Frank O’Farrell, who had the challenging task of replacing Matt Bus as manager of Manchester United, has died. He was 94.
O’Farrell’s death was announced Monday Man United, the soccer team the Irishman coached for only 18 months before being fired in 1972.
After a promising start which saw United move to the top of the standings for the first time in three years, O’Farrell had a rift with star player George Best and the team finished eighth. O’Farrell left Old Trafford in December 1972 with United third-from-last in the league, which Bus had won five times.
We are deeply saddened to learn that our former manager, Frank O’Farrell, has passed away aged 94.
Sending thoughts and prayers to his family and friends at this difficult time ❤️
— Manchester United (@ManUtd) March 7, 2022
United paid tribute to how O’Farrell dealt with a “colossal assignment beset problems” when he took over as coach of the club.
“It was a difficult time to go there because the club needed rebuilding and Matt hadn’t done anything,” O’Farrell said in the book “When Footballers Were Skint,” published in 2018. “I happened to be the first one and then there were three more after me before things kind of settled down.
RIP Frank O’Farrell.
The first ‘outside’ manager to follow Sir Matt Bus at Old Trafford, his first five months in charge saw some incredible football @ManUtd including some of the most-fondly remembered George Best moments. pic.twitter.com/HdQD60KO9p
— Wayne Barton (@WayneSBarton) March 7, 2022
‘It was a difficult job, changing players, dropping someone like Bob Charlton who then went around with a long face, but these are things you have to do as a manager. And, yes, it did upset me when they got rid of me. Matt had admitted that he’d let things go and that it might take me a while to sort things out and, no, I don’t think they gave me that time.”
O’Farrell had previously guided Leicester to the 1969 FA Cup final during his three-year spell in charge of the club.
The Irishman was a wing-half who played for his native Cork, West Ham and Preston. He made nine appearances for his country from 1952-59.
O’Farrell also coached Cardiff, the Iranian national team and United Arab Emirates club Al-Shaab, as well having several spells in charge of Torquay — one of the early teams in his coaching career.