Lou Macari, Jimmy Nicholl and Gordon Hill.

Manchester United's Team of the 1970s

Tuesday 11 August 2020 21:00

With Gordon Hill, the King of the Cockneys, the subject of this week's UTD Podcast, we are turning the focus towards his golden period: the 1970s.

The winger was a key figure in Tommy Docherty's sides but does he get in our Team of the Decade?

If our calculations are correct, we have selected the following XI, and seven substitutes, based on those who made the most appearances for the club, in all competitions, throughout the Seventies...


Our keeper for much of these 10 years, Stepney had already been instrumental in helping us land the European Cup in 1968. Jimmy Rimmer deputised for some of the 1970/71 season and, after Alex had helped the Reds win the 1977 FA Cup final against Liverpool, Paddy Roche took on the gloves later that year.


After making his debut in 1975, Nichol became a regular in the right-back slot during the following campaign and earned international honours with Northern Ireland, despite being born in Canada. He played in both the 1977 and 1979 FA Cup finals.


The Scot was signed from Brentford in 1973 and made more appearances in the 1970s than fellow full-backs Tony Dunne and Arthur Albiston to get the nod in our team. He started the 1976 FA Cup final defeat to Southampton, a year after being part of Docherty's entertaining side that claimed the Division Two title in some style.


The Northern Irishman came through the ranks at United and, after making his debut in the Manchester derby towards the end of 1971, cemented a place in the XI. The midfielder played 159 across three seasons at one point and was a reliable figure, scoring in the 1979 FA Cup final and appearing in each of United's three showpiece games in the competition at Wembley during this period.

Watch a clip of Gordon Hill's UTD Podcast appearance.


Already a Scottish Cup-winner with Aberdeen when he joined the Reds, the cultured centre-back made more appearances than anybody in the red shirt in the 1970s. An influential captain, he helped inspire the instant return from relegation and became a leader when some of the old guard made way. 


Often a partner for Buchan, he was later joined at the club by his brother Jimmy. The Yorkshireman initially started out in midfield, and was the Fans' Player of the Year during the relegation season, prior to forcing his way into the England team after starring in the 1977 FA Cup final against arch-rivals Liverpool.

Were the 1970s the best decade to be Red?


Club reporter Joe Ganley examines our spirit of the 1970s and an era intrinsically linked to the late Tommy Docherty.


Another Scot, Willie starred on the wing for the Reds after making his name at Burnley ahead of a move to Old Trafford in 1968. The skilful wide man played more times in the 70s for United than George Best, but returned to Turf Moor in 1975.


Although he broke into Matt Busby's team in the 1950s and is strongly associated with the 1960s and England's World Cup win, in addition to our European Cup triumph, the free-scoring Reds legend played until 1973 and was still such a fixture in the side that he earns a place in our line-up. Sir Bobby notched up 167 outings in the decade with Gerry Daly (142) probably his closest competitor for a spot in midfield.


'Pancho' became a fan favourite after joining the club in the Second Division, from Hull City, and helping fire Docherty's men to promotion. His raised-fist celebration was copied in many a playground and it was on show when he scored against Liverpool in the 1977 FA Cup final. The centre-forward left for West Ham United towards the end of the decade (August 1979).


An Old Trafford stalwart, after choosing the Reds ahead of Liverpool when leaving Celtic in 1973, Lou is still associated with the club today and is a regular on MUTV. The Scotland international was a clever player who could link midfield and attack, so he gets the no.10 role in our XI after topping 300 appearances throughout the 1970s.


A bargain buy from Tranmere Rovers, the dashing winger became influential for United and England and never gave less than everything for the cause. He helped wreck the Treble bid of Liverpool – the club he supported as a boy – in 1977 to make up for the previous year's disappointment against Southampton. Of course, he later managed Crystal Palace against the Reds in the 1990 FA Cup final.

On the bench for our team would be Gary Bailey, Tony Dunne, Gerry Daly, the great George Best, Gordon Hill, David Sadler and Brian Kidd.

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