Newspaper article Manchester Evening News

Defender of the Red Faith ; A Fearsome Figure on the Pitch, Bill Foulkes Was a Gentle Giant off It, Writes Andy Buckley

Newspaper article Manchester Evening News

Defender of the Red Faith ; A Fearsome Figure on the Pitch, Bill Foulkes Was a Gentle Giant off It, Writes Andy Buckley

Article excerpt

BILL Foulkes had a lot in common with his Manchester United teammate George Best.

They both had starring roles helping the club lift the European Cup in 1968 and, by a strange twist of fate, died on the same date, November 25. There was an eight-year gap between their deaths and, in terms of their personality, they were light years apart, both on and off the pitch. Fearsome Foulkes was quiet and unassuming.

He was old school, an uncompromising centre-half undaunted by the prospect of playing against centre forwards of the calibre of Jimmy Greaves, Peter Osgood and Geoff Hurst. For 18 seasons the evergreen Foulkes was a stalwart at the heart of the United defence in the First Division. He had gone to Old Trafford as an amateur in March 1950, taking a pay cut after working as a miner at a colliery in St Helens where he was born. That grounded upbringing was reflected FACTFILE Born: January Place of Helens United 688 United England Honours: title (1956, 1967), FA European on how he conducted himself away from the glare of Old Trafford. He was a gentle giant, a friendly easy going person with a pleasant smile who never sought the limelight. He was an unsung hero in many ways, though his massive contribution to the Reds was always fully appreciated on the terraces of the Stretford End and Scoreboard End. Best was flamboyant, flash and famous and ultimately wild in his ways. Bill was down to earth, dutiful and dogged.

Someone with spirit, substance and backbone - not just as a footballer but as a man as well. One of the enduring images of that final against Benfica was Best dribbling the ball into the net in 5, 1932 birth: St appearances: 9 caps: 1 First Division 1957, 1965, Cup (1963), Cup (1968) extra time to set up the 4-1 win at Wembley. That was a decade after Foulkes had survived the Munich air crash which claimed the lives of 23 people, including eight of his fellow Busby Babes. Yet without Foulkes scoring a famous goal - from a Best pass - to earn a 3-3 draw in the second leg of the semi-final against Real Madrid in the Bernabeu, the club would not have gone on to give Sir Matt Busby his finest hour. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.