Don Revie was riding high at Manchester City when the 1954-5 football season came to an end.
He’d just been named the Football Writers’ player of the year and had captained his club to the FA Cup Final at Wembley.
Not only that, he was the pivot of the ‘Revie Plan’ which saw him play as a deep-lying centre forward for the first time in British football.
But then pre-season training came along – and the relationship between Revie and Manchester City started to hit the rocks.
Revie thought he’d agreed with City trainer Laurie Barnett that he could take a two-week family holiday in Blackpool as long as he promised to train while he was away.
But manager Les McDowall was livid. He fined Revie £27 and dropped him for most of the 1955-6 season, preferring Scottish inside forward Bobby Johnstone.
Revie was only reinstated for the 3-1 FA Cup Final victory against Birmingham City, where he provided the assist for Joe Hayes’ opening goal and ended up being Man of the Match!
But the rift with McDowall would not heal and Revie looked for a move away. The inevitable followed in October 1956 when Revie signed for Sunderland for a £22,000 fee.
Pre-season training was a happier time for City goalkeeper Bert Trautmann in July 1953. After protests when he joined the club as an ex-prisoner of war in 1949, he’d settled down to become a firm favourite with the Maine Road faithful.
His performances were so good that German club Schalke 04 offered £1,000 to sign him in 1952. City refused, saying he was worth 20 times that amount!
While Trautmann trained with a medicine ball, City enlisted the help of Olympic athlete John Davies to lead their fitness sessions ahead of the 1968-69 season.
As our photo shows, the middle-distance runner pulled no punches in getting the squad into shape. The tough regime paid off as City won the FA Cup, beating Leicester 1-0 at Wembley.
Pre-season training was more flamboyant but no less serious when John Bond took over as City manager in 1981.
Under Bond, City contested the 1982 FA Cup Final where they lost 3-2 to Tottenham Hotspur. The match was made famous by Ricky Villa’s fabulous dribble past the City defence before scoring one of Wembley’s most stunning goals.
It was downhill after that for Bond. He resigned in February 1983 when City were ninth in the table. They were relegated on the last day of the season under new coach John Benson.
Pre-season training turned into an aerial ballet for Manchester United trio Denis Viollett, Bobby Charlton and Johnny Giles in August 1960. Our picture shows all three airborne as they try to head two footballs.
United, under manager Matt Busby, had a difficult start to the 1960-61 season. They lost 3-1 to Blackburn Rovers in the opening match at Old Trafford and then went down 4-0 away to Everton.
Things looked up with a 4-0 home victory over Everton, but United than crashed to a 4-1 away defeat at Spurs. They eventually finished seventh in the league with Charlton ending the season as top scorer with 21 goals.
There was a distinct edge to United’s pre-season training in July 1972 with manager Frank O’Farrell taking notes while George Best smiled in the background.
Best had failed to attend training throughout January and morale was low due to O’Farrell’s impersonal approach. Players had to schedule an appointment to see him!
Best missed more training sessions during the 1972-3 season and was transfer listed in December. United lost 5-0 to Crystal Palace on December 16th and O’Farrell was sacked three days later. He had been at the club for just 18 months.
A decade later, United manager Ron Atkinson took a more hands-on approach to team relations. Our photo sees him on the training ground with new signing Arnold Muhren in August 1982.
United won the FA Cup in 1983, beating Brighton 4-0 in the replay after drawing 2-2 at Wembley. They finished third in the league.
Finally, a glimpse of pre-season training under Sir Alex Ferguson in July 1998. United stars Roy Keane, Ryan Giggs, Phil Neville and Andy Cole can all be seen running with their manager at the Cliff training ground.
United enjoyed one of the best-ever seasons, winning the triple of the Premier League, FA Cup and UEFA Champions League.