A team of Manchester United legends will play counterparts from Plymouth Argyle this weekend in a fund-raising match for the Devon club.
One of the ex-Reds taking part, Arthur Albiston, spoke to ManUtd.com this week about his previous experience of playing at Home Park, back in 1977. United's home fixture against St Etienne was relocated to Plymouth as a punishment, following crowd trouble in France during the first leg of the European Cup Winners' Cup tie.
“Home Park was packed to the rafters,” Albiston recalled. “They were all United fans – 35,000 or 36,000 of them, I think. We had to play over 200 miles away from Manchester and the authorities felt Celtic Park in Glasgow would’ve been too much like a home game!
“When you’re younger, you don’t think about it but, looking back now, it was a little strange to play a Manchester United home game at Plymouth. We were penalised for the trouble in the away leg but managed to get through. We beat a good St Etienne side 2-0.
“We went back to play St Etienne a week before Christmas as a goodwill gesture and that was a good game – I think it ended in a draw [the score was 0-0]. It was nice to play on the pitch at the Parc des Princes.”
The return to Home Park for Albiston, Sammy McIlroy and other former United players is the centre-piece of a special weekend for Plymouth and the Green Taverners group aiding the club's revival. A golf day and Sportsman's Dinner take place on Friday and then the match itself kicks off at 13:00 on Saturday ahead of a night of entertainment at the Green Taverners Suite.
“Even though some of us are in our mid-50s, we still think we're 25 when we get in the dressing room," Albiston joked to ManUtd.com. "There’s a bit of banter with the lads getting changed and you do get memories flooding back.
“You want to get out and show people you can still play. Unfortunately, everybody’s got different fitness levels but we’ve got some younger legs in there to do the running for us.”
Provisional United squad: Fraser Digby; Lee Martin, Mike Duxbury, Arthur Albiston, Clayton Blackmore; Carlo Sartori, Alan McLoughlin, Sammy McIlroy, Peter Barnes, Mickey Thomas,