Manchester United 1981-82

The 1981–82 season was Manchester United’s 80th season in the Football League, and their 7th consecutive season in the top division of English football. It was their first season under the management of Ron Atkinson, who had been appointed in the summer to replace Dave Sexton.
In early October, he brought midfielder Bryan Robson to Old Trafford from his former club West Bromwich Albion for a British record fee of £1.5million. He also signed fellow Albion midfielder Remi Moses for £500,000.
After constantly leading the league during the first half of the season, United finished the season third in the league and qualified for the UEFA Cup, while the league title went to Liverpool (who surged in the second half of the season after being mid table at Christmas) and Ipswich Town finished second. Late in the season came the debut of teenage forward Norman Whiteside, who at just 17 was selected for the Northern Ireland squad at the FIFA World Cup. He also scored for United on the last day of the league season in only his second senior appearance for the club.

First Division

DateOpponentsH / AResult
F – A
ScorersAttendance
29 August 1981Coventry CityA1 – 2Macari19,329
31 August 1981Nottingham ForestH0 – 051,496
5 September 1981Ipswich TownH1 – 2Stapleton45,555
12 September 1981Aston VillaA1 – 1Stapleton37,661
19 September 1981Swansea CityH1 – 0Birtles47,309
22 September 1981MiddlesbroughA2 – 0Stapleton, Birtles19,895
26 September 1981ArsenalA0 – 039,795
30 September 1981Leeds UnitedH1 – 0Stapleton47,019
3 October 1981Wolverhampton WanderersH5 – 0Stapleton, McIlroy (3), Birtles46,837
10 October 1981Manchester CityA0 – 052,037
17 October 1981Birmingham CityH1 – 1Coppell48,800
21 October 1981MiddlesbroughH1 – 0Moses38,342
24 October 1981LiverpoolA2 – 1Moran, Albiston41,438
31 October 1981Notts CountyH2 – 1Birtles, Moses45,928
7 November 1981SunderlandA5 – 1Moran, Robson, Stapleton (2), Birtles27,070
21 November 1981Tottenham HotspurA1 – 3Birtles35,534
28 November 1981Brighton & Hove AlbionH2 – 0Birtles, Stapleton41,911
5 December 1981SouthamptonA2 – 3Stapleton, Robson24,404
6 January 1982EvertonH1 – 1Stapleton40,451
23 January 1982Stoke CityA3 – 0Coppell, Stapleton (pen.), Birtles19,793
27 January 1982West Ham UnitedH1 – 0Macari41,291
30 January 1982Swansea CityA0 – 224,115
6 February 1982Aston VillaH4 – 1Moran (2), Robson, Coppell43,184
13 February 1982Wolverhampton WanderersA1 – 0Birtles22,481
20 February 1982ArsenalH0 – 043,833
27 February 1982Manchester CityH1 – 1Moran57,830
6 March 1982Birmingham CityA1 – 0Birtles19,637
17 March 1982Coventry CityH0 – 134,499
20 March 1982Notts CountyA3 – 1Coppell (2), Stapleton17,048
27 March 1982SunderlandH0 – 040,776
3 April 1982Leeds UnitedA0 – 030,953
7 April 1982LiverpoolH0 – 148,371
10 April 1982EvertonA3 – 3Coppell (2), Grimes29,306
12 April 1982West Bromwich AlbionH1 – 0Moran38,717
17 April 1982Tottenham HotspurH2 – 0Coppell (pen.), McGarvey50,724
20 April 1982Ipswich TownA1 – 2Gidman25,744
24 April 1982Brighton & Hove AlbionA1 – 0Wilkins20,750
1 May 1982SouthamptonH1 – 0McGarvey40,038
5 May 1982Nottingham ForestA1 – 0Stapleton18,449
8 May 1982West Ham UnitedA1 – 1Moran26,337
12 May 1982West Bromwich AlbionA3 – 0Robson, Birtles, Coppell19,707
15 May 1982Stoke CityH2 – 0Robson, Whiteside43,072
PosClubPldWDLGFGAGDPts
2Ipswich Town42265117553+2283
3Manchester United42221285929+3078
4Tottenham Hotspur422011116748+1971

Pld = Matches played; W = Matches won; D = Matches drawn; L = Matches lost; GF = Goals for; GA = Goals against; GD = Goal difference; Pts = Points

FA Cup

DateRoundOpponentsH / AResult
F – A
ScorersAttendance
2 January 1982Round 3WatfordA0 – 126,104

League Cup

DateRoundOpponentsH / AResult
F – A
ScorersAttendance
7 October 1981Round 2
First leg
Tottenham HotspurA0 – 139,333
28 October 1981Round 2
Second leg
Tottenham HotspurH0 – 155,890

Squad statistics

Pos.NameLeagueFA CupMilk CupTotal
AppsGoalsAppsGoalsAppsGoalsAppsGoals
GK Gary Bailey3901020420
GK Paddy Roche30000030
DF Arthur Albiston4211020451
DF Martin Buchan2701020300
DF Mike Duxbury19(5)0000(1)019(6)0
DF John Gidman36(1)1102039(1)1
DF Gordon McQueen2100000210
DF Kevin Moran3071020337
DF Jimmy Nicholl0(1)000000(1)0
MF Steve Coppell35(1)9002037(1)9
MF Alan Davies10000010
MF Ashley Grimes9(1)100009(1)1
MF Lou Macari10(1)20(1)00010(2)2
MF Sammy McIlroy1231010143
MF Remi Moses20(1)2101022(1)2
MF Bryan Robson3251020355
MF Ray Wilkins4211020451
FW Garry Birtles32(1)11102035(1)11
FW Scott McGarvey10(6)2000010(6)2
FW Frank Stapleton411310204413
FW Norman Whiteside1(1)100001(1)1