Monday, February 20, 2012

European Cup 1968 1969 Manchester United Rsc Anderlecht

2nd Round, 
1st leg
13 November 1968
Old Trafford
Attendance 51,000
As the 1968/69 season came around the question was, how could United match the euphoria they had experienced on that magical May evening at Wembley? The answer was that they couldn't. As soon as Busby had realised his ambition of winning the European Cup, much of the purpose seemed to fizzle out of the club. The heroes of Wembley were ageing together and new faces were needed to reinvigorate the club. Perhaps Busby, who had already built three champion sides, lacked the energy to create an unprecedented fourth great team. But whatever the reason, United lacked the vim of old as the season kicked off and by Christmas they had slid towards the bottom of the table. A miserable 3-0 defeat at Highbury on Boxing Day 1968 had an end-of-the-road feeling about it and in January 1969 the newly-knighted Sir Matt announced he would step down at the end of the season. A new job as general manager, working with a head coach, beckoned. Stepney said, '1 don't think he wanted to retire, but his health was poor. The injuries he received at Munich still affected him and but for his health I don't think he would have decided to move upstairs at all.'

Busby could have made a clean break, and left United with the good wishes of the club and the whole footballing world to enjoy a peaceful retirement. He had no worlds left to conquer, but he could not cut his ties with the club that had been his life for a quarter of a century. In any case, he could not conceive of an existence not tied up with the game that had been his life's love as well as his livelihood for more than four decades. If he was no longer fit enough to take day-to-day control of Manchester United, he would stay to help a new man run the team. It made perfect sense in theory, but it flew in the face of an age-old football axiom: when it comes to management, two heads are never better than one. Busby's last few months in sole charge were fractious and results were poor. Perhaps the nadir was the World Club Championship match against the Argentine side, Estudiantes, which should have been an enjoyable exhibition displaying the best of South American and European football. But the first leg in Buenos Aires degenerated into a kicking contest. Charlton sustained a deep head wound and needed stitches. Stiles was singled out for ill-treatment, headbutted and then sent off for retaliating. All over the field United players were booted, scratched and spat on. The travesty of a sporting contest ended i-o to Estudiantes.

The home leg finished with the same scoreline, but a forgettable match stays in the memory solely for the sending off of Best. For the whole match he had been subject to a series of brutal assaults by the Argentines, until he lashed out at one of his assailants. He was ordered off the field, mercifully, before he was carried off in the St John Ambulance. Denis Law did not make it to the final whistle either. He was unable to continue after receiving a vicious kick in the leg. It was one of the most unpleasant encounters Old Trafford had ever seen. United recovered slightly from their atrocious start to finish nth in Division One and they reached the FA Cup quarter-finals before losing i-o at Everton. In the European Cup, too, United put in a brave showing, but they were not the irresistible side they had been the season before. After knocking out Waterford, Anderlecht and Rapid Vienna, they were paired with AC Milan in the semifinals and the Italians were too powerful for them. The tie was settled in the San Siro, where the Milanese won 2-0, and although Busby's men won the home leg i-o the visitors always looked favourites to hold their lead, even after Charlton had scored with 20 minutes left. The comparison with the previous year's semi-final could not have been starker. Against Real Madrid, United were like a force of nature in the second leg. They dragged themselves into the final with an unbeatable mixture of footballing virtuosity and bottomless spirit. Against AC Milan, the same sense of belief was not apparent. They were also hamstrung by a series of bewildering refereeing decisions, which left many observers muttering about the honesty of what they had seen. As the 1968/69 season wore on there was intense speculation about the identity of Busby's successor. The outgoing manager had the luxury afforded to few departing bosses - he was allowed the biggest say in choosing his successor. In the end Busby decided that continuity would best be served by appointing from within. He anointed the long-serving player and coach, 3i-year-oid Wilf McGuinness, as his heir. But McGuinness was not given the title of manager: he was head coach.

 Codec H264, Mkv
Sounds Aac 160kps
English Comments
Chaptered with Goals

Resume 40mnts

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Complete Second half

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