Frank O'Farrell, Manchester United manager

About Man Utd - an encyclopaedia of Manchester United Football Club

About Man Utd - an encyclopaedia of Manchester United Football Club
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  League Division One 64 24 16 24 89 95
  FA Cup 7 3 3 1 12 5
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  All matches 81 30 24 27 115 111
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Man Utd
Francis O'Farrell
 Birth place:Cork
Nationality:Southern Irish
Date of birth:9 October 1927
  MU Career
First match:14 August 1971, aged 43
Last match:16 December 1972, aged 44
MU career:1.3 years
Details last checked/updated: 2 April 2014

All matches(81)

Man Utd
home team
away team
 1Sat 14 Aug 1971League Division OneDerby County2 - 2MUThe Baseball Ground
 2Wed 18 Aug 1971League Division OneChelsea2 - 3MUStamford Bridge
 3Fri 20 Aug 1971League Division OneMU3 - 1ArsenalAnfield
 4Mon 23 Aug 1971League Division OneMU3 - 1West Bromwich AlbionVictoria Ground
 5Sat 28 Aug 1971League Division OneWolverhampton Wanderers1 - 1MUMolineux
 6Tue 31 Aug 1971League Division OneEverton1 - 0MUGoodison Park
 7Sat 4 Sep 1971League Division OneMU1 - 0Ipswich TownOld Trafford
 8Tue 7 Sep 1971League CupIpswich Town1 - 3MUPortman Road
 9Sat 11 Sep 1971League Division OneCrystal Palace1 - 3MUSelhurst Park
 10Sat 18 Sep 1971League Division OneMU4 - 2West Ham UnitedOld Trafford
 11Sat 25 Sep 1971League Division OneLiverpool2 - 2MUAnfield
 12Sat 2 Oct 1971League Division OneMU2 - 0Sheffield UnitedOld Trafford
 13Wed 6 Oct 1971League CupMU1 - 1BurnleyOld Trafford
 14Sat 9 Oct 1971League Division OneHuddersfield Town0 - 3MULeeds Road
 15Sat 16 Oct 1971League Division OneMU1 - 0Derby CountyOld Trafford
 16Mon 18 Oct 1971League CupBurnley0 - 1MUTurf Moor
 17Sat 23 Oct 1971League Division OneNewcastle United0 - 1MUSt James' Park
 18Wed 27 Oct 1971League CupMU1 - 1Stoke CityOld Trafford
 19Sat 30 Oct 1971League Division OneMU0 - 1Leeds UnitedOld Trafford
 20Sat 6 Nov 1971League Division OneManchester City3 - 3MUMaine Road
 21Mon 8 Nov 1971League CupStoke City0 - 0MUVictoria Ground
 22Sat 13 Nov 1971League Division OneMU3 - 1Tottenham HotspurOld Trafford
 23Mon 15 Nov 1971League CupStoke City2 - 1MUVictoria Ground
 24Sat 20 Nov 1971League Division OneMU3 - 2Leicester CityOld Trafford
 25Sat 27 Nov 1971League Division OneSouthampton2 - 5MUThe Dell
 26Sat 4 Dec 1971League Division OneMU3 - 2Nottingham ForestOld Trafford
 27Sat 11 Dec 1971League Division OneStoke City1 - 1MUVictoria Ground
 28Sat 18 Dec 1971League Division OneIpswich Town0 - 0MUPortman Road
 29Mon 27 Dec 1971League Division OneMU2 - 2Coventry CityOld Trafford
 30Sat 1 Jan 1972League Division OneWest Ham United3 - 0MUUpton Park
 31Sat 8 Jan 1972League Division OneMU1 - 3Wolverhampton WanderersOld Trafford
 32Sat 15 Jan 1972FA CupSouthampton1 - 1MUThe Dell
 33Wed 19 Jan 1972FA CupMU4 - 1SouthamptonOld Trafford
 34Sat 22 Jan 1972League Division OneMU0 - 1ChelseaOld Trafford
 35Sat 29 Jan 1972League Division OneWest Bromwich Albion2 - 1MUThe Hawthorns
 36Sat 5 Feb 1972FA CupPreston North End0 - 2MUDeepdale
 37Sat 12 Feb 1972League Division OneMU0 - 2Newcastle UnitedOld Trafford
 38Sat 19 Feb 1972League Division OneLeeds United5 - 1MUElland Road
 39Sat 26 Feb 1972FA CupMU0 - 0MiddlesbroughOld Trafford
 40Tue 29 Feb 1972FA CupMiddlesbrough0 - 3MUAyresome Park
 41Sat 4 Mar 1972League Division OneTottenham Hotspur2 - 0MUWhite Hart Lane
 42Wed 8 Mar 1972League Division OneMU0 - 0EvertonOld Trafford
 43Sat 11 Mar 1972League Division OneMU2 - 0Huddersfield TownOld Trafford
 44Sat 18 Mar 1972FA CupMU1 - 1Stoke CityOld Trafford
 45Wed 22 Mar 1972FA CupStoke City2 - 1MUVictoria Ground
 46Sat 25 Mar 1972League Division OneMU4 - 0Crystal PalaceOld Trafford
 47Sat 1 Apr 1972League Division OneCoventry City2 - 3MUHighfield Road
 48Mon 3 Apr 1972League Division OneMU0 - 3LiverpoolOld Trafford
 49Tue 4 Apr 1972League Division OneSheffield United1 - 1MUBramall Lane
 50Sat 8 Apr 1972League Division OneLeicester City2 - 0MUFilbert Street
 51Wed 12 Apr 1972League Division OneMU1 - 3Manchester CityOld Trafford
 52Sat 15 Apr 1972League Division OneMU3 - 2SouthamptonOld Trafford
 53Sat 22 Apr 1972League Division OneNottingham Forest0 - 0MUCity Ground
 54Tue 25 Apr 1972League Division OneArsenal3 - 0MUHighbury
 55Sat 29 Apr 1972League Division OneMU3 - 0Stoke CityOld Trafford
 56Sat 12 Aug 1972League Division OneMU1 - 2Ipswich TownOld Trafford
 57Tue 15 Aug 1972League Division OneLiverpool2 - 0MUAnfield
 58Sat 19 Aug 1972League Division OneEverton2 - 0MUGoodison Park
 59Wed 23 Aug 1972League Division OneMU1 - 1Leicester CityOld Trafford
 60Sat 26 Aug 1972League Division OneMU0 - 0ArsenalOld Trafford
 61Wed 30 Aug 1972League Division OneMU0 - 0ChelseaOld Trafford
 62Sat 2 Sep 1972League Division OneWest Ham United2 - 2MUUpton Park
 63Wed 6 Sep 1972League CupOxford United2 - 2MUManor Ground
 64Sat 9 Sep 1972League Division OneMU0 - 1Coventry CityOld Trafford
 65Tue 12 Sep 1972League CupMU3 - 1Oxford UnitedOld Trafford
 66Sat 16 Sep 1972League Division OneWolverhampton Wanderers2 - 0MUMolineux
 67Sat 23 Sep 1972League Division OneMU3 - 0Derby CountyOld Trafford
 68Sat 30 Sep 1972League Division OneSheffield United1 - 0MUBramall Lane
 69Tue 3 Oct 1972League CupBristol Rovers1 - 1MUEastville Stadium
 70Sat 7 Oct 1972League Division OneWest Bromwich Albion2 - 2MUThe Hawthorns
 71Wed 11 Oct 1972League CupMU1 - 2Bristol RoversOld Trafford
 72Sat 14 Oct 1972League Division OneMU1 - 0Birmingham CityOld Trafford
 73Sat 21 Oct 1972League Division OneNewcastle United2 - 1MUSt James' Park
 74Sat 28 Oct 1972League Division OneMU1 - 4Tottenham HotspurOld Trafford
 75Sat 4 Nov 1972League Division OneLeicester City2 - 2MUFilbert Street
 76Sat 11 Nov 1972League Division OneMU2 - 0LiverpoolOld Trafford
 77Sat 18 Nov 1972League Division OneManchester City3 - 0MUMaine Road
 78Sat 25 Nov 1972League Division OneMU2 - 1SouthamptonOld Trafford
 79Sat 2 Dec 1972League Division OneNorwich City0 - 2MUCarrow Road
 80Sat 9 Dec 1972League Division OneMU0 - 2Stoke CityOld Trafford
 81Sat 16 Dec 1972League Division OneCrystal Palace5 - 0MUSelhurst Park
About Man Utd - TipIn the matches table above, where MU * (or NH *) appears in the home team column, it indicates a match played at a neutral venue.

Manager profile

Frank O’Farrell was the second manager to follow Matt Busby. He didn’t last any longer than the first. Like Wilf McGuinness, O’Farrell was sacked after just eighteen months in the job.

Frank O’Farrell had considerable experience as a player, mainly with West Ham United and Preston North End. When he finished playing he went into management, firstly with Weymouth, then Torquay United, then Leicester City. In 1970-1971 Sir Matt Busby completed the season begun by Wilf McGuinness, but he didn’t wish to continue any further. Rumour had it that he wanted Jock Stein of Celtic to replace him, but Stein wouldn’t come. Instead, the club appointed Frank O’Farrell, impressed by O’Farrell’s work at Leicester City.

O’Farrell’s first season, 1971-1972, began well and, by Christmas, Manchester United were top of the League. In the new year, they then lost seven successive matches, slipped down the table, and finished in eighth place. The following season, 1972-1973, they began badly. They lost five and drew four of their first nine games. Further defeats followed culminating, in December, in a 5-0 defeat by Crystal Palace. A few days later O’Farrell was sacked.

O’Farrell had to manage a team in transition. The United Trinity were still playing, but weren’t what they were. Denis Law and Bobby Charlton were nearing the ends of their careers and George Best was becoming ever more difficult to manage. On the field it sometimes seemed that Best was carrying the team, off it he was in danger of undermining team morale. O’Farrell brought in some new players, notably Sammy McIlroy and Martin Buchan. Both made hundreds of appearances for Manchester United and Buchan was club captain for seven years. Other transfer targets suggested by O’Farrell weren’t pursued. There was a lingering suspicion that Busby still had the ear of the board. In the dressing room there was a fractious atmosphere that O’Farrell seemed unable to heal.

As a man, O’Farrell was well thought of. As a manager of Manchester United many felt he didn’t make the grade. He was disciplined and methodical but without the necessary authority. The one who did have the authority was still there - and that was partly the problem. After leaving Old Trafford, O’Farrell managed various other sides including Cardiff City, the Iranian national team and, for two further stints, Torquay United.

About Man Utd - TipThe tables below cover Frank O'Farrell's 81 matches in charge.

No. of matches

Man Utd
 92John Bentley(1912 - 1914)
 88Wilf McGuinness(1969 - 1970)
 81Frank O'Farrell(1971 - 1972)
 48David Moyes(2013 - 2014)
 31Clarence Hilditch(1926 - 1927)
Manchester United Managers - Matches
About Man Utd - TipComparison with leading manager: Alex Ferguson

Win percentage

Man Utd
 39.1%John Chapman(1921 - 1926)
 39.0%Walter Crickmer(1931 - 1939)
 37.0%Frank O'Farrell(1971 - 1972)
 36.4%Wilf McGuinness(1969 - 1970)
 31.4%Jack Robson(1915 - 1921)
Manchester United Managers - Matches
About Man Utd - TipWin percentage pie chart
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