Manchester United manager Tommy Docherty has revealed that he was as excited as anyone to see the rebirth of his side and ‘couldn’t wait’ until Saturday came around to watch his young charges play.
United were infamously relegated under ‘The Doc’ in 1974 but the Scot was given patience by the Old Trafford and repaid that faith with the creation of a side that set the pulses of supporters running in the 1974/75 season.
Docherty features heavily in a forthcoming book about that year in Division Two, a year where young stars began to find their feet and confidence. Big wins and big followings gave the year a romantic memory and that hasn’t faded for the former United boss. “I used to love a Friday afternoon after training, going out to Mottram Hall and having a bit of dinner, just chilling out and preparing for the next day… I really couldn’t wait for the Saturday. I couldn’t wait to see my team play. They were great to watch,” said Docherty, before adding, “Not just as a manager, as a spectator and a supporter too. I’d rub my hands together and say, “Roll on Saturday!” It really was a marvellous time.”
It was arguably this time 40 years ago – November 1974 – when the seeds Docherty had planted really began to flourish, with a 4-0 win over Oxford United to open the month and a 3-2 win over Sunderland to end it which is still talked about to this day.
To this day, however, the relegation still rankles with Docherty. “Although I will never say I was happy to have taken Manchester United into the Second Division I am aware that a lot of people remember the time fondly. Ask me what my happiest memory of the Division was and I’ll tell you it was getting out of it!” he quipped. “Perhaps, for some supporters of an age able to remember the 1974/75 season, seeing the modern successes of Manchester United and the style in which they have mostly been accomplished has made them remember how we played with the same spirit.”
Docherty’s comments are from the book about the 74/75 season due for release in 2015. He was speaking to Wayne Barton.
Manchester United 3-2 Sunderland November 1974