Our heroes return unbeaten from a trip to Sweden. As the programme notes say, "United have found their many visits to Scandanavia most fruitful. The teams encountered were mediocre to say the least but nevertheless the Swedes were in the middle of their season and United found their opposition full of running which was just what the doctor ordered to bring our players up to fitness for the 'big kick-off'."
Three wins and two draws against Swedish giants:
Squad: Carr, Brownlie, Kelly, Davies, Houtsonan, Boam, Wharton, Carney, Cartwright, Ferguson, Hibbitt, Rafferty, Shoulder, Clarke, Shinton, and "young Scot" Ray Montogomerie.
Scorers: Rafferty(2), Shinton, Clarke, Davies, Brownlie, Cartwright and "young Scot" Montgomerie.
Then it was up to Tynecastle for a run-out against Bobby Moncur's Yachting XI. Apparently Bobby Shinton was "showing flashes of his old form" and sadly "we saw John Brownlie hobble off after a tackle and into the hands of the surgeon". Shinton scored but Hearts equalise. 1-1.
First Division Leeds provided our final warm-up opposition and "Dutch Under-21 star Frans Koernen"(sic) does "wonders for the side." The "chunky fair-haired scheamer" (sic again) "looked streets ahead of anyone else in the middle of the park" (Leazes Park??). A Davies penalty and Rafferty goal enable us to draw 2-2.
Russell Cushing helps McGarry clinch the Koenen deal after breaking a morning appointment with his kids to take them swimming. "Twenty pence and a promise to be back by lunch time was enough to get me out of the front door unscathed."
Russell goes on to ease our minds. "The swimming baths? Well we finally made it around 7.15, ten hours later than promised. With me at the deep end, being shown my first red card of the season". Russ you're a trooper.
Sheff Wed (a) Sat Aug 16th 1980
Disgraceful start to the season. Steve Carney gets sent off and WPC Karen Nicholson gets a good kicking from the Geordie hordes. Karen is, apparently, a "bonny 22 year old lassie from Sheffield". We lost 2-0.
IF WE AS A CLUB - OR BILL McGARRY AS AN INDIVIDUAL - HAD WANTED A BLACK AND WHITE ARMY, WE WOULD HAVE INTRODUCED CONSCRIPTION. ARE THINGS NOT BAD ENOUGH IN THE NORTH-EAST, INDUSTRIALLY OR SOCIALLY, THAT WE HAVE TO TOLERATE THE SORT OF PUBLICITY THAT THIS BEHAVIOUR BRINGS US?
So says the programme.
Carney's sending off - an innocuous obstruction that Mr Ken Walmsley punishes with his second booking after deep consultation with his little black book - sees us capitulate to two late Sheff Wed goals.
(Sunday): "Watched Match of the Day - United were on".
Journal Merit Marks: Carr 7, Kelly 6, Davies 7, Cartwright 6, Boam 6, Carney 6, Rafferty 7, Shinton 6, Clarke 5, Wharton 8, Koenen 6.
Kenny Wharton takes an early lead:
Next week - Notts County and chief vampire Jimmy Sirrell come to visit....