1974–75 in English football


1974–75 in English football

The 1974-75 season was the 95th season of competitive football in England.

Overview

First Division

Dave Mackay guided Derby County to their second league title in four years having overcome strong competition from Liverpool, Ipswich Town, Everton, Stoke City, Sheffield United and Middlesbrough in a title race which went right to the wire, Everton lost just eight games during the season, which was the fewest of any side in the league that season, Billy Bingham's men were red hot favourites to be crowned champions, but a disappointing end of season run in cost the toffees league glory. There was disappointment at Bramall Lane after Sheffield United's title challenge ended in a failure without even a UEFA Cup place, but this would be as good as it got for the Blades as a sharp decline soon set in and within a few seasons had pushed them into the Fourth Division.

Carlisle United, in the First Division for the first time, topped the league three games into the season but were unable to keep up their winning ways and were relegated in bottom place. Joining the Cumbrians in the drop zone were Luton Town and Chelsea.

Brian Clough was named as Don Revie's successor at Leeds United but left after just 44 days in charge. He was replaced by Jimmy Armfield.

Second Division

Manchester United's directors kept faith in Tommy Docherty after their relegation to the Second Division, and he rewarded them with the Second Division championship to return them to the top flight. They were joined by Aston Villa (who also won the League Cup) and Norwich City. Docherty had built a new-look team containing players like Jim Holton, Stuart Pearson and Jimmy Greenhoff. Meanwhile, FIFA finally lifted George Best's worldwide ban from football. But Manchester United manager Tommy Docherty was not prepared to give him another chance at Old Trafford, and he joined Stockport County F.C. on a free transfer.

Millwall, Cardiff City and Sheffield Wednesday were the three unlucky clubs who were unable to escape the Second Division drop zone. In the space of a few years, Sheffield Wednesday had slumped to the Third Division having previously been a strong First Division side.

Third Division

Blackburn Rovers, Plymouth Argyle and Charlton Athletic occupied the three promotion places in the Third Division.

Going down were Bournemouth, Tranmere Rovers, Watford and Huddersfield Town. This meant that Huddersfield would be playing Fourth Division football for the first time in their history (the first former English champion to do so) during the 1975-76 season, just a few seasons earlier they had been in the First Division and 50 years earlier they had been one of the strongest sides in England. Watford, meanwhile, were enduring their last unsuccessful season for many years to come.

Fourth Division

Mansfield Town, Shrewsbury Town, Rotherham United and Chester occupied the four promotion places in the Fourth Division. Chester had finally managed promotion after 44 years of league membership, narrowly edging out Lincoln on goal average.

Scunthorpe United, who had narrowly missed out on top division football during the 1960s, found themselves bottom of the league but retained their league status after being re-elected along with the three clubs placed above them.

FA Cup

John Lyall kicked off his management career in style by guiding West Ham United to FA Cup glory over Fulham at Wembley. A key player in West Ham's triumph was 19-year-old goalkeeper Mervyn Day, who was credited with the PFA Young Player of the Year award for his achievements. On the losing side was Bobby Moore, who at 34 would be quitting English football to finish his illustrious career in the USA.

League Cup

Ron Saunders guided Aston Villa to League Cup success against Norwich in the same season they won promotion to the First Division, their first success after seasons of trauma which had seen the club slide in to the Third Division.

The League Cup campaign is perhaps best remembered for the remarkable exploits by Fourth Division Chester, who reached the semi-finals after accounting for top-flight giants Leeds United and Newcastle United. They lost an enthralling semi-final to Aston Villa 5-4 on aggregate but had won many friends along the way.

Remarkably, none of the semi-finalists were in the top division. Besides Chester's superb achievements, Manchester United were in their solitary post-war season in the Second Division, a division they shared with their conquerors Norwich City and Aston Villa. Perhaps even more incredibly, all four clubs won promotion at the end of the season.

European football

When Peter Lorimer's goal against Bayern Munich in the European Cup final was disallowed, Leeds United fans ran riot in the Parc des Princes in Paris and left a trail of destruction behind them. The incident, which was another example of the hooliganism problem that gave English fans a bad name during the 1970s, saw Leeds United banned from European competition for three years.

Star players

*Colin Todd added the PFA Player of the Year award to the league championship medal he collected with Derby County.
*19-year-old West Ham goalkeeper Mervyn Day collected the PFA Young Player of the Year award along with an FA Cup winners medal.
*Liverpool's experienced midfielder Ian Callaghan was voted Player of the Year by the FWA, despite failing to win any major honours with his club.

Star managers

*David Mackay helped Derby County win the league championship in his first full season as manager.
*John Lyall had a fine first season as West Ham manager by guiding them to FA Cup glory.
*Ron Saunders guided Aston Villa to promotion and League Cup glory.
*Tommy Docherty helped Manchester United regain their First Division status at the first time of asking.
*Bobby Robson continued to raise standards at Ipswich - and almost guided them to league championship glory.

Honours


=Third Division=


=Fourth Division=

P = Matches played; W = Matches won; D = Matches drawn; L = Matches lost; F = Goals for; A = Goals against; GA = Goal average; Pts = Points


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