Competition: Inter-Cities Fairs Cup, First Round, First Leg.
Referee: Michel Kitabdjian (Nice,
This game marked the start of the great adventure into Europe, which led to many, many exciting nights full of trials and tribulations, happiness and despair in which United climbed to incredible heights and encountered teams of all levels of skill and ability and events which often conspired against the club to cause them to fall at the last hurdle on several occasions. It would also lead the supporters to unknown lands in pursuit of witnessing the progress of the ‘white knights’ sometimes with tragic consequences.
United could not have asked for a harder opening fixture
against the might of one of
Torino in the late 1940’s had been a dominant team in Italy but the fates decreed that the team would be tragically killed in an air crash in 1949, after winning their fifth consecutive title. They later re-established themselves as a major force but were again tragically deprived of one of their leading players. Gigi Meroni, the Italian George Best, was killed in a car crash at the age of twenty-four in 1967 and that tragedy was the main reason for them not lifting the Scudetto in that season.
At the time the club was known as AC Torino they had in their ranks the aforementioned Italian international Gigi Meroni and his international compatriots Roberto Rosato, George Puja (Giorgio Puia) and goalkeeper Lido Vieri.
In an effort to confuse the opposition, who employed a man
to man marking system, the United forwards lined up for the kick-off with
different shirt numbers to normal and lined up in the appropriate position for
the kick-off, Alan Peacock for instance wore the number seven shirt and lined
up at outside right and had the Torino left back in
close attendance dragging him with him as he reverted to his normal striker
role. It did cause confusion and consternation in the
Don Revie was pleased by the
quality of their play and their skill and determination against a well-drilled
team, but in the end Rocco Nereo would have been the
happier of the two Managers knowing that the goal they had scored would give them
a better chance of overcoming the deficit in
Back Row: Billy Bremner (4), Paul Reaney (2), Gary Sprake (1), Jack Charlton (5),
Norman Hunter (6), Willie Bell (3).
Front Row: Johnny Giles (7), Don Weston (8), Alan Peacock (9), Bobby Collins (10) Captain,
Albert Johanneson (11).
Alan Peacock heads in at the far post to give United a 2-0 lead.
Luigi Merino: The
Italian George Best, who missed the
Virgilio Fossati Alberto Orlando Roberto Rosato
Billy Bremner Alan Peacock