Monday, February 11, 2008

34 year timeline: Derby day defeat in perspective..

United fans will no doubt have been reflecting on what turned out to be a mixed derby day of emotions. Off the pitch, the Reds had asked the City fans to show respect for the victims of the 1958 Munich air crash and on Sunday it really could not have gone much better. The City fans were even applauded by Ferguson following the minute's silence and the United fans also applauded the visitors when they sang the name of Frank Swift in recognition of their former 'keeper who also perished in the crash.

However, on the pitch United were very poor and they deservedly went on to lose by the odd goal in three. After the game Carlos Quieroz pathetically blamed United's collective torpor on International fixtures (no mention of the recent trip to Saudi - for which the Reds netted a "cool £1m" - how much is a derby day win worth to the fans?) No matter, when you have been as soundly beaten as the Reds were, making excuses didn't make the defeat any easier to swallow.

One of the facts that has been trotted out about City's win is that it is nigh on 34 years since they last won at Old Trafford in the league, with fans often talking about Denis Law's goal in the same fixture in April 1974. The theory goes that the Lawman and City sent United crashing out of the old first division into the abyss that was the old second division. In point of fact, even if United had won that derby game, they would STILL have been relegated due to Birmingham (who were also fighting to stay up) winning.

Like many other Reds I have been reflecting on those intervening 34 years, in which a lot has happened, many fans that I know have had got married (some divorced) and had children, some of those who tied the knot are now grandparents.

Here's a brief overview of a few other things that happened in that lengthy spell:

United: Once: 1973-74
City: four times: 1997-98; 1995-96; 1986-87; 1982-83

Number of managers':
United: Four:
Alex Ferguson 06-11-1986 Present
Ron Atkinson 01-06-1981 06-11-1986
Dave Sexton 14-07-1977 01-04-1981
Tommy Docherty 22-12-1972 03-07-1977

City: 19:
Sven-Goran Eriksson 06-07-2007 Present
Stuart Pearce 11-03-2005 14-05-2007
Kevin Keegan 24-05-2001 11-03-2005
Joe Royle 18-02-1998 21-05-2001
Frank Clark 29-12-1996 17-02-1998
Phil Neal 08-11-1996 29-12-1996
Steve Coppell 06-10-1996 08-11-1996
Alan Ball 02-07-1995 27-08-1996
Brian Horton 28-08-1993 16-05-1995
Tony Book 26-08-1993 28-08-1993
Peter Reid 15-11-1990 26-08-1993
Howard Kendall 06-12-1989 05-11-1990
Mel Machin 01-05-1987 30-11-1989
Jimmy Frizzell 01-10-1986 01-05-1987
Billy McNeill 30-06-1983 22-09-1986
John Benson 03-02-1983 07-06-1983
John Bond 01-10-1980 03-02-1983
Malcolm Allison 16-07-1979 01-10-1980
Tony Book 12-04-1974 01-01-1979

Trophies in the cabinet:
United: 30:

Domestic competition
Premier League: (9) 1992-93, 1993-94, 1995-96, 1996-97, 1998-99, 1999-00, 2000-01, 2002-03, 2006-07
FA Cup: (8) 1976-77, 1982-83, 1984-85, 1989-90, 1993-94, 1995-96, 1998-99, 2003-04
League Cup: (2) 1991-92, 2005-06
FA Charity/Community Shield: (7) 1990*, 1993, 1994, 1996, 1997, 2003, 2007

European competition
UEFA Champions League: (1) 1998-1999
UEFA Cup Winners' Cup: (1) 1990-91
Intercontinental Cup: (1) 1999
UEFA Super Cup: (1) 1991-92

City: Three:
League Cup 1976, Old second division 2002; play-off final 1999

Number of players who were born prior to 1974:
United: Three:
Giggs, Scholes, Van der Sar


General facts since 1974
The FIFA World Cup has been won eight times since 1974. The UK has had five different Prime Ministers'. The Space Shuttle program was launched in the intervening years. The Vatican has been led by four different Popes'. The Queen celebrated her silver and gold jubilees'. In 1974 we were still in the middle of the Cold War and mired in desperate conflict in Northern Ireland, fortunately those are things of the past. However, since then we've been involved in conflicts in the Falklands and two Gulf Wars. We also saw the demise of National & International treasures such as Arthur Askey, Benny Hill, Princess Di, Saddam Hussain and Elvis.

All in all United fans haven't had it so bad and many will be hoping that the Reds make it another 34 years until the next home defeat against City.


  1. The harsh reality is that in this league, you are only as good as your last result. Coupled with Arsenal's win tonight, yesterday was a damaging loss. While I still think Arsenal will drop points, enough for United to still win the league, the performance yesterday said a lot. Namely, Giggs is not only past it, he fails to inspire as a captain. Give the armband to Ferdinand. Secondly, Anderson has to start in midfield (a point I think you have made), and it may be that Carrick is a better foil than Scholes. Worse, Hargreaves is looking increasingly out of sorts, as does Nani. Evra's attacking play was sorely missed , as was Rooney's all round game. Great player though he is, Ronaldo is no centre forward - he is far more effective on the wing. United need a convincing win over Arsenal to get back on track. Another home defeat (not out of the question) and we can kiss goodbye to the cup (obviously) and probably the league as well.

  2. I agree with nearly everything in your reply. As I have been saying for some time that Fergie does not know what his best team is. Great player though he is, Scholes return to the starting eleven has seen us drop five out six points. Though, the missing Rooney was the biggest problem against City, as without the former Everton striker we were too easily shut out. But going back to Scholes, I am not convinced Fergie knows what to do about his midfield. I have thought for some time that Hargreaves and Anderson should be starting every game and I haven't changed my mind on that score, the return of Scholes has just complicated matters, though again you are right there are other issues.


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