Matt Busby's ruthlessness at Man United crystalised by two examples

Former Manchester United manager is the subject of Paddy Barclay's new book

BY Raf Diallo 21:46 Wednesday 18 October 2017, 21:46 18 Oct 2017

Manchester United manager Matt Busby (r) holds the League Championship trophy aloft as his players applaud: (l-r) Shay Brennan, Bill Foulkes, Tony Dunne, Pat Crerand and Alex Stepney. PA/PA Archive/PA Images

For Manchester United, the recognised founding father of what the club would become has to be Matt Busby.

The man who sparked the Busby Babes era in the 1950s and led the club to a maiden European Cup triumph in 1968 a decade after the Munich Air Disaster is the subject of a new autobiography by football journalist Paddy Barclay, who met the iconic late manager earlier in his career.  

Alex Ferguson was famously ruthless as he revived the club's fortunes during the 1990s, 2000s and early 2010s and Busby shared that trait with an anecdote to prove it.

"The two that were bombed out after the [1948] Cup final in his sorting out process were Johnny Morris, who was fundamental to the style of the team. He was a brilliant attacking midfield player, inside forward. He walked off the pitch during training because he'd been dropped," said Barclay. 


A general view of outside Old Trafford, Home of Manchester United prior to the Barclays Premier League match at Old Trafford, Manchester. Martin Rickett/PA Archive/PA Images

"Matt let him keep walking. He went into his own office, rang the national news agency, the Press Association, and later that evening, Johnny Morris was at home, got several telephone calls from the press men saying, 'What's this about? You're being available for transfer'. He says, 'I didn't know I was available for transfer'. And he was and he went for a British transfer record. Matt was losing a really good player who was at the start of his international career and never really had the same career again after going to Derby County.

"And of course the other one, Mitten, one of his favourite players and got into Matt's all time XI, he defied Matt by going to Colombia where there were the biggest wages in the world - it would be the equivalent of China now - and Matt told him not to go and he came back after a year saying, 'Well, I'm ready to play for United again' and he too was bombed out. He wasn't even allowed to train with the reserves or the kids. He had to play for a pub team to keep fit."    


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