It’s 40 years since the great Man Utd became victims at the Shay

George Best for Man U v Halifax at the Shay on 31/7/71
George Best for Man U v Halifax at the Shay on 31/7/71

Tomorrow marks the 40th anniversary of one of Halifax Town’s most famous ever results.

On July 31 1971, Manchester United and their big name stars, George Best, Denis Law and Bobby Charlton, visited the Shay for a pre-season game in the now defunct Watney Cup.

United had been European Champions just three seasons earlier and the match captured the imagination of Town fans, with a crowd of 19,965 which hasn’t been beaten since.

The Match of the Day camera’s and commentator Barry Davies were also in attendance.

Town won the match 2-1, with Bill Atkins nodding the hosts in front on three minutes. They doubled their advantage on 26 minutes when Bob Wallace converted a penalty - just a minute after keeper Alex Smith saved a spot kick by United’s Willie Morgan at the other end.

Best himself pulled one back for United after he converted a penalty he won on 82 minutes, but Town survived late United pressure to claim one of the clubs most famous ever victories.

Historian Johnny Meynell said: “It was true that United were not the force they once were, but their side still included a host of famous names, such as Bobby Charlton, who had 106 England caps, Scotland international striker Denis Law, and the mercurial George Best, perhaps the most famous name in world football.”

The club’s annual open day is on Sunday August 7 at the Shay from noon.

The official kit for the coming season launched at 12.15pm and there will be a host of stalls, a chance to meet the players, a legends game and the release of Johnny’s book, Halifax Town: The Complete Record.