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Brian Greenhoff sadly passes away

It has been confirmed that former Manchester United player, Brian Greenhoff, has sadly passed away at his home in Rochdale. Police were called to Brian’s address this morning following reports of a sudden death as a matter of procedure and the case has now been passed to the coroner. He was only 60-years-old.

Greenhoff joined United when he was 15-years-old, only six months after we won the European Cup for the first time, and had to leave his family behind in Barnsley. He lived with a family who were a mile away from the training ground but went back home to be with his family on the weekends. Joe Armstrong, who was our chief football scout from World War II onwards and famously spotted Sir Bobby Charlton as a teen, amongst others, watched Greenhoff playing for the Yorkshire Boys. The following day someone from the club went to see his mum and dad and gave them forms to sign to allow him to play for our youth team. It may be strange to think of them, but when Greenhoff first arrived at the club he was unimpressed with the shabby facilities at United in comparison with those he’d seen at Burnley.

He started his career as a midfielder but Tommy Docherty moved him in to the centre of defence where he played alongside Martin Buchan. Brian also made 18 appearances for England and during his career he played against the likes of Pele and Johann Cruyff, but insisted that George Best in training gave him the toughest time.

Brian spent 11 years at the club and won the FA Cup with us in 1977, our first trophy since 1968. He played close to 300 games for us before being sold to Leeds for £350,000. His brother, Jimmy, started his career with Leeds United but joined us six months before we won the FA Cup in ’77.

Brian, who will be remembered as a United legend, was active on Twitter and regularly interacted with our fans. “Proud to have played for the best club in the world” he said in his bio. His favourite player from our most recent team team was Paul Scholes.

A few years ago, Brian was interviewed by the club, and said that FA Cup win in ’77 was his best moment at the club.

“When you win something, so that has to be running round Wembley after winning the FA Cup against Liverpool in 1977,” he said. “There were other great moments, but that one stands out.”

During his time at the club, whilst the rivalry was fiercest with Liverpool who were the ones winning all the trophies, Brian said City were the team he most wanted to beat.

“Many of the players wanted to beat Liverpool, but for the players who had come through the ranks at United, like myself, City were the big enemies,” he said. “We didn’t just want to beat them, we wanted to walk all over them.”

Rest in peace.

——-
Listen to Brian’s radio interview after United won the league last month
Buy his autobiography


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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34 Comments

  1. Sparkz says:

    RIP

  2. Costas says:

    So young. :( Rest in peace Brian.

  3. chuffer says:

    Part of my boyhood United team – playing alongside Martin Buchan, Stewart Houston & Arthur Albiston.
    He was a great player who never got the recognition he deserved (apart from the United supporters).

    RIP Brian

  4. FletchTHEMAN says:

    Shocked! What a player and more recently What a red!

    Thoughts with Jimmy and the family. Gutted! :(

  5. FletchTHEMAN says:

    Just hearing details on BBC Manchester. Passed at his home.
    Everyone shocked.

    RIP Brian.

  6. The Left Bank says:

    I remember the Greenhoff brothers playing in the United shirts as a kid. Very sad news. But left many happy memories indeed.

    RIP Brian.

  7. marchwithfergiesarmy says:

    Rest in peace Brian

  8. FletchTHEMAN says:

    Some Tweets from Brian’s Time Line. Great Red (as are his sons and brother).
    Great bloke. Pals with Lou Macari who is talking on BBC about his great friend.

    Brian Greenhoff ‏@hoffgreen 22 Apr
    Come on you bitter blues ,you gave me stick last year , lets hear from you now. TWATS.

    Brian Greenhoff ‏@hoffgreen 21 Apr
    Have I missed anything this afternoon .Ho I believe the Brian Kidd blue bastards have lost . Tough shit.

    Brian Greenhoff ‏@hoffgreen 14 Apr
    Stoke are going down. How bad are they.

    Brian Greenhoff ‏@hoffgreen 8 Apr
    Loved playing Derby games but hate watching them now. Cant kick anyone.

    Brian Greenhoff ‏@hoffgreen 6 Apr
    The problem with me is that FIFA is run by people who have never played the game . Now UEFA we have Platini .As an ex player what as he done

    Brilliant stuff. Lots more on his TL if you have some time.

  9. debsuth says:

    Absolutely gutted to hear such sad news.
    Such a lovely man.
    And memories of the FA Cup Final 1977 will stay with me forever.
    R.I.P. Brian ♥

  10. lee says:

    What a shock, sorely missed, what did he die of?

  11. chuffer says:

    There was something very special about supporting United in the 70′s – we certainly didn’t win with the same regularity that we do today.

    Losing to Southampton in 1976 was a day I will never forget (for all the wrong reasons) – but winning against the then almighty Liverpool in 1977 will always be one of my favourite moments as a United supporter.

    Brian was part of both of those memories!!

    RIP

  12. Harty67 says:

    Very sad news, Brian and Jimmy were a big part of the Red Army years teams who played some great football under The Doc.
    I spoke to Brian in the queue at Morrisons in rochdale (!) just before the 2011 Champs League final and he was still a massive United fan and a great guy as well.

  13. Lawman10 says:

    So very sad to hear of Brian greenhoffs death,
    RIP Brian .

  14. mikeyg2310 says:

    My Dad’s other half told him it was Robbo!
    Still so sad, RIP Brian

  15. King Eric says:

    Great bloke. RIP Brian.

  16. Kings says:

    RIP Brian. Top player and a great bloke.

  17. Sad Old Red says:

    Was lucky enough to have met Brian on a few occasions,,He always had time for fans and was a true gentleman and top red,, Such a sad loss,, RIP Brian

  18. Red Army 75 says:

    Very sad news! Brian was part of the United side I first watched. Fantastic memories! And @ Chuffer, You’re right mate, we didn’t maybe win as much but we had tremendous fun up and down the country. And the 76 FA Cup Final was a sickener as you mention. Fuck me, we were nailed on to win it. Had gone up early to Wembley with a few mates to see if there were any touts we could persuade to part, out of generosity, with their tickets for Doc’s Red Army, but other battallions had obviously thought of the same thing and the tout’s had been battered earlier and legged it. Those were the days. Rest In Peace Brian, a true red.

  19. Redneck says:

    Very sad news. Brian will always have a special place in my memory as part of the FA cup winning side of 1977 against Liverpool. Like many have said before, that victory felt as special as even winning the league in 93. Top bloke who one or two of our players today could learn from.

  20. wayne says:

    Those were my days watching live as well,was at the Southampton final,Red Army,fucking right travelling away was a experience in its self,good times Brian was a big part of that team
    RIP mate

  21. Manc Harvin says:

    Brian Greenhoff will always remind me of the legendary season in the 2nd Division in 74-75, one of the young, vibrant and exciting players assembled by The Doc, playing in a team which steamrollered its way to the title that season, roared on by the biggest away following ever seen in English football.

    I also remember being at St Andrews for a night game when Greenhoff took over in goal for United to replace Alex Stepney against Birmingham.

    The FA Cup win in 77 was a great occasion, and Greenhoff played his part in snuffing out the Liverpool attack. The following day, the triumphant United team were greeted back in Manchester with the trophy by an incredible 750,000 fans. That’s right, three quarters of a million people on the streets of Manchester.

    Greenhoff crossed the border from his native Yorkshire. United seeped into his soul and like many ex-players, United became his team, for life.

    Great chant, great player, great memories.

  22. The Redmod says:

    Very sad news, Brian Greenhoff was a part of the United team that made me fall in love with our club.
    i’ll never forget that cup final, but more importantly for me he was part of the team that i saw at my first ever game, West Brom away in 78.

    RIP Brian..you were truely blessed..a proper red..

  23. Mr C says:

    RIP Brian, top player and by what folks say a good bloke too. Brings back happy teenage memories of watching the Reds romp away up the old 2nd division back into the top flight…

  24. cantona93 says:

    So saddened to hear about the younger Greenhoff. Had to re-read the Daily Express report on the Ajax Uefa Cup home match in 76 when the Doc took Gerry Daly off and moved Brian up from the back into midfield where he proceeded to run the game in the second half and we won 2-0. The headline on the back page was “Greenhoff the Great” and I’ve never forgotten it or the electric atmosphere at Old Trafford that night.

  25. Red In Taipei says:

    Very sad. Loved going to all the games in Div 2. Magical times and fantastic support.
    Thanks Brian. RIP.

  26. Rukky says:

    R.I.P

  27. Keane16 says:

    Rip

  28. lol says:

    Rest in peace Brian Greenhoff, of the first MUFC team i knew way back then, gone too young :(

  29. 2Coats of RED says:

    R.I.P gone but never forgotten!

  30. Greek (MU)djahiddin says:

    We will never forget you Brian, we will never forget that 77 Wembley Greenhoff chant, we will never forget your tears at the 76 Cup final.

    A great player, a player making fans feel reassured, whether in midfield (at his beginnings) or at centre half alongside Martin Buchan, an automatic choice for the Doc and under Dave Sexton, a sudden exit at the end of 1978-79 season, was one of the players I grew up with watching him on TV in Greece in those early 70′s.

    Rest in peace Brian

  31. Fritz Elmdon Red says:

    Had the pleasure of meeting the guy once and had a long chat about the 70′s Reds. Great man, great days never to be bettered!

  32. SABBATH says:

    Very sad news and condolences to brian’s family

    A great player who worked his socks of for the team. A true Red in every sense …

    RIP Brian ……..Now in the team of legends.

  33. Bretty says:

    Very sad news indeed, just finished reading his autobiography and was reminded was a top guy he was. The team he played in was capable of some great football and I recall how exciting the bounce back from the Second Division was.
    A true loss and a true Red. RIP.

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