are they now?
THE DATE: August 20, 1970.
THE PLACE: Highbury.
THE EVENT: Arsenal 4 Manchester United
THE STORY: The camera never lies and the
sense of apprehension in the Arsenal wall is palpable. If
there is one place you didn't want to be as a top-flight
footballer between 1956 and 1974, it was in a defensive
wall with Bobby Charlton preparing to take the free kick.
It is 45 years to the day since the young man from
Ashington made his first-team debut for Manchester United
and he celebrates his 64th birthday on Thursday - two
good reasons for publishing a photograph that illustrates
the fear and respect he commanded in opponents. This,
though, was not a distinguished period in his illustrious
career. Two months earlier he had won his 106th - and
final - England cap in the World Cup quarter-final defeat
by West Germany and he returned to a United team in
decline. The descent from winning the European Cup in
1968 to being relegated in 1974 was well under way and,
under the managership, for the first time, of Wilf
McGuinness they finished eighth, lost to Middlesbrough,
of the second division, in the third round of the FA Cup
and were beaten by third-division Aston Villa in the
semi-final of the League Cup. For their conquerors on the
second weekend of the 1970-71 season, however, a glorious
campaign that ended with only the second Double of the
2Oth century lay ahead.
CHARLTON (Manchester United forward): In
recent polls conducted by the club's official magazine,
Eric Cantona has been voted the greatest player in
United's history. Perhaps a little more historical
perspective might have shown the voters the error of
their ways. With a stunning 754 appearances and 247 goals
- both club records ~ more than a century of England
caps, a record 49 goals for his country, 17 years to date
as a United director and a knighthood, Charlton is in a
different league to the Frenchman. The first two of those
goals came against Charlton Athletic at Old Trafford 45
years ago today. Although he wore the No 9 for most of
his career, he was never a conventional centre forward
and operated in a deep-lying role where he was able to
display the full range of his passing skills and hit
those famed long-range shots.
player): The role performed so brilliantly by Patrick
Vieira and Emmanuel Petit in the Arsenal Double-winning
side of 1998 was undertaken in 1971 by the 26-year-old
from Farnham, Surrey. Made his debut as a full back in
October 1965 and, in fact, did not switch to the
ball-winning central position until this campaign.
"He seemed to have no concept of danger to himself,
the sort of man who would lose inches of skin in a tackle
on icy ground without a flicker of expression. . ."
said one profile. Made 5Ol appearances and won 19 England
caps - before joining Fulham in 1976. Since retiring as a
player has been sentenced to jail three times, most
recently in 1990 for smuggling pornographic videos, and
now works as a driver.
(Arsenal midfield player): Arrived at Highbury via Villa
Park and Stamford Bridge and, initially, was a notable
success as a forward. However, Bertie Mee, the manager,
astutely moved him back into midfield, where his lack of
pace would be less obvious, and he became the main
creative force in the Double squad. Made 308 appearances
- scoring 77 goals - before joining Manchester United at
the end of 1972. Later a highly successful Arsenal
manager, winning six trophies in eight years, he is 57
next month and has been out of football management since
leaving Tottenham Hotspur in March.
(Arsenal midfield player)
Then 19 and one of the brightest stars at club, he scored
the crucial opening goal in second leg of the Fairs Cup
victory over Anderlecht at the end of the previous
season. Solid and unspectacular, he played a key role in
the Double - not least in scoring the FA Cup Final
equaliser against Liverpool after coming on as a
substitute. Aged 50, he works for a double glazing
company in Devon.
midfield player): Despite building his reputation as a
manager who produced home-grown talent, Man Busby made so
impressive signings and few more notable than Crerand. A
former Glasgow shipyar worker - like Sir Alex Ferguson -
he join Celtic in 1957 and left for Old Trafford in
February 1963 for 56,000 pounds. Picked up an F Cup
winner's medal within three months his arrival and added
championship med in 1965 and 1967 and the European Cup in
1968. He made 392 appearances and was a member of the
coaching staff and assis manager. Now aged 62, he is a
regular m pundit on United matters and works for Century
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