Video of the Day: Sunderland vs Manchester United, November 1984

by | Feb 12, 2016

In November 1984, Sunderland were mid-table in the First Division whilst Manchester United were chasing the league championship. Sunderland had spent the previous fifteen years bouncing between the top two divisions, winning the FA Cup in 1973 whilst in the Second Division. Manchester United, of course, had not been the champions of England since 1967 and had spent reasonably lavishly in the early 1980s under Ron Atkinson in an attempt to close the gap on Liverpool, their biggest rivals and the dominant team of the era.

This particular season, however, Liverpool were struggling. On the morning of the 24th November 1984 the defending league and European champions were down in tenth place in the First Division table. Manchester United were in second place in the table, three points behind the leaders, Everton. Sunderland, meanwhile, were in twelfth place in the table, a point behind the defending champions, although they had lost their last two matches. The BBC’s cameras were at Roker Park to record a match with plenty of drama – five goals and a red card – and a somewhat unexpected final result.

When the full-time whistle blew that day, Sunderland had been lifted into the top half of the table, whilst Manchester United had dropped to third place. By the end of the season, however, a calamitous drop in form saw Sunderland relegated back to the Second Division, whilst Manchester United failed in their attempt to win the league title but did at least have the consolation of winning the FA Cup for the third time in eight years. All of that, however, was for the future at the time of this match. Commentary comes from Barry Davies.

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