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1977: Manchester United sack manager

Manchester United manager Tommy Docherty has been sensationally sacked by the club's directors.

A statement from the football club's board found him in breach of his contract following a meeting today.

Docherty caused shock at the club two weeks ago when he announced he was leaving his wife after 27 years of marriage, for a woman 18 years his junior.

After United won the FA Cup against Liverpool in May the manager thought his job was safe.

"The board want me to stay and that's terrific," he said after admitting his affair.

The directors' announcement did not mention the 49-year old Scot's controversial affair with the wife of the club's physiotherapist, Laurie Brown.


"It was a bombshell"

Tommy Docherty

On hearing the news of his dismissal Docherty said he was "a bit shattered". "I certainly did not expect this. It was a bombshell. I thought I would have been judged on my playing record, like Wembley in two successive years," the father of four continued.

Club directors recalled him from holiday in the Lake District last week after coming under pressure from players' wives.

Speaking from the Cheshire home of girlfriend Mary Brown, 31, Docherty explained he had been asked to resign but refused because he did not think he had done anything wrong.

The relationship between Docherty and mother of two Mrs Brown has developed over the past three years.

Tommy Docherty - known as the Doc - joined United in December 1972 and still had ten months of his 20,000-a-year contract to run.

He had just renegotiated another four year contract, said to be worth 100,000, but this remains unsigned.

Docherty, in consultation with solicitors over compensation from United, would not comment on rumours of a move to Derby County, who tried to lure him with a lucrative deal a few weeks ago.

In Context
Within days of his dismissal Docherty appeared in public with a black eye he had received from jilted Laurie Brown.

He decided to sue club chairman, Louis Edwards, and Willie Morgan of Granada TV for defamation.

After approaches from clubs in the Middle East and Norway, Docherty eventually signed for Derby County in September 1977.

In the 1980s and 1990s he worked as a football pundit and after-dinner speaker.


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