Manchester United last lost four games in a row in 1961

The search for a precedent goes back more than half a century to the year John F Kennedy took charge, the farthing ceased to be UK legal tender and the Beatles first played the Cavern Club

The last time Manchester United lost four games in a row was in the 1961-62 season, under Matt Busby

14 October 1961
Manchester United 0 Birmingham 2

21 October 1961
Arsenal 5 Manchester United 1

28 October 1961
Manchester United 0 Bolton 3

4 November 1961
Sheffield Wed 3 Manchester United 1

Matt Busby was in charge and United had finished seventh the previous year. Before the run of defeats began, they had a good start to the season, sitting second behind Burnley with 15 points from 11 games having won six, drawn three and lost two, including impressive 3-2 wins against Chelsea and Manchester City. But by the end of the four-defeat run they had slipped down to 14th and were not to win again until 9 December, by which time they were only one place above the relegation zone.

Goals from Bryan Orritt and Mike Hellawell saw United lose the Birmingham game, before they were thrashed 5-1 by Arsenal, which was the biggest win for Arsenal against United at Highbury since the 30s. Arsenal's goals were scored by Gerry Ward, John Barnwell, George Eastham and a brace for Alan Skirton (Dennis Viollet got the only one for United). The 3-0 loss to Bolton saw goals from Brian Pilkington, Freddie Hill and Billy McAdams and Dennis Viollet grabbed the single goal in the defeat to Sheffield Wednesday a week later (the Wednesday goalscorers were John Fantham, Tony Kay and Keith Ellis).

Things improved for United as they went on a seven-game unbeaten run lasting from 15 January 1962 until 17 March and finished the season in 15th. With an even poorer 19th-placed finish the next season, things improved for United when a teenage George Best was fast-tracked into the side, eventually helping them to First Division glory in 1964-65. © 2014 Guardian News and Media Limited or its affiliated companies. All rights reserved. | Use of this content is subject to our Terms & Conditions | More Feeds

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