United v Leeds: Not a game for softies!

02 January 2010 01:26
FOR 12 days in March 1970, the War of the Roses became a war of attrition as United and Leeds battled to reach Wembley. It took 300 minutes at three different neutral venues before Billy Bremner finally decided the semi-final tie. The Reds were in a transitional period following Sir Matt Busby's retirement in the summer of 1969 and the breaking up of the 1968 European Cup winning side. Busby Babe Wilf McGuiness was put in charge and the 31-year-old Old Trafford boss steered a part new-look Reds to the last four of the tournament. Standing in the way of a potential platform to a better future as Busby's successor was Don Revie's powerful and formidable professional machine from across the Pennines. Leeds were at their peak but United took them to the limits as they dug in. The trilogy began on March 14 with a 0-0 draw in Yorkshire at Hillsborough. Nine days later the show moved to the Midlands where even extra time could not split the pair. Back to Lancashire for a third crack at Bolton's old stadium at Burnden Park where Bremner's solitary goal won it. Leeds then went on to lose the final to Chelsea following a replay at, ironically, Old Trafford. "In the first game at Hillsborough I thought we had the upper hand," recalled McGuinness. "Carlo Sartori had a very, very good game in midfield and we really should have won it. "We played well again at Villa Park and then at Burnden, Bremner scored early and they just had the edge. Memories "It was very much a hard-luck story from our point of view because I thought we were the better team in two of the three matches. "It was just unlucky for us that Leeds were at the top of their game that season. It was all ifs and buts and I don't look back and think what might have been had we won it and made Wembley. "Could things have been different for me as United manager had we won the FA Cup? Who knows?" It is hard to imagine the difference between the two clubs now and how far Leeds have fallen. Tomorrow's tie evokes many memories from that trio of matches in 1970 but it would be a big surprise if the Reds didn't do it in 90 minutes this time. Here, M.E.N. Sport looks at what the stars of that epic clash are doing now. UNITED ALEX STEPNEY: European Cup-winning keeper who played 539 times for United is now a regular MUTV pundit. PAUL EDWARDS: The defender played 66 matches for the Reds and later played for Oldham and Stockport. Has worked since in the car business. TONY DUNNE: The left back played 534 matches for the Reds. Played at Bolton until he was 38. Later owned Altrincham golf driving range. PADDY CRERAND: Played 397 times as a cultured midfielder for Reds. Later became assistant manager. Now a popular analyst for MUTV. IAN URE: Bought from Arsenal in 1969 but it was an unsuccessful time at Old Trafford playing just 65 times. Went on to become a prison officer. Now back in Scotland. DAVID SADLER: From working in a Maidstone bank to Old Trafford. The versatile player played 328 times for the Reds. Now an M.E.N. columnist, has a promotions company and is the chairman of the United Old Boys Association. NOBBY STILES: World Cup and European Cup winning defender was key in United's late 80s youth system and became a popular after-dinner speaker. WILLIE MORGAN: First footballer in the world to have his own fan club. Played 293 times for United. Now has a sports promotion company mainly promoting golf events. CARLO SARTORI: Born in Italy and never made the grade properly at Old Trafford, appearing 40 times. Now runs a knife-sharpening business for restaurants and hotels. BOBBY CHARLTON: Part of the legendary 60s Holy Trinity along with Denis Law and George Best. Started 757 games for United. Now a club director and ambassador and a Knight of the realm. BRIAN KIDD: A teenage European Cup goalscorer in 1968. Played for both Manchester clubs and now after his appointment as second in charge to Roberto Mancini at Eastlands has been assistant boss at both club. GEORGE BEST: Arguably the greatest-ever United player. Sadly died in November 2005. DENIS LAW: The Stretford End King scored 237 goals for United in 398 matches. Now does occasional promotional work. Here is a selection of the whereabouts of the Leeds old boys. LEEDS PETER LORIMER: Had one of the hardest shots in the country. Joined the club's board in 2004. Is an ambassador for the club these days. Also runs a pub in Leeds. EDDIE GRAY: Former left winger and one-time Leeds boss works as a Leeds United pundit for Yorkshire Radio, a digital station founded by Leeds chairman Ken Bates. PAUL REANEY: Ex-full back works in hospitality at Elland Road on match days. ALLAN CLARKE: Goal machine `Sniffer' works in hospitality at Elland Road. BILLY BREMNER: The ex-Leeds and Scotland captain died on December 7, 1997. NORMAN HUNTER: Hard man `bite yer legs' Hunter still lives in Leeds and has worked in the past as a Leeds United pundit for Yorkshire Radio and BBC Radio Leeds. Recently received a World Cup winners medal having been an unused member of England's 1966 squad. JOHNNY GILES: Ex-Red and Leeds midfielder still produces a column for a newspaper in Dublin. He was recently involved in a libel case against the publishers of The Damned United, which he won. JACK CHARLTON: Brother of Bobby and 1966 World Cup winner. Went into management in 1973, retired after nine years in charge of the Irish Republic in 1995 and lives in the north east. GARY SPRAKE: A decade as Leeds goalkeeper. Worked as a council training officer in Solihull. Honoured last November by Welsh FA for his contribution to football. TERRY COOPER: Has scouted for Southampton since his managerial career ended at Exeter City in 1995. MICK JONES: After retiring he has worked on a market stall and in the pub business. PAUL MADELEY: Diagnosed with Parkinson's Disease in 2003.

Source: Manchester_EveningNews