50th anniversary of Sir Bobby Charlton official last Man Utd game |v Chelsea, Stamford Bridge |28 April 1973


Sir Bobby was typically modest on his big farewell occasion. He apparently did not like the plan of entering the field on his own but was given a guard of honour. After collecting the gift of a silver cigarette box from Chelsea chairman Brian Mears, he went about his business out on the park but was unable to score the goal everyone craved.

Chelsea won 1-0 with a goal from Peter Osgood, to leave United in 18th place and provide more evidence that the 1968 European Cup winners needed some serious rebuilding work.

On the morning of the match, the Reds had confirmed Tony Dunne and Denis Law would be available on free transfers, eventually joining Bolton Wanderers and Manchester City, and it was clearly a time of great change.

“It’s a mammoth task replacing such an illustrious player [like Charlton],” said boss Tommy Docherty. “It’s almost an impossible job and, to my mind, there’s only one way to do it – with a big-name signing. You need a big name to replace a soccer legend. I already have three players earmarked for the job.”

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