United 87-88

The 1987–88 season was Manchester United’s 86th season in the Football League, and their 13th consecutive season in the top division of English football.
The season was a relative success, with the club finishing second in the league, but they did not play in the UEFA Cup the following season due to the ban on English clubs in Europe after the Heysel Stadium disaster. They finished nine points behind champions Liverpool, who lost just twice all season and for much of the campaign looked uncatchable. Perhaps the most memorable game of the season was in the league at Anfield just before Liverpool’s title was confirmed, when United were 3–1 down at half time but fought back to hold the hosts to a 3–3 draw, denying them two points and delaying their bid to seal the title.
United lost just five times in the league in 40 games, and lost only once at Old Trafford, but a few disappointing draws against relatively unfancied sides including Charlton and Luton led to crucial points being dropped and prevented them from mounting a serious threat to Liverpool.
It was Alex Ferguson’s first full season as United manager, and it was the first season at the club for new signings Brian McClair (who finished the season as one of the First Division’s top scorers with 24 goals) and Viv Anderson. December also saw the arrival of defender Steve Bruce from Norwich City in a £900,000 deal, after an approach for Rangers and England defender Terry Butchercollapsed when the player suffered a broken leg.
After the season’s end, Ferguson brought Mark Hughes back to Old Trafford from Barcelona in a £1.8 million deal – making him United’s record signing. He also replaced Chris Turner in goal by paying £500,000 for Jim Leighton, who played under Ferguson at Aberdeen. He also attempted to sign Paul Gascoigne from Newcastle United, and a deal was agreed, but while Ferguson was on holiday, Gascoigne agreed to join Tottenham Hotspur in the first £2 million fee to be paid by a British club.
It was the last season at United for long-serving defender Kevin Moran, who was transferred to Sporting Gijon after losing his place in the team to Steve Bruce. Remi Moses played his last game for the club before ongoing injury problems forced his retirement from playing, when still in his twenties.

Pre-season and friendlies

DateOpponentsH / AResult
F – A
ScorersAttendance
22 July 1987NæstvedA2 – 0Moran, Robson6,500
24 July 1987IS HalmiaA9 – 1Whiteside (4), Davenport (2), Strachan, Olsen, Marshall (o.g.)2,607
26 July 1987B 1903A3 – 2Robson, Davenport, McClair (pen.)2,500
28 July 1987VejleA4 – 1Anderson, Davenport, Olsen, McClair7,000
4 August 1987Manchester CityA3 – 1McClair (2), Robson20,250
5 August 1987Atlético MineiroN3 – 1McClair (3)7,150
10 August 1987Irish LeagueN0 – 010,000
21 October 1987WeymouthA0 – 14,904
28 November 1987BermudaA4 – 1Robson, McClair (pen.), Whiteside, Davenport4,200
1 December 1987Somerset TrojansA4 – 1Wilson, McClair, Knox, Olsen2,000
28 March 1988Tottenham HotspurA3 – 2Strachan (2), Davenport20,190
22 April 1988WalsallA3 – 1Whiteside, Strachan, McClair6,141
8 May 1988Manchester CityH0 – 214,898
17 May 1988MilanH2 – 3McClair, Olsen37,392

First Division

DateOpponentsH / AResult
F – A
ScorersAttendanceLeague
position
15 August 1987SouthamptonA2 – 2Whiteside (2) 25′, 31′21,21410th
19 August 1987ArsenalH0 – 043,89312th
22 August 1987WatfordH2 – 0McGrath 10′, McClair 20′38,7697th
29 August 1987Charlton AthleticA3 – 1McClair 10′, Robson 22′, McGrath 45′14,0465th
31 August 1987ChelseaH3 – 1McClair 25′, Strachan 48′, Whiteside 83′46,6161st
5 September 1987Coventry CityA0 – 027,1252nd
12 September 1987Newcastle UnitedH2 – 2Olsen 8′, McClair 45′ (pen.)45,6193rd
19 September 1987EvertonA1 – 2Whiteside 59′38,4396th
26 September 1987Tottenham HotspurH1 – 0McClair 44′ (pen.)48,0876th
3 October 1987Luton TownA1 – 1McClair 54′9,1376th
10 October 1987Sheffield WednesdayA4 – 2Robson 40′, McClair (2) 53′, 78′, Blackmore 60′32,7794th
17 October 1987Norwich CityH2 – 1Davenport 46′, Robson 80′39,8214th
24 October 1987West Ham UnitedA1 – 1Gibson 45′19,8635th
31 October 1987Nottingham ForestH2 – 2Robson 54′, Whiteside 59′44,6695th
15 November 1987LiverpoolH1 – 1Whiteside 50′47,1065th
21 November 1987WimbledonA1 – 2Blackmore 65′11,5326th
5 December 1987Queens Park RangersA2 – 0Davenport 35′, Robson 74′20,6326th
12 December 1987Oxford UnitedH3 – 1Strachan (2) 23′, 31′, Olsen 50′34,7094th
19 December 1987PortsmouthA2 – 1Robson 35′, McClair 48′22,2074th
26 December 1987Newcastle UnitedA0 – 126,4615th
28 December 1987EvertonH2 – 1McClair (2) 50′, 73′ (pen.)47,0244th
1 January 1988Charlton AthleticH0 – 037,2574th
2 January 1988WatfordA1 – 0McClair 39′18,0384th
16 January 1988SouthamptonH0 – 235,7165th
24 January 1988ArsenalA2 – 1Strachan 11′, McClair 67′29,3923rd
6 February 1988Coventry CityH1 – 0O’Brien 5′37,1443rd
10 February 1988Derby CountyA2 – 1Strachan 71′, Whiteside 88′20,0162nd
13 February 1988ChelseaA2 – 1Bruce 50′, O’Brien 52′25,0142nd
23 February 1988Tottenham HotspurA1 – 1McClair 82′25,7312nd
5 March 1988Norwich CityA0 – 119,1292nd
12 March 1988Sheffield WednesdayH4 – 1Blackmore 1′, McClair (2) 7′, 53′, Davenport 79′33,3182nd
19 March 1988Nottingham ForestA0 – 027,5982nd
26 March 1988West Ham UnitedH3 – 1Strachan 58′, Anderson 83′, Robson 90′37,2692nd
2 April 1988Derby CountyH4 – 1McClair (3) 16′, 23′, 64′, Gibson 51′40,1462nd
4 April 1988LiverpoolA3 – 3Robson (2) 3′, 66′, Strachan 77′43,4972nd
12 April 1988Luton TownH3 – 0McClair 44′, Robson 66′, Davenport 68′28,8302nd
30 April 1988Queens Park RangersH2 – 1Bruce 10′, Parker 83′ (o.g.)35,7332nd
2 May 1988Oxford UnitedA2 – 0Anderson 7′, Strachan 37′8,9662nd
7 May 1988PortsmouthH4 – 1McClair (2) 5′, 58′, Davenport 25′, Robson 35′35,1052nd
9 May 1988WimbledonH2 – 1McClair (2) 50′, 75′ (pen.)28,0402nd
PosClubPldWDLGFGAGDPts
1Liverpool40261228724+6390
2Manchester United40231257138+3381
3Nottingham Forest40201376739+2873

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
10 January 1988Round 3Ipswich TownA2 – 1D’Avray 28′ (o.g.), Anderson 64′23,012
30 January 1988Round 4ChelseaH2 – 0Whiteside 42′, McClair 70′50,716
20 February 1988Round 5ArsenalA1 – 2McClair 52′54,161

League Cup

DateRoundOpponentsH / AResult
F – A
ScorersAttendance
23 September 1987Round 2
First leg
Hull CityH5 – 0McGrath 38′, Davenport 71′, Whiteside 74′, Strachan 81′, McClair 85′25,041
7 October 1987Round 2
Second leg
Hull CityA1 – 0McClair 62′13,586
28 October 1987Round 3Crystal PalaceH2 – 1McClair (2) 7′ (pen.), 28′27,283
18 November 1987Round 4BuryH[3]2 – 1Whiteside 63′, McClair 68′33,519
20 January 1988Round 5Oxford UnitedA0 – 212,658

Football League Centenary Tournament

DateRoundOpponentsH / AResult
F – A
ScorersAttendance
16 April 1988Round 1Luton TownN2 – 0McClair, Davenport
16 April 1988Quarter-finalEvertonN1 – 0Bruce
16 April 1988Semi-finalSheffield WednesdayN1 – 2Davenport (pen.)

Squad statistics

Pos.NameLeagueFA CupLittlewoods CupTotal
AppsGoalsAppsGoalsAppsGoalsAppsGoals
GK Chris Turner2403030300
GK Gary Walsh1600020180
DF Arthur Albiston5(6)000005(6)0
DF Viv Anderson30(1)2314037(1)3
DF Clayton Blackmore15(7)31(1)03(1)019(9)3
DF Steve Bruce2123000242
DF Mike Duxbury3903050470
DF Billy Garton5(1)0002(1)07(2)0
DF Colin Gibson26(3)2205033(3)2
DF Graeme Hogg9(1)0200(1)011(2)0
DF Lee Martin0(1)000000(1)0
DF Paul McGrath21(1)2002123(1)3
DF Kevin Moran20(1)0102023(1)0
MF Remi Moses16(1)0101(1)018(2)0
MF Liam O’Brien6(11)20(2)00(2)06(15)2
MF Jesper Olsen30(7)22(1)03(1)035(9)2
MF Bryan Robson361120504311
MF Gordon Strachan33(3)8305141(3)9
FW Peter Davenport21(13)51(1)03(1)125(15)6
FW Deiniol Graham10000(1)01(1)0
FW Brian McClair402432554831
FW Norman Whiteside26(1)7315234(1)10