Video of the Day: Ipswich Town vs Manchester United, March 1980
Manchester United travel to Shropshire this evening to play Shrewsbury Town in the Fifth Round of the FA Cup with a now familiar cloud hanging over Old Trafford. Last Thursday’s defeat in Denmark in the Europa League has turned up the tension between the supporters and the playing staff of the club just that little bit more, and a trip to the modest surroundings of a League One club which should make for a comfortable evening’s work now feels as if it may not be completely straightforward after all.
Manchester United have had fallow periods before, of course, with the most recognisable being the twenty-six years that the club went without a league title between 1967 and 1993. Perhaps the closest that United came to the league title in this period, however, came in 1980, when they went into their last game of the season against Leeds United knowing that if they got a better result than Liverpool, they would be the champions. They didn’t and the title went to Anfield, and there is a tendency under such circumstances to look back on the what might have beens of that particular season.
In amongst these is this trip to Portman Road from the first of March 1980. United were in second place in the table. Liverpool had held two games in hand over them but had travelled to Wolves on the previous Tuesday and lost, and that day had a tricky looking trip to Goodison Park to play Everton. Manchester United were also away that day, in Suffolk against third placed Ipswich Town, who were unbeaten since the start of December. If they could just see off Ipswich and Liverpool failed to win, they would be top of the table. Even against the division’s form team, though, this was to be a surprisingly tough afternoon for Dave Sexton’s team. Commentary is from Anglia Television’s Gerry Harrison.
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