FORMER MANCHESTER United manager Frank O' Farrell has died today at the age of 94.
O' Farrell remains the only Irishman to manage the legendary club in Manchester.
The news was confirmed by the official Manchester United Twitter account:
'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.
O' Farrell was born in Dublin in 1927 and was a train driver’s son. He joined West Ham from boyhood club Cork in 1948.
He also represented the Ireland team nine times between 1952 and 1959 .
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
After spells at Torquay and Leicester in the 60's, the Irishman was selected to replace legendary United manager Matt Busby in 1971 and held the post for 18 months.
His last game came against Crystal Palace, where United lost 5-0, leaving them third from bottom in Division One.
He took the job with players Sir Bobby Charlton and Denis Law who, O'Farrell said, had their best days behind them.
He took the job on the basis that he would have five years to rebuild the team, but felt let down by Busby after he went back on his word.
Speaking to the Manchester Evening News in 2011, he said:
'I was more disappointed in him than anything else,' he said. 'He wasn't true to his word,' O'Farrell said. 'He hand-picked me. He outlined what needed to be done, which is why I had a five-year contract. I couldn't do it in just 18 months.
'He was around the place and all the players had grown up with him. He was a father figure to them.
'The alarm bells started ringing when he questioned my decisions. After we lost a home game against Tottenham he started finding fault with Martin Buchan.
'He also said that he wouldn't have dropped Bobby Charlton. If he wouldn't have dropped Charlton, why didn't he stick to the job himself? That to me was interfering and that made the job untenable.'
Our thoughts & prayers are with the family and friends of Frank O'Farrell following his passing
A former Republic of Ireland international, Frank started his career at Cork United before enjoying a lot of success overseas as a player & manager
RIP 🙏 pic.twitter.com/XUfji7tU96
— FAIreland ⚽️🇮🇪 (@FAIreland) March 7, 2022
He was eventually replaced by Tommy Docherty. United were relegated a year later in the 1973-74 season.
A statement on the Manchester United website said"
"While Frank’s 18-month reign at the United helm was an undulating affair, there is no shred of doubt that he was a talented manager and a man of unimpeachable integrity."
They also added:
"We do know that we will always be grateful for his willingness to take the tiller at such a tricky point in the club’s history."
"Staff at United send their condolences to Frank's family and friends at this difficult time."