I have handful of copies of 74/75, my book on Manchester United’s infamous season in Division Two, available for purchase.
It’s 45 years since that season – my book was published five years ago, to coincide with the 40th anniversary.
Within living memory, Manchester United have won every major honour available – yet for many supporters of a certain vintage their favourite season of all was spent not battling for top honours but in the second flight of English football. Following a spectacular decline following the break-up of the 1968 European Cup winners, United were relegated in April 1974 and the following season was supposed to be a humiliation for the club. Instead, the reds responded by re-inventing themselves for a new era and attracting a whole new generation of supporters.
As Wayne Barton discovers, the modern day Manchester United was born during their sojourn in the second tier. From training pitch to boardroom and under the guidance of wise-cracking manager Tommy Docherty, the club moved on from a state of post-war stasis and shaped itself for the next quarter century. Without the pressure to maintain a place in the top flight, The Doc helped reinvigorate a club still struggling to come to terms with the modern era.
With contributions from manager Tommy Docherty, captain Martin Buchan and first team regulars Brian Greenhoff, Sammy McIlroy, Lou Macari and Arnie Sidebottom – the author discovers that relegation to the Second Division was not quite the financial or footballing nightmare it could have been. Alongside United in the second tier that season were future European champions Nottingham Forest and Aston Villa. Meanwhile United finished well ahead of all of them, playing in a refreshing style before record crowds – by April 1975 ‘The Doc’ had revived an ailing patient and set it’s pulse racing again and attracted a whole new generation of supporters along the way.
If I can add a personal story to this. This book was meant to be the second I wrote with Brian Greenhoff, after I worked with him on his autobiography. Brian was excited to talk to all of his former team-mates again for the project. He wanted to explain why the year in the second division was special even though it should have represented disaster.
Then, in 2013, Brian passed and for a while I didn’t do anything with the idea, until I thought it would be fitting to do it in his memory.
So many things in my career have been a product of this book. First of all, everyone was eager to help and to be interviewed and Tommy was only to happy to say the book was co-written. The book was received well critically – the Independent gave a glowing review which is featured on the back cover.
And it is this book that serves as the genesis for the series of books I have been writing based on the years from 1968 to 1994.
RRP of the book is £14.95.
The book is available for £11 plus £4 P&P (it is a beautiful hardback and quite heavy!)
Use the text box to include your personalisation or leave it blank for the book to be just signed.
Order here – UK Only. International orders enquire [email protected]