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PART V: Bill Foulkes and the Harry Gregg fall out

The hidden legacy of Munich: tensions between Bill and Harry Gregg One of the pleasures of seeing the ‘Class of ‘92’ in action is the palpable sense, even after all these years, that the likes of Giggs, Scholes, Beckham, Butt and the Neville brothers are still terrific friends. There are bonds that will bind them [...]

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PART IV: Bill Foulkes and the End of the Rainbow in ’68

The Holy Grail in Europe Everyone at Old Trafford and indeed throughout football, if not the wider world, knew that Matt Busby was obsessed with winning the European Cup. He never put it into words but everyone assumed he saw it as the only possible way of vindicating his original decision to enter Europe back [...]

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PART III: Bill Foulkes and the Munich aftermath

Part II of this tribute to Bill Foulkes looked at the rise of the Busby Babes and the tragedy of Munich. In this part of the story we’re told about the role Foulkes played as the club was rebuilt after Munich. The Munich Aftermath When the Babes were destroyed on the runway at Munich Bill [...]

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PART II: Bill Foulkes the Busby Babes

Part I of this tribute to Bill Foulkes looked at his early playing days. In this part of the story we’re told about Bill’s rise to the first team and being a part of the Busby Babes. Bill and the Busby Babes Eventually Matt managed to persuade Bill to quit the pit and go full [...]

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PART I: Bill Foulkes – His United beginnings to Munich

When Manchester United announced that Bill Foulkes, one of the club’s finest former players, had died at the age of 81, I was greatly saddened to hear that one of my all-time favourite footballers had passed away. Bill had been such a central figure throughout my earliest days as a supporter the feelings of nostalgia [...]

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A Seventies favourite: Remembering Brian Greenhoff (1953-2013)

A Seventies favourite: Remembering Brian Greenhoff (1953-2013)

In our coarsened times there’s often a dismissive ‘show us yer medals’ mentality when assessing the contributions of former players to Manchester United, especially those that played in periods of struggle and failure. On that measure it has to be admitted that Brian Greenhoff can hardly compete with today’s stars, some of whom have honours [...]

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Olympic Spirit: the amateurs who played for Manchester United

Olympic Spirit: the amateurs who played for Manchester United

These days it would normally be a term of abuse to call a Manchester United footballer ‘an amateur’, but it wasn’t always so. Sometimes it’s simply been a statement of fact, albeit applying to less than a dozen players in United’s history from the 1880s to the 1960s. Thoughts about this select band who pulled [...]

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Wall hits Fan: Manchester United Star Does A ‘Cantona’… 100 Years Ago

When Eric Cantona of Manchester United did his amazing Kung-fu kick on an obnoxious Crystal Palace supporter seventeen years ago this month, I was there. By chance I was also an eye-witness thirty-five years earlier when United’s goalkeeper Harry Gregg spectacularly whacked a spectator at Luton Town in April, 1960, knocking him to the ground. That coincidence meant [...]

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When Arsenal beat Manchester United 5-2 in 1960, was the match ‘fixed’?

When Arsenal beat Manchester United 5-2 in 1960, was the match ‘fixed’?

I was lucky when I first used to go to Manchester United matches, over fifty years ago. Although the team was in the painful early stages of recovery from the Munich Air Crash they still often managed to play wonderfully expressive football in keeping with the finest traditions of the club.Take this description of United’s quicksilver style, written by ex-1930s Arsenal star Bernard Joy [...]

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Man U, Munich and Duncan Edwards… Part II

We have seen in Part I how the term ‘Man U’, considered objectionable by many supporters today, was created entirely uncontroversially by newspapers at least sixty years ago, as an easy printed abbreviation for Manchester United. Used initially almost exclusively for fixtures, results and league tables, it only later became part of grassroots speech a [...]

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Why Saying ‘Man U’ Isn’t So Bad… Part I

Why Saying ‘Man U’ Isn’t So Bad… Part I

It has been estimated that Manchester United have 333 million supporters in over 200 countries, providing an astonishing cumulative audience of 4.2 billion television viewers watching the team in 2010-11. It would be lovely to think we’re all one big happy family but it’s probably no exaggeration to say that millions of those very fans [...]

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WBA v Manchester United in 1961, when ‘kicking-off’ meant something different

WBA v Manchester United in 1961, when ‘kicking-off’ meant something different

‘There are so many very unhappy people around..’ my wife said , her voice tailing off despondently as we watched the TV coverage this week of rioting, looting and arson wrecking lives and destroying communities. As Hilary and I tried to make sense of it all, our mood swung wildly from anger at the wanton [...]

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Remembering Dave Gaskell and the best save seen from a United goalie

Remembering Dave Gaskell and the best save seen from a United goalie

There can be few more thrilling experiences than watching Manchester United come from being two goals behind at Wembley to beat ‘noisy neighbours’ Manchester City 3-2 with a last minute winner in the Community Shield. However much City may now try to dismiss the occasion as simply a ‘pre-season warm up’ it’s still a terrific [...]

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The Redemption of Eric Cantona: The Double Double of 1995-96 Part III

The day after Manchester United clinched the Premier League title at Middlesbrough’s Riverside stadium it was a Bank Holiday. I spent it strolling nonchalantly in the sun down by the Riverside at Richmond, with my wife and daughter, wearing my old ’92-93 Champions T-shirt. It was a satisfying feeling knowing all that effort and commitment [...]

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The Redemption of Eric Cantona: The Double Double of 1995-96 Part II

Cheer Up , Kevin Keegan On course, for United to now go on to win the Double, having secured their place at Wembley, much depended on how Newcastle handled the pressures of the league run-in.And we got a very significant clue only a few days after the semi-finals, in one of the all-time great Premiership [...]

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