Video of the Day: Manchester City vs Manchester United, November 1971
Manchester City vs Manchester United has, since the former of those two clubs were suddenly enriched by money from the Middle East, become a fixture which carries a resonance that reverberates through the entire Premier League. This is no longer merely tornado of a local rivalry which only affects those close to its eye. This season, of course, these two clubs are not fighting for the championship itself, as they otherwise have been in recent years. But a place in next year’s Champions League is still at stake, and for all the criticism that has been thrown at Louis Van Gaal this season, as of this weekend United are still in the chase.
As time progresses, however, Manchester United’s post-Ferguson slump is increasingly starting to resemble the decline that the club entered following the retirement of Matt Busby in 1969. Rudderless following the departure of an individual whose role had come to encompass being more than just a “mere” manager, United required more than two decades to reclaim their place at the top the English football tree last time around. It still seems impossible that this will happen again, but frayed edges have started to show over the course of this season, and perhaps the only consolation that United supporters have been able to take from this season is that Manchester City are some way of winning the Premier League themselves, at the time of writing.
In the two seasons following the retirement of Matt Busby, Manchester United finished in eighth place in the First Division. The 1971/72 season began in a more encouraging manner for the club, though, and by the time they made the short journey across town to Maine Road for the first derby match of the season they were top of the table, two points clear of Derby County. Their opponents that day were in third place in the table, three points off the top of the table, and what followed was one of the most entertaining matches of the entire season. Commentary comes from Gerald Sinstadt.
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