Frank O´Farrell´s Manchester United hit rock bottom when his players were rolled over by Crystal Palace at Selhurst Park on the 16th of December 1972. The South Londoners were two goals up at the break and the rampant home team managed to add three more in the second period of the tie to demolish The Red Devils of Manchester to the loud tune of 5–0.
The Manchester United Squad experienced a painful and unexpected 5–0 defeat against their fellow relegation strugglers Crystal Palace at Selhurst Park shortly before Christmas 1972 and hard pressed Old Trafford supremo Frank O´Farrell was forced to resign with immediate effect after the clash against The Glaziers. In their previous First live fodbold Division away games before the fixture with Bert Head´s troops, Manchester United had beaten Norwich City, drawn with West Ham United, West Bromwich Albion and Leicester City, and been defeated by Liverpool, Everton, Wolverhampton Wanderers, Sheffield United, Newcastle United and Manchester City. As for Crystal Palace, the Selhurst Park club had overcome Manchester City, Newcastle United and Everton, drawn with Derby County, Liverpool and Leeds United, and lost to West Bromwich Albion, Norwich City, Coventry City and Arsenal at home.
The Manchester Reds began the encounter well enough and should have gone into an early lead when a magnificent long pass from Republic of Ireland international left wingback Tony Dunne found natural born hit man Ian Storey-Moore who shot from close range, but his effort was magically stopped by home goal custodian John Jackson. After eleven minutes of the play, however, Crystal Palace went ahead in the match as previous Swindon Town goal plunderer Don Rogers fed a brilliant through pass to the onrushing Paddy Mulligan who placed the ball between Manchester United goalkeeper Alex Stepney and the near post. Recently signed midfield entrepreneur from Everton Alan Whittle then enjoyed two consecutive goal scoring chances but both opportunities were denied. Shortly after, Storey-Moore came close to equalising for Manchester United but his ferocious drive went straight at the netminder. Instead, it was Crystal Palace who doubled their advantage as Mulligan collected Roger´s clever pass inside the eighteen-yard area and beautifully curled the ball past the completely helpless shot stopper and into the back of the net just two minutes before the half time break.
The South London club continued to dominate the possession after the intermission refreshments and a mere two minutes into the second period, Don Rogers gave the hosts a three goal lead when he latched on to an intelligent pass from Alan Whittle and rounded the away goalkeeper to put the ball into the empty net. Not so long later, Whittle finally managed to get on the scoring sheet himself when the forward thinking playmaker notched up the fourth goal of the afternoon with an astonsihing effort which gave Stepney no chance to save whatsover and with as little as three minutes remaining of the contest, Rogers completed a tremendous brace to ensure a comfortable and comprehensive 5–0 win over Manchester United. Frank O´Farrell: “I will never forget it. The secretary of the club had a scrap of paper in front of him and mumbled: We have terminated your contract. Sir Matt Busby was sat at the head of the table and did not utter a word. But I thought that I am not going out of here without him telling me why, so I asked him and he looked straight ahead and he said: No reason.” Manchester United Team: Alex Stepney, Tommy O’Neil, Tony Dunne, Tony Young, David Sadler, Martin Buchan, Willie Morgan, Ted MacDougall, Brian Kidd, Wyn Davies, Ian Storey-Moore.