In 1967, four days after winning a seventh English league title, Matt Busby's Manchester United jetted off on a triumphant post-season tour.
Here, speaking exclusively to ManUtd.com's Nick Coppack, goalkeeper Alex Stepney recalls a marathon trip that spanned 42 days, three countries and 12 matches...
The club would usually go to Belgium, Holland, Germany, Spain or Norway – somewhere nice and close – and only play one or two games. This trip, though, was a lot longer than most: 42 days in total.
The world seemed much bigger then. None of us had ever been to Australia or New Zealand and we only knew what we’d read in books. So, even though it was a long trip, there was no moaning: in our eyes it was a big adventure. We felt like explorers.
We got off to a bad start, mind you. We had to fly from Manchester to Los Angeles via New York, but there was heavy fog in New York, which meant our connecting flight couldn’t land. It took a long time before we were able to continue our journey. From memory, I think we reached Los Angeles almost 24 hours after we’d left home.
Once there, we played Benfica in the first game and it was quite a tasty affair. The year before, in 1966, United had beaten Benfica 5-1 in Lisbon at the Stadium of Light – I hadn’t joined the club at that stage – and the Portuguese side didn’t like that. It was the first defeat they’d ever suffered at home in Europe [their record was W18 D1 before Matt Busby’s