Man Utd beat Arsenal at Anfield in front of 27,000 crowd after Old Trafford ban

Manchester United once took on Arsenal in front of just 27,000 spectators at the famous ground of rivals Liverpool after Old Trafford was forced into closure.

United played a home fixture in Merseyside against the Gunners and another at Stoke City's ground having been punished for crowd problems which occurred at the end of the previous season.

The Red Devils were made to play their first two fixtures of the 1971/72 away from Old Trafford – creating the unexpected situation of United fans calling the Kop their temporary home.

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United weren't able to return to Manchester until their third home game of the season, with the likes of George Best, Bobby Charlton, Denis Law and Brian Kidd heading to Anfield's home dressing room on August 20 1971.

They went on to win the fixture by three goals to one thanks to Charlton, Kidd and Alan Gowling – with Frank McLintock scoring for an Arsenal side that included Pat Rice and George Graham.

United would return to Old Trafford in early September having won at both Anfield and Stoke's Victoria Ground – going on to finish eighth in the First Division table.

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United's goalkeeper at the time Alex Stepney said of their home game at Anfield in a chat with the Guardian: "I vaguely remember that we had to play two games away from Old Trafford, but I can't recall that match.

"I thought I'd only ever won one match at Anfield, when we beat Liverpool 4-1 [in December 1969] – so I can add a second win now."

Former Liverpool club secretary Peter Robinson was tasked with helping to organise the fixture, which took place before Liverpool and United were the rivals they would become.

He said: "The rivalry has changed.

"It turned into Manchester United when they had this terrific emergence but before that I can remember them being relegated [in 1974] and having some really difficult times.

"I can also remember United supporters standing in the Kop. It wouldn't happen today, would it?"


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