Manchester U 2 Liverpool 1
Manchester United 2 Liverpool 1, Wembley Stadium, English FA Cup Final, May 21, 1977. Tommy Docherty´s men managed to beat treble chasing Liverpool at Wembley to lift the FA Cup in 1977. Jimmy Greeenhoff, who had joined the club from Stoke City only six months earlier, set up the first goal and scored the second himself in the 2-1 win over The Anfielders.
Barnsley born Jimmy Greenhoff etched his name forever into the history of Manchester United Football Club on the 21st of May 1977. To reach the FA Cup Final, The Red Devils had dispatched of Walsall, Queens Park Rangers, Southampton, Aston Villa, and Leeds United, whereas Liverpool had managed to knock out Crystal Palace, Carlisle United, Oldham Athletic, Middlesbrough, and Everton to get themselves there. Liverpool had already won the First Division title and were attempting to become the first club ever to complete the coveted treble of the Football League, the FA Cup, and the UEFA European Cup. There are of course plenty of classic meetings in British soccer, but none of them can quite match the intensity of the North West Derby. The fierce competition between Liverpool and Manchester were rooted back in the days of the industrial revolution when the two cities were setting out to become powerful commercial forces to be reckoned with, and the rivalry had grown following a series of tought battles throughout the 1960s. At Wembley, the two North West rivals went back and forth during the first period, but no goals were produced before the half-time break. Following the resumption, however, Manchester United went into the lead as Greenhoff punted the ball upfield to England international striker Stuart “Pancho” Pearson who executed an unstoppable right foot shot between Liverpool custodian Ray Clemence and the near post only six minutes into the second period of the contest. The Merseysiders hit back immediately, though, when offensive oriented left fullback Joey Jones delivered a long pass to midfield orchestrator Jimmy Case who collected the ball inside the eighteen-yard box and turned around to hammer home the equalising goal for the Anfield Road side in the 53rd minute of the tie.
Then, just two minutes later in the dramatic and pulsating FA Cup Final, a ferocious effort from Scottish midfielder Lou Macari deflected off Greenhoff´s chest, and over Clemence, and into the back of the net to make the score 2-1 in favour of Manchester United. Three minutes past the hour mark, The Manchester Reds eventually brought on the versatile David McCreery for Gordon Hill, while Liverpool replaced David Johnson with the experienced Ian Callaghan in the 81st minute. The newly crowned Division One Champions pushed hard to find the equalising goal with the Wembley clock ticking down, and Bob Paisley´s treble chasers threw everything they possibly could at United, but Tommy Docherty´s men held firm to end the 1976-77 season on a high note. The FA Cup Final win over Liverpool was Manchester United´s first major trophy since lifting the European Cup on the 29th of May 1968 when they defeated Portuguese giants Benfica by a comprehensive 4-1 margin at Wembley courtesy of a brace by World Cup winner Bobby Charlton and a goal each from George Best and Brian Kidd. The victory was also a personal triumph for long serving United goalkeeper Alex Stepney who had been beaten by a fluke goal from Southampton forward Bobby Stokes in the disappointing 1-0 loss to The Saints in the FA Cup Final the year before. As regards Tommy Doc, the Manchester United boss was sacked by the Old Trafford board shortly after the FA Cup Final when it became known that he was having a love affair with the wife of the club´s physiotherapist. According to former United winger Willie Morgan, however, the thing that actually got him sacked was not the falling in love, it was making the physiotherapist reserve team manager, and then sending him out on scouting trips giving his lady wife one while he was away.
A strong and reliable centre forward, Jimmy Greenhoff had joined Manchester United from fellow First Division team Stoke City for a transfer fee rumoured to be somewhere in the region of around £120,000 in November 1976. The Yorkshireman, who was always highly valued by the Manchester United supporters, would contribute 36 goals in 123 first class appearances for the Old Trafford side before he decided to join forces with Fourth Division Crewe Alexandra midway through the 1980-81 season. Following a comparatively short stay at Gresty Road, he enjoyed spells with Toronto Blizzard, Port Vale, and finally Rochdale where he finished off his professional footballing career at the back end of the 1983-84 campaign. Amongst other things, Greenhoff later worked at a pharmaceutical company in Stoke-on-Trent until he became a pensioner. Manchester United Team: Alex Stepney, Jimmy Nicholl, Arthur Albiston, Sammy McIlroy, Martin Buchan, Lou Macari, Gordon Hill, Brian Greenhoff, Steve Coppell, Jimmy Greenhoff, Stuart Pearson. Substitute: David McCreeery. Liverpool Team: Ray Clemence, Joey Jones, Phil Neal, Tommy Smith, Emlyn Hughes, Jimmy Case, Steve Heighway, Ray Kennedy, Terry McDermott, David Johnson, Kevin Keegan. Substitute: Ian Callaghan.
Manchester United Quickfacts
Manchester United won the FA Cup for the first time in 1909 when they beat fellow First Division team Bristol City by a narrow 1-0 margin courtesy of a goal from former Manchester City inside forward Sandy Turnbull in the 22nd minute in front of a crowd of over 70,000 people at Crystal Palace.