Competition: Inter-Cities Fairs Cup Final First Leg.
Ferencvaros: Geczi; Novak, Pancsics; Havasi, Juhasz, Szucs; Szoke, Varga, Albert, Rakosi, Fenyvesi (Balint).
Referee: Rudolph Scheuber (
The decision to play the 196768 Final at the beginning of
the 1968/69 season backfired on United financially. The First Leg at
After battling through to their second successive
Inter-Cities Fairs Cup Final, this time United were
intent on getting their name inscribed on the trophy. They were able to field
their acknowledged first choice team with the exception of winger Mike O’Grady
and the game went ahead in the week prior to the opening games in the new
season of 1968-69. Ferencvaros coach, Dr Karoly Lahat, sent his powerful
team out at
The Hungarians had the first chance to score when an error
by Jack Charlton, who was under no pressure, let in Istvan
Szoke, but the midfielder squandered the chance.
United let an even easier chance go begging minutes later. Goalkeeper Istvan Geczi badly miss-hit a
free-kick and it went straight to Mick Jones near the edge of the penalty area.
Jones quickly fed the ball inside to Peter Lorimer
but the Scot’s shot was well saved by the grateful Geczi.
In another breakaway Mate Fenyvesi sprinted down the
wing and crossed to the unmarked Istvan Szoke, clear in front of goal, but he took too long to
control it and the chance was lost.
Peter Lorimer made amends for his earlier lapse in the fortieth minute by swinging in a corner for Jack Charlton, standing virtually under the cross-bar, to nod down for Mick Jones to bundle the ball over the line, leaving the Hungarians complaining that Charlton had impeded their goalkeeper. Ferencvaros replied with some controlled football and their quick breaks almost brought success. First Florian Albert opened the United rearguard with Istvan Szoke putting the chance wide, then Gary Sprake pulled off the save of the match, with a twisting leap to his left and brilliantly taking the ball sideways in the air, to prevent Gyula Rakosi equalising.
Johnny Giles went off after sixty-five minutes suffering from concussion and blurred vision and was replaced by Jimmy Greenhoff, while Ferencvaros replaced Mate Fenyvesi with Laszlo Balint. Five minutes later it was Rod Belfitt replacing the brave Mick Jones, who had clashed with the Hungarian keeper. Jones was in full stride, going for a long ball down the middle and Geczi raced from his line in an attempt to intercept. Both players went down, inside the penalty area, but while Istvan Geczi got to his feet quick enough, Jones lay inert, and was finally carried from the field.
Mick Jones described the incident, “Against Ferencvaros I had to take some punishment. As the target-man I always expected a tough game, but the Hungarians were really cynical. I remember an incident with their goalkeeper Geczi when we both went for a fifty-fifty ball. As I went for the ball he came out and jumped up with his leg in the air and hit me straight in the middle. I thought he had broken me in two. Luckily I jack-knifed to take the blow instead of taking the hit straight in the stomach. Nowadays he would have been sent off but he got away with it. I was carried off.” Manager Revie was not too pleased about the incident or the Ferencvaros tactics in general saying, “They were body checking, deliberately handling the ball and obstructing, some of it was diabolically clever and well screened. Mick Jones has been lucky. He was kicked in the groin and it is sore, but it could have been worse.”
Both teams missed scoring soon afterwards. First United
should have doubled their lead but Jimmy Greenhoff shot
weakly from inside the six-yard box. Then Gyula Rakosi was foiled by Gary Sprake’s
brilliance. In the end after ninety gruelling minutes, during which United lost
star players Johnny Giles, with double vision, and Mick Jones, as a result of
his collision with the Ferencvaros keeper, to
injuries early in the second half and had to field two substitutes, the
score-line showed a solitary goal advantage to United. Critics complained that
there were not many thrills or highlights in the game and that United’s lead would not be sufficient to win the Cup,
especially as the second leg was in
It was a brave public face, as Ferencvaros
were rated as the finest team in
Mick Jones’ winning goal from all kinds of angles!
Big Jack Charlton climbs high to win a heading duel as Mick Jones and Billy Bremner look on
Paul Madeley and Norman Hunter try to block Szoke’s shot
Mick Jones was injured in a challenge by the Ferencvaros keeper Geczi
…….he had to be carried off and played no further part in the game