Season 1972/73
original illustrations of the kits worn during the season

Home Kit (long-sleeved)
Home Kit (short-sleeved Aertex)
Playing Record in this kit:

P43 W15 D15 L13 F50 A53

This kit was worn in the following matches:
Date Opposition Date Opposition Date Opposition Date Opposition
12/8 Ipswich T (h) 19/8 Everton (a) 23/8 Leicester (h) 26/8 Arsenal (h)
30/8 Chelsea (h) 6/9 Oxford U (a) 9/9 Coventry (h) 12/9 Oxford U (h)
16/9 Wolves (a) 23/9 Derby Co (h) 3/10 Bristol R (a) 7/10 West Brom (a)
11/10 Bristol R (h) 14/10 Birmingham (h) 21/10 Newcastle U (a) 28/10 Spurs (h)
4/11 Leicester (a) 11/11 Liverpool (h) 18/11 Man City(h) 25/11 Southampton (h)
2/12 Norwich C (a) 9/12 Stoke C (h) 16/12 C Palace (a) 23/12 Leeds U (h)
13/1 Wolves (h) 20/1 West Ham (h) 24/1 Everton (h) 27/1 Coventry (a)
10/2 Wolves (h) 21/2 Fiorentina (h) 3/3 West Brom (h) 10/3 Birmingham (a)
17/3 Newcastle U (h) 21/3 Lazio (a) 24/3 Spurs (a) 4/4 Bari (h)
7/4 Norwich C (h) 11/4 C Palace (h) 18/4 Leeds U (a) 21/4 Man City (h)
23/4 Sheff Utd (h) 24/4 Chelsea (a) 2/5 Verona (a)    
Third Kit (long-sleeved)
Third Kit (short-sleeved Aertex)
Playing Record in this kit:

P4 W0 D2 L2 F4 A7

This kit was worn in the following matches:
Date Opposition Date Opposition Date Opposition Date Opposition
15/8 Liverpool (a) 2/9 West Ham (a) 30/9 Sheff Utd (a) 14/4 Stoke C (a)
Home Kit

The Season in brief

O'Farrell paid £200,000 for Bournemouth's Ted MacDougall in September to remedy the side's lack of goals, but United failed to win any of their first ten matches. MacDougall, after five goals in eighteen games, was sold, for £150,000, just five months later by United's new manager, Tommy Docherty.

The 5-0 defeat at Selhurst Park by fellow stragglers Crystal Palace on December 16th proved to be O'Farrell's last game in charge. He was sacked three days later and the 'Doc' appointed as his successor. Busby's mediation between O'Farrell and Best, who had been placed on the transfer list, probably did as much to undermine his position as the results.

Docherty had made his name as manager of Chelsea in the sixties, and his teams were known for their open, attacking style. He immediately set about rebuilding the side, buying five players within weeks of arriving at Old Trafford (George Graham, Alex Forsyth, Jim Holton, Lou Macari and Mick Martin).

He guided the club to safety, an eighteenth place finish, but the team played dour, defensive football. Bobby Charlton, after 763 senior appearances, retired at the end of the season.

For the first time in their history the club's badge was included on United shirts on all three kits. This allowed United to begin retailing replica kits, albeit tentatively at first since the market was untested. Contributor Mark Gale remembers having the third kit, complete with transfer printed club badge as a youngster. In all probability replica kits would have been made available in youth sizes as the market for adult shirts simply did not exist. We have no details of the cost of the replica kits but it would be safe to assume they attracted a premium over the generic versions.

The badge aside there were no other changes to the kits. Shirts were available with both long and short sleeves and as the choice of sleeve length was left up to individual players, both styles were worn in the same game. Both the home and third shirts had a short-sleeved version made from Aertex, which was worn at the beginning and at the end of the season.

Sean Moran has discovered United wore a white sock with thin red and black bands at Ipswich, and we are grateful to Athanasios Papathanasiou for sending us comprehensive details of the kits worn in each game.

Can you help identify the kits worn by United in the games at Derby County on 26/12/972 and at Southampton on 31/3/1973