Video of the Day: Tottenham Hotspur vs Manchester United, March 1979
The mid-to-late 1970s were a traumatic period in some ways for both Manchester United and Tottenham Hotspur. Both clubs seemed to suffer after emerging from the shadow of a giant of a manager – Matt Busby in the case of Manchester United and Bill Nicholson in the case of Tottenham Hostpur. Both had been relegated and bounced straight back – United in 1974 and Spurs three years later, and by the spring of 1979 both clubs were both back in the top flight and trying to figure out a way of stopping the recent domestic dominance of Liverpool in a way that Nottingham Forest had the season before.
Against such a relatively turbulent previous few seasons, the television cameras of London Weekend Television pitched up at White Hart Lane for an FA Cup quarter-final between the two clubs. Manchester United had won the competition in 1977 and lost in the final the year before that. Tottenham Hotspur, on the other hand, had a proud history in this competition but hadn’t got beyond this very stage of the FA Cup since the last time it won it in 1967. There wasn’t much between the two clubs on the day of the match. Manchester United arrived at White Hart Lane in seventh place in the table, and Spurs were three places below them in tenth place in the table.
To get to this stage of the competition, Spurs had to overcome non-league Altrincham after a replay in the Third Round, followed by wins against Wrexham and Oldham Athletic. Manchester United, meanwhile, had beaten Chelsea, Fulham and Colchester United to get to this stage of the competition. This is a complete episode of The Big Match, so there’s a second game here as well between Wolverhampton Wanderers and Shrewsbury Town, and commentaries come from Brian Moore and Hugh Johns.
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