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A chat with Bill Foulkes…

Some time ago I made a pact with my partner to go to the Gym twice a week, part of the price for having a good eating lifestyle. On Saturday afternoon, before the wiles of Euro 2000 returned to the TV screen, we
fitted in another workout.

A silver-haired man, tall and imposing, was busy on the upper-body equipment. I have never been one for autographs, or idolising players, but a second glimpse told me who he was. Usually I don’t like to bother the gifted and famous, but eventually I decided to approach him. He must have been a dedicated trainer in his playing days, the effort and sweat was impressive for a man of his age, and you could see how he was proud of his physique even now.

I chatted with him for merely a couple of minutes, and then he was gone. It shouldn’t have been much of a surprise really, I knew he had lived in my area, Sale, for a long time.

My partner asked me who he was? I told her how he had been a first-teamer for 18 years, how he made his debut long before my time, at Anfield in 1952, how he survived the Munich Crash, and figured in Uniteds golden triumph of 1968. How he gave up a better-paid job down the pit to become a United stalwart, tough, reliable, not flashy but dependable, how he sold his medals, including 4 League Championship medals, and presumably his England cap too, in the early 90s as he needed the money. How he missed out on the big money that todays players rake in, being on the £20 a week maximum for many years.

My chat with him was brief. I asked how his knee was treating him, and he told me, not so good. He mentioned that he still sees most home games, but is coaching still for the Manchester FA, and is asked to show the parties of Japanese visitors around the Stadium, thanks to his links with that country after 4 years coaching spent there.

I told him that I hope I am motivated the same way at his age to go to the gym. He smiled, and proudly said, “I am 68 you know.” I didn’t tell him I had worked that out moments before in my head, from his debut back in 1952, to his last outing against Southampton in 1969…

Oh yes, for those few who didn’t work him out, it was Bill Foulkes.

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About Scott

Scott is the editor of Red Matters - 50 Years of Supporting Manchester United and an author of Play Like Fergie's Boys and Not Nineteen Forever. He writes for ESPN, The Metro and Bleacher Report. Follow @R_o_M on Twitter.

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14 Comments

  1. GWarwick2 says:

    What a wonderful, simple yet memorable conversation

  2. Fletch™ says:

    Lovely. What a great man. True red!

  3. Fletch™ says:

    Rio just tweeted that The flight to Germany experienced a load of turbulence.

    Daily Express editor claiming it was near disaster on landing.

    Brace yourselves for some crazy stories.

    Bottom line, Lads have arrived in Germany.
    RvP and Vidic did not travel.
    Fellaini is suspended.
    Jones has travelled and is available.

  4. TopRed123 says:

    Watching that Dortmund – Napoli game is just depressing. Watching Reus, Lewandowski, Mkhitarian, Insigne just run at defenders, and ready to take them on makes one realize how one dimensional and unimaginative our midfielders and wingers are. Mkhitarian has looked very good since joining BVB and it’s really good that he didn’t choose to join Liverpool.

    We will probably be set up not to lose tomorrow night, end up conceding a sloppy late goal, with Moyes saying that he would’ve taken a 1-0 loss before the game.

  5. 20LEgend says:

    This lad bleeds red. Apparently one of the best scouts in England was of the opinion that if he had to pick two players in all of England of British origin with the most immense potential, he would pick Wilfried Zaha and Will Keane.

    Really hope he goes on to be the star for us we all hope him to be…

    http://www.manutd.com/en/News-And-Features/Exclusive-Interviews/2013/Nov/will-keane-exclusive-interview-with-inside-united.aspx

  6. John says:

    Upper-body workouts in gym at 68 years of age says a lot about our legend’s dedication, commitment and determination!!…R.I.P. Legend. You are already immortalized in the history of our club.

  7. Tommy says:

    Still working out at age 68, respect Bill, top man, showing everyone how its done to the very end, RIP Bill the babes are never too far from my thoughts!

  8. avigenesis says:

    What a great man,the word legend doesn’t even begin to describe him.

    Off topic can anyone tell me how to change my username from my twitter one.Used to post as Unitedfaithful.And how to remove the red thingy from my moniker?

  9. wayne barker says:

    will someone please explain to me how all this bollocks is making ROM better,i’m back because i can now log in through Google but i click on user names doesn’t tell me fuck all about the person in most cases and as far as i understand there’s plenty of fake twitter accounts,so again what’s the point of all this.I click on John get Utd website,click on NBI because i was really curious get a 404 error.Seems like a big waste of time and a exercise in futility,so please someone enlighten me
    thank you

  10. Tommy says:

    United under 19s trail 2 0 to Bayor Leverkusons under 19s and are down to 10 men at H/T mountain to climb, only saving grace is its still 0 0 in the other game so qualifying is still possible!

  11. NBI Red says:

    Hi lads. Anyone know how to get of the red link on user names?

  12. Mohammad Tariq Al-Munier says:

    nice

    i wish that i was born to see all the 50s and 60s games and players

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