By Alan Holmes.
So many games to choose from in 40 odd years of following United but my favourite game takes me back to 1967 and as a 14 going on 15 year old at the time, is now a dim and distant memory in terms of the actual goal details more a memory of the performance and what that meant.
It is back in the day when two points for a win was the rule and the tried and trusted method to win titles was to win at home and draw away.
United had achieved this to such an extent they went in to the penultimate game against West Ham needing a point to clinch the title.
We had been unbeaten since the turn of the year with nine home wins and eight away draws.
West Ham had World Cup winners Martin Peters, Geoff Hurst and Bobby Moore in their ranks and we had Bobby and Nobby.
The full United team was Stepney, Brennan, Dunne, Crerand, Foulkes, Stiles – my word that lot still trips off the tongue so easily – Best, Law, Charlton, Sadler and Aston.
David Herd, who had broken his leg while scoring against Leicester and Bobby Noble, sadly injured in a car crash after a 0-0 draw at Sunderland, were the main absentees from that season’s regular line up. Noble never played again and Herd was never the same player.
West Ham had a young winger called Harry Redknapp – whatever became of him?
So, after a bit of crowd trouble, the 36,000 souls in Upton Park eagerly anticipated a tight game.
Tight game? After 20 minutes it was West Ham 0 Manchester United 4! Goals from Charlton, Best, Bill Foulkes and even Paddy Crerand put the result beyond doubt.
West Ham got one back through John Charles and in the second half a couple from Denis Law made the final outcome 6-1 to United, the new champions.
Then a mass pitch invasion and a souvenir piece of Upton Park turf for me, unfortunately I had a hole in my jacket pocket so was picking bits of dirt out of the lining for weeks after.
But those first 20 minutes and the exhilaration it brought will never be forgotten – a week later and a 0-0 draw against Stoke at Old Trafford was an anti climax only worth attending for the trophy presentation.
Who could have then thought it would be 26 years before we were champions again – though we should have won it the following year; we were too busy winning the European Cup and took our eye off the league allowing the noisy neighbours to sneak it.
But that was my first full season following the Reds home and away and probably the hey-day of the Best, Law and Charlton triumvirate. And that game at Upton Park was the fitting climax.
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