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.
Made in Manchester is available for just £5. It includes 30 articles from the country's best football writers about graduates from the Manchester United academy. Everyone who buys a copy enters a competition to win the new home shirt. All profit goes to Trafford Macmillan so please support this fantastic cause.