Rare 1976 program from a short Manchester United tour of North America., poached from Dave Morrison’s killer NASLJerseys.com site. Dave has compiled a massive list of North American Soccer League friendlies against international clubs from the late 1960′s through early 1980′s. Definitely worth a look.
The attraction of playing against one of the best clubs in the world wasn’t quite enough for the management of the Lamar Hunt-owned Dallas Tornado, who hosted the match at Ownby Stadium on the campus of Southern Methodist University. So it was also “Howard Hughes’ Will Night”. Every fan received a facsimile copy of Hughes’ purported last will and testament at the front gate. A lottery number on the back promised one lucky Texan a trip to the Bahamas where the billionaire hermit died in a penthouse suite at the Xanada Princess Resort a month earlier.
The 15,000 or so on hand got a decent game too. United open the scoring in the 13th minute when 18-year old Northern Ireland international David McCreery beat Tornado goalkeeper Ken Cooper to a loose ball. McCreery would come back to the U.S. to play for the NASL’s Tulsa Roughnecks in 1981 and 1982. Jimmy Nicholl gave United a 2-0 lead in the 74th minute. Nicholl, too, would pick up an offseason paycheck with the NASL in the early 80′s, playing for the Toronto Blizzard from 1982 until the league’s demise in 1984.
But the Tornado stormed back and made a match of it. John Stremlau and Freddie Garcia both beat United ‘keeper Alex Stepney in a three-minute span late in the contest. After 12 years and 539 appearances with United from 1966 to 1978, Stepney came back to Dallas to play two seasons for the Tornado in 1979 and 1980.