|Born :||30 Jul 1874|
|Goals total :||36|
|Appearances total :||335|
|Left United :|
United’s first footballing legend, the original ‘Welsh Wizard’ played for both Manchester clubs, gained national recognition for his trickery on the wing and championed players’ rights during a remarkable career spanning the best part of 30 years.
Born in Chirk, Wales in 1874, Meredith started his career with Manchester City in 1894, winning Second Division championship medals in 1899 and 1903 and the FA Cup in 1904. However, his career was controversially interrupted in 1905 when he was alleged to have bribed Aston Villa’s Aleo Leake £10 to throw a match. After a lengthy suspension – he had always pleaded his innocence – he signed for United in October 1906 along with three other City players embroiled in the bribe scandal – Jimmy Bannister, Herbert Burgess and Sandy Turnbull. He made his United debut on New Year’s Day 1907, when his suspension was lifted. He won two League Championship medals in 1908 – the club’s first – and 1911, and an FA Cup winners’ medal in 1909. His winding runs down the wing coupled with his pinpoint crosses made him an exceptional talent and one of the most popular footballers of his generation. ‘Old Skinny’, as he was nicknamed because of his wiry frame, played with a toothpick in the corner of his mouth – he claimed it was an aid to his concentration. Meredith courted controversy once more in the 1909/10 season when the FA, attempting to quash the fledging Players’ Union in which he had been a mover and shaker, banned him and a group of mainly United players. The group started training independently as ‘The Outcasts’ before the FA revised their stance – an early example of player power. The suspension of football for the First World War had a detrimental effect on the United team after hostilities ceased, with many of the new players not in the same class. Meredith returned to Manchester City in July 1921 as player-coach, after 335 appearances for the Reds. The last of his 48 international caps came against England in March 1920, aged 45, but he appeared in a semi-final against Newcastle United when he was 49. He returned to United in 1931 as a coach and remained closely associated with both Manchester clubs for the rest of his life.