On 8 June 1971, Manchester United appointed a new manager with
Frank O'Farrell taking over from Matt Busby...
United's first, and thus far only, manager from outside the United Kingdom, took over the reins in time for the 1971/1972 season.
Matt Busby had retired, after a second spell in charge, and his shoes would again prove to be huge ones to fill.
Often described as a shy character, Frank O'Farrell agreed to take on the challenge of managing one of the biggest clubs on the planet despite the presence of a living legend in Busby remaining at the club.
"I was confident in my own ability," he recalled. "Okay, the club was bigger than I was used to but I was experienced and the object of the exercise is the same wherever you manage: you want to win."
Starting his managerial career with Weymouth and Torquay United, O'Farrell rejected an approach from Ipswich Town and ended up joining Leicester City, where he impressed sufficiently to earn the chance with United. Despite overseeing relegation with the Foxes, he won the Second Division title and led them to an FA Cup final against Manchester City, that ended in defeat.
One of his first decisions at Old Trafford was to make star man George Best the highest-paid player at the club and United led the table during his first season with the Northern Irishman in stupendous form. However, O'Farrell found it harder and harder to tolerate Best's off-the-field activities and his ageing team fell away before beginning the 1972/1973 campaign with a run of eight league matches without a win.
There was clearly plenty of rebuilding work to be done, as Busby himself had acknowledged, but the