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Tuesday, May 23, 2006

30 years ago. The '76 Final

In 1976 United with Tommy Doc as the manager,United got to the F.A.Cup final at Wembley against Southampton. For our first Final in 8 years there, tickets were like gold dust, but through a pal whose husband always seemed to get tickets for any event through Sean 'the dustman' (don't ask) we got tickets for the Southampton end for £20 each. To call it the Southampton end was a misnomer - it was packed to the rafters with big, and I mean big- United lads. Conforming to the fashion of the day they all wore white butchers coats covered in hand written slogans, badges, and wearing scarves whilst holding large United banners. Some going in incognito!

We got there early and got right down to the front and stood there savouring the atmosphere. The noise as United came out was deafening. We were expected to walk the game - Sammy McIlroy should and could have had a hat-trick in the first twenty minutes. Although we were the better team nothing went for us that afternoon. Bobby 'offside' Stokes scored, but it was patently offside. The officials said 'goal' - it stood, and that was that. We exited up the stairs and joining us in our tears were these same large United fans - totally devastated. We felt cheated that day, and as we got outside a policeman on a horse tried to comfort us by saying 'don't worry, love, you'll be back next year and win it'. And pigs will fly was the bitter response. He was right and I wish I'd put a bet on us reaching Wembley again next year. And what a Final that proved to be.

Teresa McDonald


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