In 1981 Widzew for the third time took part in European Cups and again it faced a rival from the top of football elite: this time the famous Manchester United.
At that time Widzew was the Polish Premier League runner-up being also a team with quite some experience gained in European pitches. Having eliminated Manchester City in 1977/1978 in the UEFA Cup round of 32, in the next round players from Lodz had to acknowledge the superiority of PSV Eindhoven. Next season, also in the round of 32 of the same tournament, they were eliminated after two games with AS Saint-Etienne (2:1 at home and 0:3 away). In Piłsudskiego, the draw which faced Widzew with Manchester United in 1980/81 was seen as just another challenge.
The first game at Old Trafford proceeded as planned for the home team only for a short while. In the fourth minute Józef Młynarczyk (goalkeeper) was defeated by Sammy McIlroy Northern Ireland national team player. Yet two minutes later the Lodz team evened the score after a phenomenal free kick executed by Krzysztof Surlit. The game ended in a draw but even English football fans admitted that players from Lodz were closer to claiming victory.
In the second leg on 1st October 1980 the stadium once again was packed with football fans and the city experienced a repetition of the day from the past when fans from all over Poland arrived in Lodz to watch the second leg with Manchester United. Both teams had their chances (Zbigniew Boniek hit the pole of the United woodwork and Steve Coppell did the same for the opponent team) but the game ended in a scoreless draw after which Widzew advanced to the next round.
17 September 1980
Manchester United - Widzew Łódź 1:1 (1:1)
Goals: McIlroy (4.) - Krzysztof Surlit (6.)
Manchester: Bailey - Nichol (46. Duxbury), Buchan, Jovanovic, Albiston - Grimes, Macari, McIlroy, Greenhoff - Thomas, Coppell.
Widzew: Młynarczyk - Pilch, Grębosz, Żmuda, Możejko Tłokiński, Boniek, Rozborski, Surlit - Pięta, Smolarek.
1 October 1980
Widzew Łódź - Manchester United 0:0
Widzew: Młynarczyk - Pilch, Grębosz, Żmuda, Możejko - Tłokiński, Boniek, Rozborski, Surlit - Pięta, Smolarek.
Manchester: Bailey - Nichol, Buchan (65. Moran), Jovanovic, Albiston - Duxbury, Grimes, McIlroy, Thomas - Jordan, Coppell.