The history of Manchester United substitutions


Substitutes were officially allowed from the start of the 1965/66 season, but only in the case of injury. Noel Cantwell was on the bench for the league opener against Sheffield Wednesday but was not required.

Indeed, the Reds waited 15 games before using one – John Fitzpatrick was the first, coming on for Denis Law in a 5-1 defeat at Tottenham Hotspur on 16 October 1965. The only other replacements actually used that term included John Connelly (against Blackburn Rovers), David Herd (at West Ham) and Willie Anderson, in a 3-3 draw with West Brom.

David Sadler became the first sub to score for United when netting in a 5-2 success against Leicester City in March 1967.

When substitutes could be utilised for purely tactical reasons, from 1967/68, Anderson did not play in the Charity Shield against Spurs so Sadler was the first used in this respect, in the opening-day defeat to Everton at Goodison Park.


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