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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80 Years Ago Today The Bombing of Old Trafford

On  this day (11th March) in 1941 Old Trafford was hit by bombs dropped by the German Luftwaffe.  The highly industrialised Trafford Park had been the target and by daybreak the news of damage to Old Trafford was circulating around Manchester, although the Manchester Guardian and other newspapers did not mention the ground by name.  Due to the wartime situation the newspaper did not want to give away too much information and reported:  “Slight damage was done to dwelling-houses in one or two working class districts and slight outbreaks of fire were reported from a football ground and a training institute.”

The ‘slight damage’ saw a bomb hit United’s Main Stand.  The stand was almost completely wrecked, while the pitch was scorched by the blast.  Manchester City contacted United and offered the use of Maine Road immediately and the first home United match to be staged at City’s ground was the 5th April meeting with Blackpool in the North Regional League.  The Seasiders’ won 3-2 before a crowd of around 2,000. 

Further wartime matches followed over the course of the next four years with United paying the Blues an annual rent of £5,000 plus a share of the gate receipts.  Initially City were to use United’s training ground, The Cliff, for reserve fixtures, but both sides also used Old Trafford at times.

After the war United were granted £4,800 to help cover the costs of tidying up the venue, and then a further £17,478 was given to help rebuild the Main Stand and damaged terracing.  This allowed the redevelopment of Old Trafford to commence and between 1945 and 1949 the Main Stand was rebuilt as was the terracing at the Popular Side (United Road).

This was a brief section from Manchester A Football History. The entire book (including images) is now free to download for subscribers to this site. See: https://gjfootballarchive.com/category/manchester-a-football-history/page/4/ or subscribe below.

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On This Day 1963: The 1st FA Cup Tie

On this day (6th March) in 1963, due to an exceptionally snowy winter, both Manchester City’s and Manchester United’s first appearances in the FA Cup that season occurred. The games had been delayed until this date due to the poor weather.  

For the record, the Blues won away at Walsall 1-0 in the 3rd round (Alex Harley scored).  7 days later they beat Bury (1-0 at Maine Road, 41,575 crowd) in the 4th round and then lose to Norwich (2-1 at Maine Road on 16th March) in round 5.

The Reds defeated Huddersfield 5-0 at Old Trafford (Law 3, Giles & Quixall) before 47,703. They also defeated Aston Villa (1-0 on 11th March at Old Trafford), Chelsea (2-1 on 16th March at Old Trafford), Coventry (3-1 on 30th March), Southampton (1-0 at Villa Park on 27th April) and Leicester City 3-1 in the final at Wembley on 25th May.

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This was a brief sample of the site. If you would like to read the in-depth articles (including the entire Manchester A Football History book and listen to a frank interview from 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.

Goater’s 9 Second Goal

After defeating Manchester United in the November derby (the last at Maine Road), Manchester City were hopeful of success in the return derby at Old Trafford. The game, played on this day (9th February) in 2003, went down in history for a remarkable appearance by substitute Shaun Goater.

The story of this game was written up a couple of years ago for an update of my 1991 book The Pride Of Manchester (co-written with Steve Cawley). Sadly, that book was never updated, though Steve and I put considerable effort into creating all the content. 

Here, exclusively for subscribers, is the story of that game as drafted to appear in the updated but aborted Pride Of Manchester.  

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On This Day – A FA Cup Manchester Derby (Story And Film)

On this day (24th January) in 1970 Manchester City and Manchester United met for the fourth of five meetings that season. This game was in the FA Cup and the following article tells the story of that game and includes highlights of the match.

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Match Fixing – Manchester United v Liverpool: A Long Read

Liverpool and Manchester United meet this weekend (17th January 2021) in the Premier League. It’s a game that throughout the modern era has been played between two major clubs, hoping for success. This has not always been the case of course and in 1914-15 a notorious game between the two teams was deemed to be fixed.

Why and how has been debated for years but here, for the benefit of subscribers to http://www.GJFootballArchive.com I spell out the full story of the game and the investigations that followed. Some of what follows is astounding, but it’s all factually correct and based on contemporary material and detailed research.

The following article contains over 4,000 words plus a photograph from the game.

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