Showing posts with label Tom Curry. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Tom Curry. Show all posts

4000th consecutive game with a youth from academy in match day squad!

That's an incredible feat for a club that struggled financially in the 1930's to survive and achieved success out of it in post war on account of 'Busby Babes' yet persisted with the philosophy even through the doldrums years of 70's and 80's till Ferguson's Fledglings' to the present day!

Re-posting the following from an earlier blog post. "Manchester United Junior Athletic Club formed in 1937 was a brain child of the then club chairman James W Gibson to make MUFC competitive in economic depression when he saved them from the brink and were unable to fund any transfers. James Gibson secured the acquisition of the Cliff training ground, persuaded Midland Railway operating Manchester Central to London St Pancras trains to stop at Old Trafford on match days to increase gate receipts and MUJAC helped in discovering players from Charlie Mitten to Marcus Rashford. MUFC can count on at least one player from the academy in their first team on a match day squad since then which is 4,000 games over 82 years!! No wonder MUFC top the rankings of promoting academy players to first team."

The first match in question was against Fulham away in second division on 30th October, 1937 which MUFC lost 0-1. The full squad was Breen (GK), Griffiths, Roughton, Brown, Vose, McKay, Wrigglesworth, Wassal, Bamford, Whalley, Manley. Wassal & Manley the youth from academy. MUFC came second that year to gain their second promotion of the decade and stayed in the top division for 36 years. Scott Duncan the coach since 1932 had resigned midway through the season on 09-November over disagreement with youth policy and once again it was left to loyal club servant Walter Crickmer in temporary charge supported by Louis Rocca and Tom Curry to carry the club through the tough times delivering the promotion that gained MUFC an elite status during the war years.

Louis Rocca the chief scout had signed the young Johnny Carey who debuted on 25th September, against Southampton and scored his first goal against Nottingham Forest a club he would manage later in his career. Jack Rowley signed by James Gibson when he was on a vacation to Bournemouth debuted on 23-October against Sheffield Wednesday and scored a hat-trick aged 17 years vs Swansea Town. Salford born local lad snapped up by Louis Rocca in Stan Pearson debuted against Chesterfiled on 13-November and would eventually score 149 goals in 345 appearances across 17 years interrupted by war. Groundwork was laid before Sir Matt Busby took up the reins post war and this trio played a major part to ensure success in 1948 FA Cup and winning the League Championship 3 years later.

MUFC chairman said of MUJAC at the AGM in 1939 "It is from these unusually comprehensive nurseries that the club hopes an all-Manchester team at some distant period might be produced." MUFC finished 14th on their return to top flight, the reserves won the central league for the first time in 18 years, 'A' team won the Manchester League and MUJAC won their division of Chorlton League - a very successful year indeed.

Busby took MUJAC to another level when he insisted on having four sides competing for a place in the first team thereby increasing the scope and age groups of players, assigning coaches, consistent playing style to ease the promotion to first team that ensured MUFC winning the first six FA Youth Cups from 1953 to 1957. One of Busby's oft quoted phrase “If they are good enough, they are old enough.”. The 1964 FA Youth Cup winners George Best, David Sadler, John Fitzpatrick, John Aston Jr, Jimmy Rimmer who played in the victorious 1968 European Cup campaign. Busby was immensely helped by his chief scout Joe Armstrong and his magnificent team, his assistant Jimmy Murphy, trainer Tom Curry, coaches Bert Whalley, Bill Inglis, Jack Crompton, Wilf McGuinness.
Post Busby the baton was led forward by Wilf McGuinness, Tommy Docherty, Frank Blunstone, Bill Foulkes, Tommy Cavanagh and importantly Eric Harrison who arrived in 1981 aided in promoting Mark Hughes, Norman Whiteside, Clayton Blackmore, Graeme Hogg immediately making it to the 1982 FA Youth Cup final. Later Eric Harrison combined effectively with the rebuild of Sir Alex Ferguson that unearthed the 'Fergie's Fledgling's' the famous pic below made up of players from 1992 and 1995 FA Youth Cup winners. Before the 1995-96 season opener against Aston Villa when Ferguson fielded his young side that lost 1-3 prompting BBC pundit Alan Hansen to say "You can't win anything with kids" which was debunked the same season by winning the championship, but it was in the match against Port Vale in League Cup the previous year that Ferguson had made his Fledglings to play together and win courtesy of two debut goals by Paul Scholes.

Succeeding Eric Harrison were Les Kershaw, Brian McClair, and Nicky Butt who have held the prestigious role of director of youth academy in recent past. Archie Knox, Brian Kidd, Steve McLaren, Jimmy Ryan and Mike Phelan, Carlos Queiroz serving as assistants to Ferguson have contributed greatly. Paul Pogba and Jesse Lingard from the current team were part of the last FA Youth Cup triumph in 2011. Iconic image of today's generation led by Marcus Rashford as the juniors look up to the lad from Wythenshawe for inspiration. The increased impetus to promoting youth before looking for external first team recruits has endeared Ole Gunnar Solskjaer to the fans despite some disappointing form and firmly believe in his vision for a bright MUFC future. 

Please find the link to the excellent book 'Sons of United' which has been painstakingly put together by Tony and Steve here.  Ferguson described watching a young Ryan Giggs (was known as Ryan Wilson before changing his name) for the first time after a tip off from scout Harold Wood as "A gold miner who has searched every part of the river or mountain and then suddenly finds himself staring at a nugget could not feel more exhilaration than I did watching Giggs that day." While the railway timetable became the best companion of Sir Matt Busby who used to go all around the country on weekdays to seek the next nugget.

My Greatest MUJAC team: David Gaskell (GK), Gary Neville, Eddie Colman(C), Bill Foulkes, Phil Neville, George Best, Paul Scholes, Duncan Edwards, Ryan Giggs, Mark Hughes, Sir Bobby Charlton

New documentary on Busby recounts the greatest story that sport can ever tell

Sport based movies are best told with actual footage aided by conversations from the players or peers who were involved rather than recreating the drama as actors who can never substitute for icons of the game. Busby the movie by Joe Pearlman does exactly that. It has apparently taken inputs from the very best biographies of Sir Matt Busby from the likes of Eamon Dunphy, Michael Crick, Patrick Barclay and Roy Cavanagh as per the BBC review.

My personal favourite quote about Sir Matt is from Willie Morgan his last major signing "Everything that's been said about Matt since he died was said before he died. That's the greatest epitaph that he could have."

Would be interesting to see if it mentions about rumours of Sir Matt getting the sack in Jan 1951 after a string of poor results 15 months before winning the first league championship, two lost Babes -  Johnny Berry and Jackie Blanchflower, weather playing havoc over the return flight after playing Dukla Prague and how the team reaches Manchester just in time to play in the league, the take over of Louis Edwards immediately after Munich, cruelty of FA to snatch Bobby Charlton by holding a friendly at the same time as MUFC ravaged by Munich play in the semi-finals of European Cup, FA declined the offer from UEFA to invite MUFC in the European Cup season immediately after Munich, Real Madrid helping Manchester United by playing an annual pre-season game to raise funds and profile of the club post Munich, reaction after the shock loss to Partizan Belgrade in '65 European Cup semi-final, sale of John Morris & Johnny Giles, tussle over player wages, concerns over Busby's health after Munich that necessitated an annual summer holiday to recover from the stress of the season, lack of spending in the later years, failure to sign Mike England & Alan Ball, the succession...etc.

A constant source of support through all the ups and downs of those 24 glorious years was Sir Matt Busby's first signing his assistant the Welshman Jimmy Murphy. What a partnership! Busby first met Murphy at Bari towards the end of WWII and heard him taking a training session for an army match and described it as "It was as if he was delivering a sermon".

Louis Rocca the chief scout of MUJAC who was responsible for being in touch with Sir Matt Busby through Manchester Catholic Sportsman’s Club and tried to sign him from City as a right-half in 1930. Rocca  eventually brought him to Old Trafford in February 1945 as the Manager impressed by his straight talk of complete control with a clear plan. Rocca was succeeded by Joe Armstrong in 1950 ably supported by Billy Behan, Bob Bishop, Bob Harper, much admired trainer Tom Curry whom Busby called 'the best trainer in England' and an ex-MUFC player and coach Bert Whalley both were lost to Munich with eight Busby Babes and eight journalists, ex-MUFC player and trainer Bill Inglis, club secretary and twice the caretaker manager Walter Crickmer, MUFC supporter Willie Satinoff, Jack Crompton the goal keeper of Busby's first great team who joined the coaching staff as a trainer immediately after Munich and was the caretaker manager during MUFC Far East tour in 1981 after Dave Sexton was sacked and before Ron Atkinson was appointed, Wilf McGuinness whose career was cut short due to injury at the age of 22 and succeeded Jimmy Murphy as reserve team coach in 1964 and later replaced Sir Matt Busby in 1969 at just 31 years of age!

Busby is set to release on digital platforms on 15 November and on DVD from 18 November on Amazon.

Clamour for a similar documentary on Sir Alex Ferguson will no doubt be loud as the footage is still ripe in memory but the tales of Tommy Docherty to bring the club back up and the Ron Atkinson era be more prudent as it probably takes 30 years or a generation to completely comprehend those events from all angles.

Only sport based DVD which I own is Richard Harris starrer Lindsay Anderson's "This Sporting Life" about rugby set in 1963 that told a tale of a working class man rising up the social ladder.

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