Law’s Last League Game

On this day (April 27) 1974 Denis law played his last League game on a day that saw Manchester United relegated. Law was in his second spell at Manchester City and, over the years, many myths have developed about his final game and the weeks that followed.

United fans like to say that this game had no bearing on relegation (though pre match United were not relegated and still had a chance of survival) while City fans like to boast that Law’s goal relegated United (mathematically it did not). Many in the media claim Law’s goal was his last in first team football (it wasn’t) and that he retired immediately afterwards (he didn’t). There are other myths about the pitch invasions (there were two not one) and the actions of the ref, so here for the benefit of subscribers is the true story of that day, including quotes from interviews I have performed over the years. Those quoted are Dennis Tueart, Tommy Docherty, Denis law and Willie Donachie.

So get yourself a brew and enjoy this long read on that infamous day:

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The Sacking of Ron Saunders

On this day (April 11) in 1974, despite bold statements from new Manchester City Chairman Peter Swales at the time of his appointment, manager Ron Saunders was dismissed after less than five months in the role.  In March Saunders’ City had been defeated 2-1 in the League Cup final against Wolves. 

Here for subscribers are Peter Swales’ comments (from an interview I did with him shortly before he died) on the dismissal:

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Decisive Derbies MCFC v MUFC 13 March 1974

Score 0-0, Attendance 51,331 Maine Road

The Old Trafford derby of 1974 is usually quoted as a decisive derby, however the Maine Road match was viewed at the time as being vital to United’s survival.  In fact in the programme Red manager Tommy Docherty claimed:  “Tonight’s game is one which decides our fate.  City’s League Cup defeat is a big anti-climax for them and could help our fight for First Division survival.” Here for subscribers to this site is the story of that game – a highly controversial one that was almost abandoned due to player indiscipline!

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The 1974 League Cup Final – Wolves v Manchester City

The City players lined up to applaud Wolves and congratulated them on their success.  Dave Wagstaffe believed this was well received by his team mates:  “That was great.  Wonderful.  If you looked at our team none of us had ever won anything.  Even Derek Dougan!  I think City were saying ‘Well done’.  We really appreciated that.  It meant a lot and said something about City.  That night we celebrated at a club after the formal dinner and Franny Lee walked in with bottles of champagne.  He gave them to us and said well done.  It was a great gesture and said a lot about him and City at that time.”

Here for subscribers is the story of a final that, from a Manchester City perspective is often forgotten (in the early 2000s a history video of the club neglected to include it at all!):

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If you would like to read this and all the in-depth articles on this site (including the entire Manchester A Football History book and the audio interview with John Bond) then please subscribe. It works out about £1.67 a month if you take out an annual subscription (£20 per year) or £3 a month if you’d like to sign up for a month at a time. Each subscriber gets full access to the 260+ articles posted so far and the hundreds scheduled to be posted in the coming weeks.

On This Day – 1974 Manchester City’s Scintillating League Cup Quarter Final

On this day (16th January) in 1974 Denis Law scored again (after netting in the League game with Leicester four days earlier).

Law’s goal came as Manchester City defeated Coventry City 4-2 in the League Cup quarter-final replay.  That game was notable for lots of reasons, not least because it came in the middle of industrial action resulting in power cuts across the Country.  For this game to go ahead City had to bring in an Electricity generator, which was positioned outside the ground. I remember hearing a loud buzzing noise from the generator as I made my way towards the Platt Lane Stand with my dad and brother.

Like City’s 2-0 victory over Leicester in the League four days earlier, this was another scintillating display by Ron Saunders’ City team. 

Incredibly, City had been losing 2-1 as late as the 79th minute but then Francis Lee ‘exploded on to the scene with two goals in three minutes’ according to one report. One of Lee’s goals was a penalty awarded after a foul on Colin Bell by Willie Carr.

Watch highlights of the game here (watch the celebrations by Law & Lee after the last goal):

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On This Day – Denis Law and Rodney Marsh

On this day (12th January) in 1974 – Denis Law and Rodney Marsh provided the goals as Manchester City defeated Leicester City 2-0 in a thrilling game at Maine Road.  

City were in blistering form for this game and absolutely tore in to Leicester. Only the brilliance of England ‘keeper Peter Shilton kept the score down as the report shows.

Film of the game here:

If you would like to read the in-depth pieces in GJFootballArchive.com then please subscribe below. It works out about £1.67 a month if you take out an annual subscription (£20 per year) or £3 a month if you’d like to sign up for a month at a time. Each subscriber gets full access to the 120+ articles posted so far and the hundreds scheduled to be posted in the coming weeks.

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Read more of content like this when you subscribe today. Search through the categories below to see what has already been published, including several chapters of the groundbreaking Manchester A Football History