Manchester United v Celtic - Sir Bobby Charlton - 1974 Testimonial Programme
This is an original testimonial programme in very good condition considering its age & has been signed by the great man himself, Sir Bobby Charlton.
Absorbing benefit for Bobby Charlton despite goal famine.
A crowd of 60,538, a British record for a benefit match, packed Old Trafford last night to see Manchester United and Celtic fight out an absorbing goalless draw in Bobby Charlton’s testimonial match.
From the onset it was apparent that this was to be no goal-happy fiesta. That would have been unworthy of the occasion, the dignity of the two great clubs, and the man they had come to honour. If the crowd, which included Tommy Docherty, Sir Alf Ramsey and stars from the past and present were not treated to a Charlton special they were able to enjoy a fine game of pure football.
After only three minutes Celtic were awarded a free kick a yard outside the penalty area. Murdoch’s left foot drive cannoned off the defensive wall and from the rebound McNeill volleyed in a blistering shot which Stepney punched away at the near post.
Four minutes later Dalglish bewildered United’s defence, sending Deans away down the right. The centre forward’s immediate pass into the middle found Johnstone but the winger’s shot hit the outside of the netting.
Having weathered the early onslaught, Manchester United countered through Kidd, who first forced Williams to a good save then sliced a perfect pass through a square-standing Celtic defence to Law, who revelling in the big occasion, slid his shot wide as he fell. Charlton caused a hum of embarrassment in the crowd with one appallingly wild crossfield pass but redeemed himself when he accepted a ball from Law and advanced threateningly on the Celtic goal. His final shot lacked power however, as defenders converged on him.
This was a refreshing, tension-free performance from United, quite divorced from their recent games. Another flowing move sent Charlton away and this time he was able to set himself before unleashing an effort that went over the crossbar.
The goal from Charlton which most of the crowd was willing for him, was not to come and it was Celtic who now were beginning to control the game with the mighty Murdoch dominating the middle of the field. Hood replaced Johnstone at the start of the second half and later Wilson came on for Deans. Kidd limped off injured and Law also withdrew, McIlroy and Sartori taking their places.
With 10 minutes remaining Celtic began to overrun a tiring United defence and twice Macari had opportunities to win the match. A delightful exchange with Dalglish left United’s defence in tatters, but Macari somehow scooped his shot wide. Then he failed to turn on to a loose ball as it rolled temptingly across the face of an open goal.
All that remained was for Bobby Charlton to do his lap of honour, surrounded by hundreds of youthful enthusiasts to whom he has given so much pleasure over the years.