Wednesday, 22 May 2013

Brian Greenhoff (1953-2013)

Anyone that collected football stickers or collector cards in the late-1970s will know the name Brian Greenhoff. The former Manchester United, Leeds United and England defender who died suddenly earlier today was a competent and much admired player who started his career at Old Trafford in 1968.

In the 221 appearances he made there, he quickly became a fans' favourite, epitomising the youthful passion for the game that many of his recent predecessors at Man United were seen to be lacking.

Promoted from the youth team ranks by Tommy Docherty, Greenhoff formed a steely partnership in defence alongside Martin Buchan and was present in the Red Devils sides that won the 1975 Second Division title and the FA Cup Final in 1977.

Scoring 13 goals during his time at Old Trafford, he eventually came to play alongside his older brother Jimmy who arrived at Manchester United in 1976. It was in this year that Brian Greenhoff made the first of his 18 appearances for England in a 1-0 win over Wales in Cardiff, his last being in a 2-1 win over Australia in Sydney in 1980.

In 1979, Greenhoff moved to Leeds United for £350,000 - still a sizeable amount of money in those days - but his arrival at Elland Road coincided with a downturn in the fortunes of the Yorkshire club. In 1982, Leeds United were relegated to the Second Division and Greenhoff was released from his contract.

In 1983, he spent a year at Rochdale as player-coach alongside his brother Brian (who by that time had been made player-manager), but it proved to be a million miles away from his glory days at Old Trafford - metaphorically if not geographically.

We remember Brian Greenhoff here, however, as a player who made his mark by being good at what he did and was therefore seen as a hero to many fans during his career. He will be missed.

(Video courtesy of Fooball Gaffes Galore)


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