|Born :||05 Jan 1932|
|Signed :||01 Mar 1950|
|Debut :||13 Dec 1952 v Liverpool (A) League|
|Goals total :||9|
|Appearances total :||688|
|Left United :||01 Jun 1970|
An old-fashioned stopper who relished facing a bustling centre-forward, Bill Foulkes trails only Sir Bobby Charlton and Ryan Giggs in United’s all-time appearance list.
Over 18 seasons, in 688 matches, he provided solidity to the Reds’ rearguard, so much so that during nearly two decades at Old Trafford it was rare for Sir Matt Busby to omit him. Foulkes joined United as an amateur in March 1950 and turned professional in August 1951 after leaving his mining job at Lea Green Colliery, St Helens. His United debut came halfway through the 1952/53 campaign as a right back, but he later moved to his favoured position of centre half. The switch suited Foulkes as he preferred to keep things simple, passing to his more gifted team-mates at the first opportunity. A survivor of the Munich air crash, Foulkes captained a depleted United in the aftermath of the tragedy and led the Reds to the 1958 FA Cup final. Defeat against Bolton Wanderers was a bitter pill to swallow, but it was a rare one. In a distinguished career, Foulkes won First Division championship medals in 1956, 1957, 1965 and 1967 and was back at Wembley, this time a winner, in the 1963 FA Cup final. Add to that his part in the 1968 European Cup-winning team and it’s somewhat surprising he was capped only once by England, against Northern Ireland in October 1954. Although noted more for stopping goals, Foulkes is fondly recalled for his happy knack of notching critical strikes. One in particular stands out – his goal against Real Madrid at the Bernabeu in 1968, which helped send Manchester United to the European Cup final. Foulkes retired in June 1970 but remained at Old Trafford as a coach before moving on to work in other countries.