The record books show that Viv Anderson was the last big name player to be transferred from Arsenal to Manchester United in 1987 but two earlier signings proved to be just as significant. Few players have shown the knack of finding the net better than former great David Herd did in the sixties. During his seven years at Old Trafford, the Scotland born striker scored 145 times in 265 appearances. Then there was the Irish centre forward Frank Stapleton who had been rejected by United as a teenager. It was therefore ironic that Ron Atkinson had to pay the Gunners £900,000 for his signature in August 1981. Both Herd and Stapleton proved to be inspirational signings for which the Arsenal contribution has to be recognised.
On the 29th of May 1968, Manchester United became the first English team to win the European Cup exactly ten years after an air disaster would have destroyed lesser clubs. Cross town rivals Manchester City had just won the First Division Championship for only the second – and so far the last time in their history, just eighteen days earlier. Does anyone remember that? Of course not, by becoming Champions of Europe United took all the media limelight while City had to be content with nothing more than a domestic title. You almost had to feel sorry for City fans who had waited since 1937 to have a sniff of such success!
Calls by Manchester United fans for the club to buy some of Nobby Stiles’ football memorabilia put up for auction have been heeded when a World Cup and a European Cup medal were bought for more than £200,000 by United. A club spokeswoman said Mr Stiles was a “club legend” and that the items were bought for the club’s museum. That decision raises a couple of interesting questions such as whether United also bought part of the collection recently auctioned by the family of George Best and if the Glazer family had any input in the decision.