Docherty was managing Scotland with Jimmy Johnstone, Kenny Dalglish, Billy Bremner, Peter Lorimer, Denis Law, Lou Macari, Martin Buchan calling them "the most talented squad the national team has ever been able to call upon" who were well on their way to qualify for 1974 World Cup. Sir Matt Busby poached him after consulting seniors in the team from Scotland. With the retirement of Sir Bobby Charlton at the end of the season MUFC board had a huge outlay for transfers and Doc brought four Scottish players in Alex Forsyth, George Graham, Lou Macari and Jim Holton to being dubbed the first million dollar team. Drew 1-1 with Leeds United in his first match and once played eight Scottish players in a league match against West Ham. Incidentally MUFC lost to Arsenal in the first match of '73 and went out of the FA Cup to Wolves 0-1. MUFC avoided relegation by finishing 18th but the next season they succumbed.
Docherty' reign preceded with the sacking of George Best simultaneously with that of previous manager Frank O'Farrell and the Ulsterman was persuaded to re-join briefly between Oct '73 to Jan '74 [Won 2, Drew 4, Lost 7, scored twice]. Charlton ended his career in his first season and then Doc transfer listed Denis Law who joined local rivals City to send MUFC infamously into the second division with his back heel. End of the United Trinity of Ballon d'Or winners with 287 most amazing matches between them starting with 4-1 win over West Brom when all three scored on 18, Jan 1964 to 28, Oct 1972 in a 1-4 loss to Tottenham!
To call the rebuild task as monumental might also be an understatement: Tommy Cavanagh as his assistant to instill discipline in the squad, appointed Brentford manager Frank Blunstone as youth coach: Arthur Albiston, Gerry Daly, Brian Greenhoff, David McCreery, Jimmy Nicholl came to the fore; moved Sammy McIlroy to midfield, gave MUFC their identity back in Steve Coppell and Gordon Hill on the wings, shrewd purchase of Stan Pearson and Jimmy Greenhoff who reserved his special for Liverpool, won promotion immediately finishing 3rd in the league and reached the FA Cup final in '76, Stopped LFC from winning the treble with that '77 FA Cup win. MUFC became the 1st English team to win the European treble under Ferguson in 1999. Led MUFC back in Europe for the first time since Busby with UEFA Cup beating Ajax but lost to Juventus in the next round despite winning the 1st leg 1-0 with a Gordon Hill masterclass while the absence of skipper Marin Buchan cost the 2nd leg.
Doc was last at Old Trafford in 2014 the experience apparently that left him sore "I won’t be back at United after them charging me for my tickets about three years ago. I got an invoice for £88 for two seats so that was it for me. If I fancy a game locally I’ll phone up Mike Summerbee at City and they always look after me. But I’m done with United." Dave Sexton who did the double over MUFC with modest Coventry might have been at Old Trafford assisting numerous England coaches. While Ron Atkinson upset MUFC with Sheffield Wednesday in League Cup final and appears on MUTV quite regularly. Doc never managed to be at a club for more than 2 seasons after his MUFC tenure and later confessed to be regretful about leaving Scotland for MUFC.
Clearly the reasons are not football related but the rebuild that has lasted till Ferguson's appointment does not justify the impertinence shown towards Tommy Docherty now in his 90's. He should have been invited for the opening game of this season which was against Doc's Chelsea for whom he played, managed and changed their colours from White to Blue. Wolves the last major club he managed whom MUFC face in the FA Cup 3rd round replay at Old Trafford this Wednesday offers the club another chance.
On this day: 14-Jan-1969 Sir Matt Busby announced his decision to retire at the end of the season and become general manager at MUFC.