Everybody at Manchester United is deeply saddened to learn that our former manager, Frank O’Farrell, has died. He was 94.
While Frank’s 18-month reign at the United helm was an undulating affair, there is no shred of doubt that he was a talented manager and a man of unimpeachable integrity. The abiding frustration is what might have been. At the time of his exit shortly before Christmas 1972, the dignified, softly spoken Irishman’s Old Trafford sojourn could be described as a tale of two vividly contrasting autumns.
In the first autumn, following his appointment in June 1971 to replace Sir Matt Busby, who had returned to the hot-seat as caretaker, O’Farrell led a deliciously entertaining side to a five-point lead in the title race, even if it was, ultimately, Derby County who topped the table at the season’s end.
Alas, in the second autumn, his misfiring, injury-hit Reds endured a poor sequence of results and a heavy defeat at Crystal Palace spelled the end for O’Farrell’s tenure.