Lierse (Belgium), Southampton beat Athletic Bilbao 2-1 at the Dell and Wolves beat Académica (Portugal) at Molineux.
18 September 1971: Sheffield United keep their place at the top of the First Division with a 1-0 win at Leicester, Alan Woodward scoring the only goal of the game direct from a corner in the last minute...George Best scores a hat-trick in Manchester United's 4-2 win over West Ham.
22 September 1971: The Football League beat the League of Ireland 2-1...West Ham win 2-1 at Cardiff in a League Cup replay, Geoff Hurst scoring two late goals...In the second leg of the Anglo-Italian League Cup final, Tottenham beat Torino 2-0 with goals by Chivers and Gilzean and win 3-0 on aggregate...In a match played for permanent possession of the old Fairs Cup, Barcelona beat Leeds 2-1 in the Camp Nou.
25 September 1971: Sheffield United are still top of the First Division with a three-point lead after a 1-0 home win over Chelsea...Crystal Palace, with three new players in the side, beat Everton 2-1 at Selhurst Park.
28 September 1971: Tottenham beat Keflavík 9-0 at White Hart Lane in the second leg of their UEFA Cup tie to win 15-1 on aggregate. Martin Chivers nets a hat-trick...Norwich City open a three-point lead at the top of Division Two, beating Preston North End 2-0 at Deepdale...Carl Gilbert scores all of Rotherham United's goals in their 4-0 defeat of Swansea City. Other hat-trick men include Arthur Bellamy in Burnley's 6-1 thumping of Orient, Bob Latchford for Birmingham against Watford and Bobby Owen for Carlisle United against Charlton.
29 September 1971: Chelsea beat Jeunesse Hautcharage 13-0 in their return Cup Winners' Cup match at Stamford Bridge, winning the tie 21-0 on aggregate to set a new record score for competitive European club matches. Peter Osgood scores five times and Tommy Baldwin also hits a hat-trick. Osgood's goals, eight in the tie, equals the individual scoring record...In the European Cup, Arsenal beat Strømsgodset 4-0 at Highbury to win 7-1 on aggregate...Cardiff draw 1-1 at Ninian Park with Dynamo in the Cup Winners' Cup to make the aggregate score 2-2 but lose 5-4 on penalties. Liverpool beat Servette 2-0 at Anfield to win their tie 3-2...In the UEFA Cup, Derek Dougan hits a hat-trick for Wolves who win 4-1 away to Académica and take the tie 7-1. Two English clubs crash, Leeds sensationally going down 4-0 at Elland Road against Lierse to lose 4-2 and Southampton being beaten 2-0 by Bilbao in Spain (aggregate score 2-3)...The Third Division clash between Notts County and Bournemouth ends all square at 1-1.
2 October 1971: Manchester United beat Sheffield United 2-0 at Old Trafford, the Blades' first defeat of the season, and close the gap at the top of the First Division to a single point...In Division Two, Norwich draw 0-0 at home to QPR while Millwall move into third place with a 2-1 home win over Carlisle...John O'Mara scores a hat-trick for Brentford who beat Northampton Town 6-1 while Alf Wood scores five of Shrewsbury Town's goals in their 7-1 home win over Blackburn.
4 October 1971: Tottenham are fined £200 by an FA Disciplinary Committee after the staple-firing incident at their ground during the match with Newcastle on 18 August.
5 October 1971: In the third round of the League Cup, Bolton produce the shock result of the night, winning 3-0 at home to Manchester City with a hat-trick from 20-year-old Garry Jones...Aston Villa fight back to draw 2-2 at Crystal Palace after being 2-0 down and Sheffield United struggle through 3-2 at home to York City, Alan Woodward scoring the winning goal two minutes from time...Liverpool beat Southampton 1-0 at Anfield with a goal from Steve Heighway.
6 October 1971: Holders Tottenham have a comfortable 4-1 win at Torquay United in the League Cup and Arsenal easily beat Newcastle 4-0 at Highbury...In other ties, Chelsea draw 1-1 at Nottingham Forest, Stoke draw 1-1 at Oxford United, Leeds draw 0-0 at West Ham and Manchester United are held 1-1 by Burnley at Old Trafford...Norwich pay £40,000 for Rochdale striker David Cross and win their tie with Carlisle 4-1 at Carrow Road.
9 October 1971: Sheffield United lose at home for the first time, 3-2 to Stoke, and Manchester United take over as League leaders with a 3-0 win at Huddersfield...WBA win 2-0 at Crystal Palace in a battle at the bottom of the Division with goals from Tony Brown and Bobby Gould.
11 October 1971: League Cup replays - Chelsea beat Nottingham Forest 2-1 and Preston beat Watford 2-1.
13 October 1971: Aston Villa beat Crystal Palace 3-0 in a League Cup replay.
16 October 1971: Manchester United beat Derby County 1-0 at Old Trafford through George Best to stay top of the table. Derby were the last unbeaten side in the First Division...In the Second Division, Norwich beat Luton 3-1 at Carrow Road and Millwall win 3-1 against Bristol City at the Den.
23 October 1971: Manchester United win 1-0 at Newcastle with a George Best goal to extend their lead at the top of the First Division...Derby beat Arsenal 2-1 at the Baseball Ground...In Division Two, leaders Norwich suffer their first League defeat, losing 2-1 at second placed Millwall.
27 October 1971: West Ham beat Liverpool 2-1 in the League Cup but the other three ties are drawn, making a total of six replays necessary. Manchester United draw 1-1 with Stoke at Old Trafford and both Tottenham and Chelsea are held by lower opponents, Preston drawing 1-1 at White Hart Lane and Bolton 1-1 at Stamford Bridge.
30 October 1971: Manchester United lose their unbeaten record at Old Trafford, going down 1-0 to Leeds...Derby maintain their challenge with a 2-0 win at Nottingham Forest.
2 November 1971: In the UEFA Cup, Tottenham beat Nantes (France) 1-0 at White Hart Lane with a goal from Martin Peters and win the tie by the same score...Bristol Rovers beat QPR 1-0 in their replayed League Cup tie.
3 November 1971: European Cup Winners' Cup holders Chelsea are knocked out of the tournament after being held to a 1-1 draw by the Swedish team Åtvidaberg at Stamford Bridge. With the aggregate score 1-1, Chelsea lose on the away goals rule. Liverpool are beaten in the same competition, losing 3-1 to Bayern Munich...In the European Cup, Arsenal beat Grasshoppers 3-0 at Highbury and Wolves beat ADO The Hague 4-0 at Molineux in the UEFA Cup with a goal by Derek Dougan and three own goals...Asa Hartford is transferred from WBA to Leeds for £170,000.
6 November 1971: The Asa Hartford transfer deal is called off when a suspected hole-in-the-heart condition is found during the Leeds medical examination...Manchester City and Manchester United draw 3-3 at Maine Road in a big First Division game...Derby beat Crystal Palace 3-0 to stay in second place...Norwich win 2-1 at Hull to maintain their lead in the Second Division with Millwall, 3-2 winners over Watford, in second place...In the Third Division, Bournemouth and Notts County both win to move five and four points clear of the rest of the field.
8 November 1971: After examination by specialists, Asa Hartford is given the all-clear to restart training with WBA....In League Cup replays, Chelsea win 6-0 at Bolton with Tommy Baldwin scoring a hat-trick, Tottenham win 2-1 at Preston after extra time and Sheffield United beat Arsenal 2-0 but Stoke and Manchester United are deadlocked at 0-0 after extra time.
13 November 1971: Manchester United stay top of the First Division, beating Tottenham 3-1 at Old Trafford.
15 November 1971: In their League Cup second replay, Stoke eventually beat Manchester United 2-1 at the Victoria Ground.
17 November 1971: League Cup quarter-finals: Tottenham have a comfortable 2-0 home win over Blackpool and Chelsea gain an excellent 1-0 victory at Second Division leaders Norwich with a goal by Peter Osgood...At Upton Park, West Ham run riot, beating Sheffield United 5-0 with a hat-trick from Bryan Robson.
20 November 1971: Manchester United, with a 3-2 home win over Leicester, still lead the First Division. Denis Law scores twice for United...Derby, in second place, win 3-0 at home to Sheffield United and Manchester City win 2-0 at West Ham...Arsenal crash 5-1 at Wolves after being 1-0 up at half-time and Everton thrash Southampton 8-0 at Goodison Park, Joe Royle scoring four times and David Johnson collecting a hat-trick...In the FA Cup, Ted MacDougall sets a new scoring record with nine goals in Bournemouth's 11-0 home win over Southern League Margate. Brighton and Hove Albion beat Hillingdon Borough 7-1 while Colchester, last year's shock winners over Leeds, are beaten 4-1 at home by Shrewsbury. Aston Villa lose 1-0 at Southend while non-League clubs to progress include Wigan Athletic, who beat Halifax 2-1, and amateurs Blyth Spartans, who win 1-0 at Crewe Alexandra.
22 November 1971: In FA Cup replays, Port Vale beat Blackburn 3-1, Peterborough United beat Redditch United 6-0, Mansfield beat Chester 4-3 and Swansea win 3-2 at Brentford...In a fourth qualifying round fifth replay, Alvechurch beat Oxford City 1-0 at Villa Park. The two teams had played a total of 11 hours, a new record.
24 November 1971: Bertie Mee drops Charlie George and Sammy Nelson from the Arsenal team to play Tottenham at White Hart Lane. Result: a 1-1 draw...Wolves produce a good result in the UEFA Cup, winning 1-0 in East Germany against Carl Zeiss Jena with a goal from John Richards...Aldershot beat Alvechurch 4-2 in the first round of the FA Cup...Derby beat Newcastle 1-0 at home in the first leg of the Texaco Cup semi-final and Airdrieonians win 3-0 at Ballymena United in the other tie.
27 November 1971: George Best scores a hat-trick for Manchester United who maintain their lead at the top of the First Division with a 5-2 win at Southampton...Manchester City beat Coventry and are in second position...At the top of Division Two, Norwich win 2-0 at home to Middlesbrough but Millwall drop a point in a 0-0 draw at Hull.
4 December 1971: Manchester United move five points clear at the top of the First Division with a 3-2 home win over Nottingham Forest...Derby, with a 3-1 home win over Manchester City, move into joint second place with City and Leeds who have a comfortable 3-0 home win over WBA...Crystal Palace produce the shock result, beating Sheffield United 5-1 at Selhurst Park to pull themselves at last off the bottom of the table...In the Second Division, Eamon Dunphy salvages a point for Millwall, scoring a late goal to give them a 1-1 draw against Burnley at the Den.
8 December 1971: In the UEFA Cup, Tottenham beat Rapid Bucharest 3-0 at White Hart Lane. Goalkeeper Răducanu Necula clowns his way through a tragi-comedy of a match - violence mixed with farce in an uneasy fashion...Wolves beat Carl Zeiss Jena 3-0 (4-0 agg.). With two goals, Derek Dougan breaks Wolves' individual scoring record in European competitions, his eight goals so far in the competition taking him past Peter Broadbent's total of seven...West Ham win 2-1 at Stoke in the first leg of the League Cup semi-final...In the Texaco Cup semi-finals, Derby qualify with a 3-2 win over Newcastle after extra-time, 4-2 on aggregate, to meet Airdrie who beat Ballymena 4-3 (7-3 agg.)
11 December 1971: Manchester United's lead at the top of the First Division is cut to four points by their neighbours City. United draw 1-1 at Stoke but City beat Ipswich 4-0 at Maine Road...Liverpool beat Derby 3-2 at Anfield with a hat-trick from Jack Whitham and Leeds draw 0-0 with Chelsea at Stamford Bridge...Crystal Palace, who win 1-0 at Huddersfield, and Nottingham Forest, who beat Everton 1-0, pull ahead of WBA who are beaten 3-0 at home by Newcastle and are now three points adrift...Division Two leaders Norwich drop a home point to bottom club Watford who equalise 30 seconds from the end through their new £7000 signing from Chester, Pat Morrissey...Millwall lose 4-0 at Preston and QPR close the gap at the top with a 4-1 win at Carlisle, Rodney Marsh scoring twice...In the second round of the FA Cup, non-League clubs to win are Boston United, who beat Hartlepool United 2-1, and Blyth Spartans, who beat Stockport County. Hereford United hold Northampton to a 0-0 draw. Barnet (v Torquay) and South Shields (v Notts County) both take early leads in their matches but lose 4-1 and 3-1 respectively. Bournemouth's Ted MacDougall scores in their 2-0 home win over Southend - his 31st goal of the season.
13 December 1971: Rotherham win 3-2 after extra time at York in their FA Cup replay.
14 December 1971: Tottenham win their UEFA Cup tie against Rapid Bucharest 2-0 in a vicious game in Romania with goals by Jimmy Pearce and Martin Chivers. Pearce, a second-half substitute for Alan Gilzean, is only on the field for 10 minutes, scoring a goal, having another disallowed and then being sent off for retaliation along with Rapid full-back Ion Pop. After the match, Tottenham manager Bill Nicholson says, "If this is European football, we are better out of it. I haven't seen a dirtier game in 30 years."
15 December 1971: Stoke save their League Cup semi-final with West Ham in dramatic style at Upton Park. With only three minutes of extra time remaining, Banks is penalised for bringing down Harry Redknapp but the England 'keeper brilliantly saves Geoff Hurst's penalty to make a third match necessary after a 1-0 win.
18 December 1971: Both Manchester clubs drop points, United at Ipswich (0-0) and City surprisingly at home to Leicester (1-1)...Leeds draw 1-1 at Crystal Palace in a hard-fought game and Derby close the gap with a 2-0 home win over Everton...WBA, adrift at the bottom of the table, lose 2-0 to Don Howe's old club Arsenal at Highbury...In the Second Division, leaders Norwich crash 3-0 at Carlisle to a Stan Bowles hat-trick and Millwall stage a dramatic comeback to draw 3-3 at Sunderland after being 3-1 down with five minutes left...QPR close the gap with a 3-0 home win over Swindon Town.
20 December 1971: Southern League side Hereford earn a third round FA Cup tie at Newcastle by beating Northampton 2-1 after extra time of their second replay, held at the Hawthorns - Hereford's second FA Cup success against Northampton in consecutive seasons.
22 December 1971: After further talks with manager Bertie Mee, Alan Ball signs for Arsenal for £220,000...In the first leg of the League Cup semi-final, Chelsea beat Tottenham 3-2 at Stamford Bridge. Peter Osgood opens the scoring but in the second half Tottenham hit two in three minutes through Terry Naylor and Martin Chivers. Chelsea stage a great comeback, scoring twice in the last 15 minutes through Chris Garland (his first goal for the club) and John Hollins (a penalty after handball by Naylor).
27 December 1971: Manchester United drop a home point in a 2-2 draw with Coventry. Quinton Young and a Tony Dunne own goal shoot Coventry into a 2-0 lead but goals from Law and Steve James in the closing stages give United a point. Five Coventry players not 10 yards from a free kick are booked...Alan Ball makes a quiet debut for Arsenal in a 1-1 draw at Nottingham Forest...Manchester City close the gap at the top of the table to three points with a 3-1 win at Stoke...At Stamford Bridge, Chelsea are forced to play David Webb in goal against Ipswich but still manage to win 2-0. Regular 'keeper Peter Bonetti and deputy John Phillips are out with injury and despite a motorway dash 'A' team goalkeeper Steve Sherwood arrives too late.
31 December 1971: George Best admits, "I'm off form and I'm sick about the way I'm playing"...Derby manager Brian Clough unleashes an attack on his players: "We are not big enough and strong enough to dish it out when it needs to be dished out."
1 January 1972: First goal of the year is scored by Dave Lennard of Blackpool 30 seconds after the kick-off against Watford...Manchester United are well beaten 3-0 at West Ham and Leeds' 2-0 win at Liverpool boosts their hopes...Derby respond to Brian Clough's attack with a 1-0 win at home to Chelsea for whom 18-year-old Steve Sherwood makes his debut in goal...QPR keep up the pressure on the leaders in the Second Division with a 3-1 win over Burnley, Mick Leach scoring twice...Alan Ball's father is quoted as saying, "Alan didn't want to move South but Arsenal guaranteed him £12,500 a year"...Paul Hallows of Bolton is carried off at York with a fractured skull.
5 January 1972: In the League Cup semi-final, Chelsea win their way through to Wembley with a 2-2 draw at Tottenham. Chivers and Peters (penalty) twice put Tottenham ahead but Chris Garland and Alan Hudson, who conceded the penalty, twice equalise. Hudson's goal, direct from a free-kick, was scored only two minutes from time...At Hillsborough, Stoke and West Ham draw 0-0 after extra time and a second replay is fixed for Old Trafford.
7 January 1972: George Best has gone missing! The Irish international star has not reported for training all week and is dropped from Manchester United's team to play Wolves tomorrow. A meeting with Frank O'Farrell is fixed for Monday.
8 January 1972: Manchester United, without George Best, lose 3-1 at home to sixth-placed Wolves who win with goals by Dougan, Richards and Jim McCalliog (penalty). Sammy McIlroy, Best's replacement, scores United's only goal five minutes from time...Manchester City and Leeds both draw and move a point closer, City 1-1 at Tottenham and Leeds surprisingly 2-2 v Ipswich at Elland Road. Ipswich were 2-0 up and Allan Clarke scored a controversial equalising goal seven minutes from time with a swerving shot...At the bottom of the table, Willie Wallace gives Crystal Palace both points at Nottingham Forest while WBA draw 2-2 with Sheffield United at home...In the Second Division, Norwich move five points clear with a 2-1 home win over Fulham, Ken Foggo scoring their winner 20 seconds from time...Millwall and QPR draw 0-0 in a top of the table clash at the Den.
10 January 1972: George Best is interviewed by Frank O'Farrell at Old Trafford. He is ordered to move out of his luxury house and back into digs for the rest of the season. He is also fined two weeks' wages and ordered to train morning and afternoon for the rest of the week to get fit for the Cup tie against Southampton...At an FA Disciplinary Committee hearing, Nottingham Forest's Sammy Chapman, already under six weeks' suspended sentence, is cleared after being sent off after an incident with Mick Jones in a match against Leeds last season. According to secretary Herbert Bird, the Committee decided that "It was a mystery incident which few people saw and the linesman who drew the referee's attention to it told the Committee that it was not a serious foul. The Committee took the view that, although it was a sending-off offence, it was of a trivial nature. More important, they took into account the remarkable improvement in Chapman's conduct on the field since he was put under the suspended sentence on 20 January last year. It's obvious that Chapman has made a big effort and he has now only 10 days to go before he is free of the six weeks' suspended sentence"...Ian Storey-Moore is reported to be unhappy at Nottingham Forest but manager Matt Gillies is still adamant that he stays with the club.
13 January 1972: George Best is recalled for Manchester United's FA Cup clash with Southampton.
15 January 1972: The Third Round of the FA Cup produces few surprises. Cardiff beat Sheffield United at Bramall Lane and Hull win 3-0 at Norwich...Amateurs Blyth Spartans force a replay, drawing 2-2 with Reading, and Bobby Moore is carried off after 10 minutes of West Ham's tie against Luton...John Hughes of Crystal Palace is sent off by referee Tommy Dawes against Everton in a hard game at Selhurst Park which was nearly abandoned due to spectator invasions of the pitch. Five players were booked...Both '71 finalists open with convincing away victories, Arsenal 2-0 at Swindon with Alan Ball scoring his first for the club and Liverpool 3-0 at Oxford.
17 January 1972: Crystal Palace chairman Arthur Wait blames Everton and referee Dawes for last Saturday's scandalous FA Cup tie: "It was a diabolical game and Everton were the culprits. Dawes had a real stinker, at one stage I thought he was going to book the corner flag."
18 January 1972: Wembley plans to stage a special pageant on FA Cup final day to celebrate the centenary of the competition but there will be no community singing...In their Cup replay, Middlesbrough beat Manchester City 1-0.
19 January 1972: In FA Cup replays, Reading beat Blyth Spartans 6-1 and George Best plays brilliantly to steer Manchester United to a 4-1 extra time win over Southampton.
22 January 1972: Chelsea topple Manchester United from the top of the First Division, winning 1-0 at Old Trafford with a goal by Peter Osgood to enable Leeds to take over the leadership...Aston Villa take over as new leaders of the Third Division.
24 January 1972: Southern League Hereford produce the shock of the FA Cup so far, holding Newcastle to a 2-2 draw at St James' Park.
26 January 1972: Stoke reach a Wembley final for the first time in their history, beating West Ham 3-2 in the second replay of the League Cup semi-final at Old Trafford. Goalkeeper Bobby Ferguson is injured in an early collision with Terry Conroy and Bobby Moore takes over in goal. Shortly afterwards, Moore saves a penalty by Mike Bernard but the Stoke player scores from the rebound. West Ham, with ten men, equalise with a deflected shot by Billy Bonds and, after Ferguson's return, take the lead through Trevor Brooking. Minutes before half-time, Stoke get back on terms through Peter Dobing. In the second half, Conroy scores quickly to put Stoke back in front. After the match, Hammers manager Ron Greenwood says that Bobby Ferguson was so badly concussed in the collision with Terry Conroy that he "has no recollection whatsoever of the tie. He doesn't know even now where he is." Greenwood then blasts Stoke by saying, "Their attitude towards my injured goalkeeper in the second half was not what I would call good sportsmanship." Stoke manager Tony Waddington says, "After this, Wembley could be something of an anticlimax. It's a shame either side had to lose such a game. It was out of this world"...Hereford's FA Cup tie with Newcastle is postponed due to a waterlogged pitch - the third time that the tie has been called off...In the first leg of the Texaco Cup final, Derby draw 0-0 at Airdrie.
27 January 1972: Aston Villa announce that they will be playing Santos of Brazil at Villa Park on 21 February. Pelé is contracted to play subject to injury. The Brazilian side are also due to play Sheffield Wednesday
29 January 1972: Manchester City move two points clear at the top of the First Division, beating Wolves 5-2 at Maine Road, Francis Lee scoring a hat-trick...Leeds lose 1-0 at Tottenham to a Martin Chivers goal after a defensive blunder...Derby beat Coventry at the Baseball Ground with a goal from John Robson in the first minute of the second half and stay in third place, while Manchester United's poor run continues at WBA. After taking an early lead through Brian Kidd, United are forced back by sustained Albion pressure. Bobby Gould scores the equaliser and their winner comes from the recalled Jeff Astle...The bottom two places in the Division are filled by Nottingham Forest, who lose 4-1 at Southampton, and Crystal Palace, who go down by the same score at Liverpool. Chris Lawler scores twice to reach 50 goals for the club - none from penalties...Charlie George returns to the Arsenal side and scores twice in their 5-0 win at Sheffield United...In the Second Division, Norwich slip, losing 1-0 at Burnley, and Millwall move into second place with a 1-0 home win over Middlesbrough. QPR are held to a 1-1 draw at Luton and Birmingham move into fourth place with a 4-1 home win over Swindon...Watford lose 4-0 at Hull and look doomed to relegation, now five points adrift of Cardiff who also lose, 4-3 at home to Blackpool...In Division Three, Notts County beat Blackburn 1-0 at home and Bournemouth draw 1-1 at Port Vale...Brentford slip to second in the Fourth Division, losing 2-0 at home to Reading, Scunthorpe taking over the leadership.
31 January 1972: Hereford's FA Cup tie with Newcastle is postponed yet again because of a frozen pitch.
2 February 1972: The FA circularises clubs asking them to bring forward the kick-off time of their Cup ties to avoid possible power cuts.
3 February 1972: QPR will advertise on Thames TV. A still picture of Rodney Marsh will be flashed on the screen with a voiceover annoucing the friendly against WBA on Friday...Several Cup ties will kick off at 2:30 next Saturday.
5 February 1972: FA Cup sensation: non-League Hereford knock out Newcastle 2-1 in extra time. Other surprises - Orient win at Leicester and Hull triumph at Coventry...Holders Arsenal squeeze through with a narrow 2-1 win at Reading...Chelsea have a good day. The team beat Bolton 3-0, Dave Sexton is selected as the Manager of the Month and David Webb is the Evening Standard's Player of the Month...Ipswich lose 1-0 at Birmingham but their manager Bobby Robson says, "Diabolical refereeing cost us the game."
8 February 1972: Forged vouchers are discovered at Hereford where there is an unprecedented interest in the home FA Cup tie v West Ham...Middlesbrough beat Millwall 2-1 in a Cup replay - Nobby Stiles will be going back to Old Trafford to face his former club in the next round...Charlton's biggest crowd of the season - 16,000 - turn up for Keith Peacock's benefit match. The score - Charlton 2 Chelsea 4...Result of another friendly - Sheffield United 1 Dynamo Kiev 2.
10 February 1972: Ron Greenwood: "We are lucky to be still in the Cup and the replay on Monday has yet to be won."
12 February 1972: Two Charlie George goals give Arsenal the points against Derby. Now the Gunners are only four points behind leaders Manchester City who draw at Sheffield United. Trevor Hockey is taken to hospital with a cracked leg after 40 minutes play...48,110 people, the highest Third Division gate in the history of the League, attend the Aston Villa v Bournemouth promotion clash.
14 February 1972: West Ham end Hereford's heroic run in the FA Cup with a 3-1 win at Upton Park in the fourth round replay with Geoff Hurst scoring a hat-trick. Despite the afternoon kick-off, the attendance is 42,271 - only 500 less than the ground record. An Australian millionaire wishes to buy Hereford and import them lock, stock and barrel to Sydney...Sunderland and Cardiff finish 1-1 after extra time and the teams will meet again on Wednesday.
15 February 1972: Both Fulham and Aston Villa have hired special generators to ensure an evening kick-off against Benfica and Santos respectively. These friendlies will bring superstars Eusebio and Pelé to England.
16 February 1972: Cardiff beat Sunderland 3-1 in a Cup replay and will face Leeds in the next round.
17 February 1972: Several midweek League games are off because of power cuts.
19 February 1972: John Dempsey criticises Dave Sexton for leaving him out of the Chelsea team. The Blues beat Leicester 2-1 with two Osgood goals...Leeds, playing brilliantly, thrash Manchester United 5-1 - Mick Jones contributes a hat-trick...George gets the winner for Arsenal at Ipswich - 1-0...Manchester City are still on top following a narrow win over Huddersfield.
21 February 1972: Aston Villa beat Santos 2-1 in a friendly. 54,437 turn up to see Pelé in action.
23 February 1972: Fulham buy Burnley goalkeeper Peter Mellor for £25,000. They also try to borrow Pelé from Santos for their match against Benfica next Tuesday. The Brazilian team beat Sheffield Wednesday 2-0 in a friendly at Hillsborough.
26 February 1972: Orient are the heroes of the fifth round of the FA Cup. They beat Chelsea 3-2 after being two goals down. The winner is scored by Barrie Fairbrother in the 89th minute. After the goal, Chelsea supporters invade the pitch trying for an abandonment but police force them back behind the touchline...Tottenham win at Everton and Leeds at Cardiff...Stiles returns to Old Trafford as the skipper of Middlesbrough and the match is a goalless draw...Liverpool beat Manchester City 3-0 in a First Division match and the title is wide open. "Any one from eight", says Don Revie.
29 February 1972: Ticket touts make a killing at Highbury, collecting £20 for £1 seats. The score: Arsenal 0 Derby 0 after extra time...Manchester United beat Middlesbrough 3-0 away and will meet Stoke in the quarter-final...Fulham open their new £200,000 stand and beat Benfica 3-2 in a friendly.
1 March 1972: Arsenal institute a full investigation to find out why a crush barrier collapsed and injured 50 people at Highbury during the Cup replay...Manchester City go four points clear after beating WBA 2-1 with goals by Colin Bell.
2 March 1972: Nottingham Forest officially announce that Ian Storey-Moore is for sale.
3 March 1972: Derby announce that they have signed Ian Storey-Moore for a record transfer fee.
4 March 1972: Confusion over the Storey-Moore transfer deal. While Brian Clough introduces him to the crowd at the Baseball Ground, Nottingham Forest are adamant that Storey-Moore is still a Forest player and Manchester United manager O'Farrell is confident of landing him...Stoke win the League Cup at Wembley, beating Chelsea 2-1 (Conroy, George Eastham - Osgood), their first major honour in 109 years of competitive football...Six players are booked at Manchester where City beat Arsenal 2-0...Liverpool win the Merseyside derby against Everton 4-0 with two own goals. Lawler and Emlyn Hughes are the other scorers...Birmingham beat Norwich 4-0 and the Second Division promotion race is wide open.
6 March 1972: Ian Storey-Moore signs for Manchester United after a great deal of contradictory statements from the three clubs involved. The fee: £200,000...Fulham try to sign Alan Mullery from Spurs but the ex-Fulham man is not for sale.
8 March 1972: A rush of signings before the transfer deadline. Manchester City land the biggest fish - Malcolm Allison signs Rodney Marsh (QPR) for an estimated fee of £200,000. WBA pay £55,000 for Alistair Brown (Leicester) and Paul Gilchrist of Doncaster Rovers goes to Southampton - the fee £30,000. Other transfers: Dennis Booth (Blackpool) for £7000 and Peter Woods (Luton) for £3000, both to Southend, and Sam Ferris (Albion Rovers) to Chesterfield for £5000...Arsenal lose 2-1 v Ajax in Amsterdam in the European Cup.
9 March 1972: Last day of the transfer deadline - Aston Villa pay £75,000 for Chris Nicholl (Luton), Bobby Graham goes to Coventry from Liverpool for £70,000, Luton sign John Faulkner from Leeds, Frank Saul joins Milwall from QPR, Brighton splash out £25,000 for Ken Beamish of Tranmere, Alan Mullery returns to his old club Fulham on loan and Bryan Conlon leaves Blackburn for Cambridge United. Ian Moir (Wrexham) signs for Shrewsbury for £10,000, Len Hill (Swansea) goes to Newport County for £2500, Billy Yeats (Newcastle) to York and Brian Mahoney (Huddersfield) to Barnsley for an undisclosed fee. Cardiff chairman Fred Dewey attacks the loan system, saying the Alan Mullery deal was an 'old pals act' between London clubs...Mee reveals that three Arsenal players were doubtful hours before the kick-off against Ajax. He is happy with the result and optimistic about the outcome of the tie.
11 March 1972: Jack Charlton makes his 600th League appearance for Leeds. Before the match against Coventry, he is given presents by teammates and management and in the 12th minute he scores the only goal...Ian Storey-Moore opens his account for Manchester United - the 2-0 win against Huddersfield is their first in the League since 4 December...Derby win at Tottenham with an Alan Hinton penalty and Manchester City get two points at Everton. The League race now seems to rest between the top three teams - City, Leeds and Derby...All the promotion candidates draw in Division Two - Millwall and Norwich are still in front.
13 March 1972: Arsenal beat Derby 1-0 in a fifth round second replay at Leicester with a goal scored by Ray Kennedy...The Football League decide to discuss the Ian Storey-Moore transfer...Ian St John resigns his job as assistant manager of Coventry although his playing contract still binds him to the club. Coach Tony Waiters also leaves as a gesture of protest against Cantwell's sacking.
15 March 1972: Tony Currie of Sheffield United scores two goals at Middlesbrough in the Football League's 3-2 win over the Scottish Football League...Brighton lose at home to Oldham Athletic and fall back in the Third Division promotion race.
16 March 1972: The Football League lodges a strong complaint to the BBC about the extra lights they put up at Middlesbrough to make colour transmission possible. "In future, they have to put up their lights above the existing pylons or stick to black and white," says Alan Hardaker. Sir Alf Ramsey also blames the lights for a "bad goal" conceded by the Football League.
18 March 1972: Arsenal beat Orient 1-0 in the FA Cup quarter-final. Leeds and Birmingham also reach the semi-finals...In the League, Manchester City stretch their lead to five points with a 1-0 win over Chelsea...Nottingham Forest seem doomed after their 4-2 defeat at Upton Park...Terry Paine of Southampton is sent off at Ipswich.
21 March 1972: Tottenham draw 1-1 with UTA Arad and go into the semi-finals of the UEFA Cup.
22 March 1972: Ajax beat Arsenal 1-0 at Highbury and the holders are in the European Cup semi-finals with Celtic, Benfica and Inter Milan...Wolves beat Juventus to reach the semi-finals of the UEFA Cup.
25 March 1972: Good day for Leeds. While they beat Arsenal 3-0 at Elland Road, both of their chief rivals in the title race (Manchester City and Derby) collect only one point each in away fixtures...Norwich and Millwall are still leading the promotion race in Division Two and Brighton close the gap in Division Three by beating Aston Villa.
27 March 1972: Leeds beat Nottingham Forest 6-1 and are now only two points behind leaders Manchester City.
28 March 1972: Sheffield Wednesday have to call in a Sunday League goalkeeper, Trevor Pearson, to face Fulham - both regular 'keepers Peter Springett and Peter Grummitt are injured...Peter Marinello scores his first League goal of the season in Arsenal's 1-0 win over Southampton.
31 March 1972: Good Friday match at Upton Park: West Ham 2 Leeds 2. Eddie Gray scores twice to equalise first half goals by Bonds and Hurst...Birmingham continue to climb the Second Division table by beating Oxford 1-0.
1 April 1972: Derby beat Leeds 2–0 and go top of the First Division as Manchester City lose at home to Stoke...Promotion candidates Millwall lose at Fulham...Bournemouth draw with Brighton in a vital Third Division promotion clash.
3 April 1972: Derby unexpectedly lose 1-0 at home to Newcastle...Norwich draw with QPR at Loftus Road...Liverpool triumph 3-0 at Old Trafford and are back in the championship race...Blackpool's Dave Hatton and the Middlesbrough forward Johnny Vincent are sent off after a punch-up. The two players resume their fighting in the dressing room tunnel and have to be separated by members of the ground staff.
4 April 1972: Tottenham cancel Alan Mullery's loan period to Fulham and dramatically recall him for the UEFA Cup semi-final v Milan. The Italians' manager Nereo Rocco lodges a protest to the Organising Committee...Southampton beat Manchester City 2-0, a vitally important result at both ends of the table.
5 April 1972: Wolves collect a draw at Ferencváros and Spurs narrowly beat Milan in the UEFA Cup. Riccardo Sogliano was sent off in this match for dissent by referee Mariano Medina Iglesias...Derby are still top of the League after a goalless draw at West Bromwich but Leeds beat Huddersfield 3-1 and are the latest favourites to win the title.
8 April 1972: 'Paper form' day in the First Division. All four championship contenders win and all the relegation candidates lose...Leeds full-back Terry Cooper breaks his left leg at Stoke minutes before the final whistle.
10 April 1972: Stoke field nine reserves in a league match v Nottingham Forest and lose at home 2-0. Alan Hardaker says that the teamsheet will be examined and there might be an enquiry.
12 April 1972: Rodney Marsh is dropped for no less than three games by Manchester City because, according to manager Allison, the ex-QPR man is not fully fit for top class football. City beat local rivals United 3-1 - Francis Lee establishes a new post-war club scoring record and is now on 32.
15 April 1972: Football history repeats itself - the Arsenal v Stoke FA Cup semi-final ends in a draw exactly like last season. Goalkeeper Bob Wilson is taken off with a torn cartilage 17 minutes from the end, John Radford taking over in goal. Wilson is out for the rest of the season, and so is Peter Osgood who is injured against Tottenham...Leeds win the other semi-final 3-0 and will go to Wembley for the second time in three seasons.
17 April 1972: Gordon Banks is elected 'Player of the Year' by the members of the Football Writers' Association...Ernie Machin of Coventry sues the FA for damages relating to a three-week suspension earlier in the season. The FA are contesting this test case.
19 April 1972: Arsenal beat Stoke 2-1 in the FA Cup replay and go to Wembley as holders of the trophy...There will be an all-English final in the UEFA Cup - Tottenham and Wolves manage to knock out Milan and Ferencvaros...Leeds are beaten at Newcastle and Derby are the bookmakers' latest favourites for the title.
22 April 1972: Manchester City beat Derby 2-0 in their last league match of the season but with only 57 points cannot win the title...Huddersfield lose at home and are certain to be relegated into Division Two...Grimsby are the first club definitely promoted from the Fourth Division.
24 April 1972: The Football League orders Leeds and Arsenal to play matches on the preceding and following Mondays of the Cup final. Both managers, Mee and Revie, protest although the latter declares himself "speechless"...Norwich win 2-1 at Orient and are promoted to the First Division for the first time in their 67 years' history...Both Aston Villa and Brentford are certain to be promoted to Divisions Two and Three respectively.
25 April 1972: Tonight's results mean almost certain relegation for Nottingham Forest and definite promotion for Southend.
26 April 1972: Crystal Palace beat Stoke 2-0 and ensure their First Division future. Nottingham Forest and Huddersfield are relegated - the latter after only two seasons back in the top flight...Lincoln City's goalless draw with bottom of the table Crewe means that Scunthorpe are now certain to join Brentford, Southend and Grimsby in promotion to Division Three...Bournemouth falter in their bid for a place in the Second Division while both Brighton and Notts County win their matches...Derby win the Texaco Cup by beating Airdrieonians 2-1 on aggregate in the final.
27 April 1972: Frank O'Farrell denies rumours concerning the possible transfer of George Best to a London club. Both Arsenal and Tottenham are mentioned as likely buyers but Spurs' assistant manager Eddie Baily says, "It's a load of rubbish".
28 April 1972: George Best himself denies the possibility of parting with Manchester United.
29 April 1972: After 37 years in the top two divisions, Charlton are relegated to the Third...Both Millwall and Birmingham win - the promotion issue now depends on the result of next Tuesday's Orient v Birmingham match...Ted MacDougall scores for Bournemouth and is the League's joint leading scorer for the season with 35 goals. Alf Wood of Shrewsbury is also credited with another goal to take him to 35.
1 May 1972: Leeds beat Chelsea 2–0 and need only one more point to make sure of the League championship. Their last game against Wolves is scheduled for the Monday after the Cup final...Derby beat Liverpool with a John McGovern goal and are top of the table.
2 May 1972: Alan Jarvis of Mansfield will be in hospital for a considerable time due to a serious eye injury sustained in last night's match against Wrexham...Geoff Hurst and George Best both score in Uwe Seeler's benefit match at Hamburg. The European Selection win 7-3......Birmingham win 1-0 at Orient and are promoted to Division One. Latchford scores the winning goal in a match played in front of over 33,000 people. During the incident-packed evening, supporters of promotion rivals Millwall invade the pitch hoping for an abandonment. At the end, a stand has to be evacuated due to a bomb scare and fights break out between Birmingham and Millwall fans.
3 May 1972: The scandalous Orient v Birmingham match is described as 'a night of madness' in the papers and Orient chairman Arthur Page comments, "It's a great pity when the game descends to this sort of thing"...Brighton make sure of promotion with a 1-1 home draw against Rochdale...Southend clinch second place in Division Four...QPR win the Evening Standard five-a-side trophy by beating Southampton 3-2 after extra time in the final...The first leg of an all-England UEFA Cup final is played at Molineux. Tottenham win 2-1 with two excellent goals scored by Martin Chivers. McCalliog is the Wolves scorer but man of the match Pat Jennings prevents the home team from equalising with several stunning saves.
4 May 1972: Gordon Banks is presented with the Footballer of the Year trophy at a dinner held by the Football Writers' Association...Bournemouth goal king Ted MacDougall states that he has no intention of signing for a First Division team and will stay with his present club for the full term of his new contract.
6 May 1972: Leeds United win the centenary Cup final with an Allan Clarke goal scored in the 53rd minute. Shortly after the match, the team leaves for Wolverhampton to prepare for the decisive League match. Mick Jones dislocates his elbow in the last minute of the game and is taken off on a stretcher after collecting his medal from the Queen.
8 May 1972: A fantastic night of League football. Leeds lose 2-1 at Wolves and Liverpool draw 0-0 at Highbury. Derby are the champions for the first time in their history with 58 points followed by three clubs on 57. Bill Shankly claims that John Toshack was not offside when he scored two minutes from the end and Don Revie says that his his team should have had two penalties for handling offences.
11 May 1972: Tottenham beat Arsenal 2–0 at Highbury in the last Division One match of the season.
17 May 1972: Tottenham beat Wolves in the UEFA Cup on a 3-2 aggregate and become the first English club to win two different European trophies. Mullery puts Spurs in front at White Hart Lane and Dave Wagstaffe equalises from a long-range shot - 1-1.
20 May 1972: George Best announces his retirement from football at the age of 26. He says that he is a physical and mental wreck and has been drinking too much during the last four months.
24 May 1972: George Best says that he might take up football again for a London club.
27 May 1972: Arsenal will spend £100,000 on ground improvement during the close season. All safety barriers will be reinforced...Both Derby and Leeds decline to play in the traditional Charity Shield match next season.
2 June 1972: FA Cup giantkillers Hereford are elected to the Fourth Division at the annual meeting of the Football League in London. They replace Barrow who fail in a second ballot after the two clubs tie on the first count with 26 votes each. In the second ballot, Hereford gain 29 to Barrow's 20. Northampton (49 votes), Crewe (46) and Stockport are re-elected. Hereford's player manager Colin Addison, who will miss the start of the season through suspension, promises a "determined and dedicated effort from all at Edgar Street to put us on the map in League football." With a catchment area of 200,000, gates of 6000 and a profit made on the season of £16,500, Hereford have a good basis for success.
5 June 1972: Chelsea announce a £5½ million facelift for Stamford Bridge. The conversion into a super-stadium will take eight years and work on the project will start immediately. The seating capacity of the ground will be smaller in the 1972-73 season due to the alterations.
12 June 1972: Joe Mercer is demoted at Manchester City. In future, Malcolm Allison will take full control on all footballing matters.
24 June 1972: AS Roma beat Blackpool 3-1 in the Anglo-Italian Cup final, becoming the first Italian club to win this tournament.
- Gordon Banks was voted FWA Footballer of the Year by the FWA to add to his League Cup winners medal.
- Norman Hunter and Billy Bremner helped Leeds win the FA Cup.
- Roy McFarland and Colin Todd helped Derby win the league championship.
- Brian Clough guided Derby to their first-ever league championship triumph.
- Don Revie helped Leeds lift the FA Cup for the first time.
- Tony Waddington ended Stoke City's trophyless history by winning the League Cup.
England were eliminated from the 1972 European Championships in the quarter-finals after losing 3–1 on aggregate over two legs (1–3 at Wembley and 0–0 in West Berlin) to West Germany, who went on to win the tournament.
|First Division||Derby County (1)||Leeds United|
|Second Division||Norwich City||Birmingham City|
|Third Division||Aston Villa||Brighton & Hove Albion|
|Fourth Division||Grimsby Town||Southend United|
|FA Cup||Leeds United (1)||Arsenal|
|League Cup||Stoke City (1)||Chelsea|
|Charity Shield||Leicester City||Liverpool|
|Home Championship||Shared by England and Scotland|
Notes = Number in parentheses is the times that club has won that honour. * indicates new record for competition
- "FA Cup Final 1972". Fa-cupfinals.co.uk. Archived from the original on 8 June 2008. Retrieved 2011-04-09.
- "1972 UEFA Cup Final". Spurs Memorabilia. Retrieved 2011-04-09.
- Rothmans Football Yearbook 1972-73. London N1: Queen Anne Press. ISBN 0362001073.
- Rothmans Football Yearbook 1973-74. London N1: Queen Anne Press. ISBN 0362001421.