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  • Red News 1st January 2021

    Tommy Docherty RIP


    A statement and tribute from MUFC ...

    Manchester United is extremely saddened to hear the news that our former manager Tommy Docherty has passed away, aged 92.

    ‘The Doc’ was a pivotal figure in United’s history, and a charismatic hero to the legions of Reds that came of age watching his team in the 1970s – the decade in which he famously guided the club to promotion from the Second Division.

    In doing so, he not only restored pride and dignity following our relegation, but also succeeded in reconnecting the name Manchester United with the ideals of excitement, bravery and entertainment that Matt Busby had enshrined at Old Trafford during the 1950s and ‘60s. This immense contribution to our story means Docherty will remain firmly embedded in the hearts of those that lived through his dramatic tenure, and memories of both his achievements and larger-than-life personality will endure.

    His zenith came in May 1977, when he led the Reds to the first major post-Busby trophy, by overseeing a pulsating 2-1 triumph over domestic and soon-to-be European champions Liverpool in the FA Cup final.

    Remarkably, a celebratory dance across the Wembley turf with the FA Cup trophy lid on his head would prove his final act as United boss. Off-field issues soon overshadowed that golden day in north-west London, and Docherty was replaced by Dave Sexton before the start of the following campaign.

    But in many ways, his job had already been completed.

    The Scot had been asked to take over four-and-a-half years earlier, on 30 December 1972, in the wake of a humiliating 5-0 thrashing at Crystal Palace. Relinquishing the reins of the Scotland national side, Tommy took the helm at Old Trafford and was asked to save the club from the threat of relegation.

    By that point, his career was already a storied one. Born in Glasgow on 24 April 1928, Thomas Henderson Docherty began his association with football at Celtic, but spent the majority of his playing days at Preston North End. A Scottish international, he played and scored in the memorable 7-2 defeat to England in 1955, notable as Duncan Edwards’s debut for the Three Lions.

    He finished at Chelsea as a player-coach, and managed the Londoners until 1967, helping them win the 1964 League Cup. Prior to taking over the Scotland job, he also led Rotherham, QPR, Aston Villa and Porto.

    Then, in 1972, came the most difficult task of all: saving England’s most famous club from a damaging drop to the second tier. The Doc succeeded, but was powerless to stop the fall occurring the following term.

    United’s squad struggled without Bobby Charlton and Denis Law – both of whom had left in the summer of 1973 – while George Best’s personal problems gave Docherty another big problem. The legendary Northern Irishman made his final appearance for the club in January 1974 and, four months later, just six years on from conquering Europe, United were relegated.

    Fearing the sack, Docherty was instead given a box of champagne by Busby and encouraged to carry on. And from the ashes of demotion to the Second Division, the colourful, infectious Glaswegian plotted a stunning renaissance.

    The club bounced straight back, doing so unforgettably, and in Docherty’s image: with energy, pizzazz and a cast-iron commitment to blitzing the opposition.

    With the ball, the Scot’s 4-2-4 set-up was a whirling, attacking tornado; without it, the Doc likened his players to “flies around a sugar bowl”. Despite second-flight status, United were the best-watched club in the country. “This defensive football is a bore,” he insisted. “Spectators want to watch goals. That is what we try to supply.”

    The Doc’s Red Army didn’t stop there. After sealing promotion at a canter, United’s explosive form continued unabated upon our return to the First Division. For much of the following 1975/76 season, inspired by thrilling wingers Steve Coppell and Gordon Hill, United were on for an implausible league-and-cup double.

    A third-place finish and a surprise defeat to Southampton in the FA Cup final put paid to that ambitious dream, but United were well and truly back, and Docherty pledged to win the cup the following year. He was as good as his word.

    To the dismay of his adoring support, that was his final act, but the memory of his all-action, lightning-fast side endures powerfully in the imagination. Just ask those who traipsed up and down the country following them during the mid-70s – for those fans, the spirit and daring of Docherty’s side fits the template that all subsequent United sides are obliged to try to follow.

    The Doc might have left United in ’77, but his nomadic managerial career lasted for another decade. He first moved to Derby County, and would have short tenures at Queens Park Rangers, Preston, Wolverhampton Wanderers and Altrincham – as well as stints in Australia – before calling it a day at the end of the 1987/88 season.

    He then carved out a popular reputation on the after-dinner speaking circuit in later years, and was always an engaging figure when appearing in the media. His famously scabrous one-liners were legendary “I’ve always said there’s a place for the press, but they haven’t dug it yet” and would often get him into trouble with detractors, but for a generation of Reds, affection for the Doc is non-negotiable.

    His teams, his achievements and his huge personality will never be forgotten here at Old Trafford. How could they? When we needed it most, Tommy Docherty gave us some of the best days of our United-supporting lives.
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  • #2
    We will play Burnley on Jan 12th


    Manchester United's Premier League game at Burnley will be played on Tuesday 12 January, with a 20:15 GMT kick-off. WIll be shown on Sky Sports.
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    • #3
      Ole talks fixtures over xmas and new year ...


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      “I think players deserve at least two days in between games. 72 hours between kick-offs is the minimum they should be allowed. But we made changes, they made changes and that’s why we have a big squad. We made six changes and that will stand us in good stead. It's Friday night again now [at home to Aston Villa] so hopefully they don't overdo the celebrations on Thursday as it's New Year's Eve! They are happy with the win, the confidence that gives you and the mentality and attitude that gives you. They will recover well for Friday.”
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      Comment


      • #4
        Ole reflects on the Wolves game


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        “It's one of the points we brought up early on in the season, in a meeting, that we didn't win many points from the end of games last season. We have a tradition for doing that at this club. Obviously, we'd (normally) have many more supporters helping us to do that but that's happened many times in that end [the Stretford End]. Now we've won quite a few points towards the end of games and that's both a mental aspect but also a physical aspect.

        “It was one of those nights when, towards the end, you want fans to help you but we didn’t need that help today. We had a bit of luck with the deflection but you keep going and that is an aspect that this team has developed. The never-give-up attitude. We have done it so many times this season and it is starting to become a habit, which is good.”

        “We had to defend well because, on the counter-attack, Wolves are always so dangerous. I thought Eric [Bailly] did fantastically all night, breaking up a few counter-attacks and Nemanja [Matic, in the] second half. We just adjusted a couple of positions in the second half to stop their counters and I think it worked. David [De Gea] had to make a save and he did. It was a good save, it was an important one for us.

        “You don’t expect a 4-3 or a 5-4 against Wolves, you expect a tight game. They make you really work for the points and we had to work hard tonight and I think maybe the extra day's recovery helped us, of course, because they looked tired in the last 20 minutes and you think, keep going boys, don’t stop believing. The belief is there in this group.”
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        Comment


        • #5
          Ole thinks the squad has grown and is mentally stronger


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          “Yeah, definitely [the mentality is stronger],”

          “One, they’re two years older than when I came. Two, some of them are strong personalities that we’ve brought in and they have really been a good influence.

          “I think we have competition for places which means you cannot go around thinking that you can just fake your way being part of this team because you only deserve to be in a team you contribute to. I think everyone has just realised they are privileged to be part of Manchester United, such a fantastic club with a fantastic history.

          “When you are here, enjoy it as much as you can and maybe experience some fantastic times. We’ve got winners, like Juan Mata and Nemanja Matic, who don’t play every single game but are so influential in the group, in the build-up to games and even during games when they’re not playing.”
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          • #6
            Ed Woodward writes down some of his thoughts on MUFC under Ole, and during COVID


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            “There are many positive statistics like these showing the progress made under Ole in the past year,”

            “But they tell only part of the story. Just as important is the work we see being done behind the scenes to build a winning culture consistent with the club’s traditions of attacking football played by youthful, hard-working teams fusing homegrown talent with top-class recruits.

            “We are getting closer to those objectives as the squad continues to develop following the arrival of Bruno Fernandes, Donny van de Beek, Alex Telles and Edinson Cavani.

            “Our ongoing investment reflects the tremendous resilience of the club and our commitment to supporting Ole, while remaining disciplined at an extremely challenging time.

            “As always, our priority is to win trophies and, with the team going into the new year competing on four fronts, we are optimistic about the path ahead in 2021.”

            “Many of our fans have been personally affected by Covid-19 and we send our sincere condolences to everyone who has lost loved ones,”

            “Many others are on the frontline of the pandemic, whether working in healthcare or keeping our communities going, and all of you have our deepest respect and gratitude.

            “We know that the social and economic fallout is severe and that’s why we have stepped up our own community response through the fantastic work of Manchester United Foundation. This includes the provision of 80,000 meals for vulnerable children during the Christmas holidays in partnership with FareShare Greater Manchester, complementing the wider campaign against child food poverty so inspirationally led by Marcus Rashford.

            “Marcus’s efforts have demonstrated the power of football to be a force for good and we are tremendously proud of him.”




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            • #7
              Rashford looks ahead


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              “This season with what’s been going on and the way the season has started and players being out with COVID, when one player goes out with it, it affects the team and it’s difficult to find consistency and I think that’s what teams have been struggling with and that leads to results being up and down,”

              “I expect that to happen throughout the season so the only thing we can do is concentrate on ourselves and give ourselves the best chance of winning three points. To be fair we’ve done that. The beginning of the season wasn’t the best for us, especially at home, but we’ve found a way to get back on track and probably when it was the most difficult period for us we came out of it in a good way and stuck together as a team. As long as we keep doing that and do as well as we can on the pitch we can’t ask for anything more.

              “My main aim is to help the team and, as a forward, it’s goals and assists that do that so the more of them I can get is the best for the team,” he added. “That’s what I’m concentrating on doing and ultimately that’s what is going to help the team pick up points and if we have three or four of us that are playing in that way and trying to help each other score, then we can have big possibilities this season.”

              “The platform has been there for a while and in this last year we’ve taken greater steps forward which is obviously a positive for us,” he declared. “We missed out on winning some trophies, losing in the semi-finals and that’s what we need to correct in the coming year and make sure we get over the line and win trophies.

              “That’s the next thing for us to do as a team then it’s about doing it consistently and being able to repeat it back-to-back which is more difficult than getting it the first time. We’ve still got a long journey ahead of us, but at the moment we’re in a good place and we’re concentrating on ourselves and our team and just trying to improve ourselves in each game.”

              “It always will be strange [without them]. A lot of things we expect from football is what we see when we’re growing up and fans are a huge part of that,” he added.

              “Whilst we’re playing these games it feels like something is missing, but at the same time we have to be as focused and as concentrated as we can because each game is still worth three points and that’s what matters to the team.”
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              • #8
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                • #9
                  Ole picks out the questions that Villa pose opponents this season


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                  "You can see the improvement of results and also performances, how solid they are - they have conceded one goal in their last five league games and that was against Chelsea - so they have impressed me. We've met them in pre-season and of course we've kept in touch with them. I have been impressed but not surprised, because they have a squad and a team full of good players.”

                  “I think it is a team performance, of course, but they have made some very good signings. I think Ollie Watkins is one of the centre-forwards that you don't like to play against. At the moment, [Anwar] El Ghazi is the man in form and scoring every game. I think the whole front line is going to keep you on your toes and they are going to make you defend. Then they are very solid at the back and they are not going to concede goals, so we need a good performance and hopefully we will get one.”
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                  • #10
                    Ole shares his thoughts on United this season

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                    "We had a difficult start to the season with the late arrival of some players and the start, that we missed the first game and we missed the pre-season. And I think we have shown after the second international break, the one in October, that we have regrouped, come together, we are getting fitter, stronger, the squad is getting better and we just have to take one game at a time, move up the table and improve as a team. But we have finished the year strong. I think we have done well since the beginning of February, or end of January, and we have proven to ourselves that we can be consistent over a longer period.

                    ”The good thing about this group is that some of them have won before so they are not going to get too far ahead of themselves. We know that the only way to do it is to take one game at a time. I know that is quite a boring statement, but that is the good thing about this group - they are not going to think we have cracked it because in any game in this league, you have got to be at it and that's why we have a big, strong squad.”



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