Salford author Roy Cavanagh MBE has released his new book ‘The Big Manchester United Book Of The Seventies’, after spending a long time developing the 400-plus page hardback.
Co-written with Carl Abbott, the book features more than 400 colourful glossy pages of Manchester United’s highly eventful decade. Accompanied by a delightful foreword from former club captain Martin Buchan, details almost everything about United during the seventies, comprising match reports of every home and away game, as well as never seen before photos.
The book also boasts many interviews with former players of the era, with a vast amount of information and statistics season-by-season. It also features coverage of a wide range of fixtures including friendlies, testimonials, central league, junior and FA Youth cup matches.
Growing up in Salford’s Dock area (now Media City), Roy, 74, remembers the days gone by in Salford where men in cloth caps stood around the docks hoping for a day’s pay, waiting for a nod from the foreman.
A historian and author of more than 30 books predominately on football and Cricket, he has followed United since the 1950s.
He witnessed the magnificent Busby Babes side as a child, all the way up to the tragic Munich air disaster of 1958 which affected him greatly even at a young age.
Having written many books with Carl, the writing duo have come together once again, this time to tell the whole story of United during the decade of the seventies.
He said: “A publisher got in touch with me regarding the seventies, he had done books on Brentford and Aston Villa.
“So he had a format and I was recommended by the Villa author to do the book on United.
“What’s interesting about the decade is that during the first three years, Best, Law and Charlton were still around.
“Social media wasn’t around back then so if we lost 4-0 you wouldn’t have people saying Busby out, O’Farrell out or Docherty out.
“Of course, we went down during the 1973-74 season.
“The football from August 1973 to March 1974 was awful, we were doomed to go down, we had no striker to replace Law, no midfielder to replace Charlton, no world-star to replace Best, we moved Buchan out to left back and we let Tony Dunne go, we were asking for it.
“If social media was around Docherty would have gone, but thankfully we just roared back after that.
“The younger players started to come through and what followed was three glorious years.”
It was whilst working within the construction industry where Roy simultaneously wrote many of his books, but it wasn’t until he was aged 30 where he began to pursue writing passionately.
Previously, Roy had been writing letters into Manchester’s sport papers.
He added: “Manchester used to have two sports papers in the fifties and sixties, they had a pink and a green.
“By the seventies it was just The Football Pink and they used to have a letters page, so I would write in and they would be printed.”
From there Roy went on to write in Manchester United’s club programme for a number of years before writing books.
He was awarded an MBE for his services to the construction industry, where he his is highly regarded for offering apprenticeship schemes to young people across Salford and the UK.
Roy recently met Martin Buchan to give him a copy of the new book which he wrote a fantastic foreword in.
Still buzzing after meeting Martin Buchan with @RoyMBE before the match yesterday. One of United's great captains and a class act both on and off the pitch. The perfect man to write the foreword to our book.https://t.co/qgHYMZHTwU pic.twitter.com/0qMsFyqZ4j
— Carl Abbott (Legacy Fan) (@CarlAbbott1) December 6, 2021
Roy said: “Martin wanted to write the entire foreword himself, so he wrote the 3000 words.
“I naturally asked why he hasn’t done a book, but he said this is the closest you’ll ever see to a book from him.
“He’s a very intelligent man and is well educated, he has some great stories.
— Roy Cavanagh MBE (@RoyMBE) December 5, 2021
“He was quite trenchant on his thoughts too, he felt some of the senior players let Frank O’Farrell down and that they should have tried harder and that was what got him the sack.”
Roy’s book has already been met with positive responses from readers.
One reader said: “Unbelievable Roy Cavanagh MBE. When you showed me the actual finished product I was stunned at the quality and content” – Allan Milne on LinkedIn.
Another said: “This is a great book for anyone like me who grew up watching United in the 70s. Great pictures, great stats, player profiles. The section on the reserve central league is great with the line ups” – Amazon customer.