|Born :||01 Jun 1926|
|Signed :||01 Aug 1951|
|Debut :||01 Sep 1951 v Bolton (A) League|
|Goals total :||45|
|Appearances total :||276|
|Left United :|
Old Trafford pulses have regularly been set racing by the sight of a tricky winger tearing up the flanks. From Billy Meredith at the turn of the last century, through George Best, Gordon Hill, Ryan Giggs, through to the modern-day brilliance of Cristiano Ronaldo, wide men have been staples of every great United side. And Johnny Berry stands comparison with the best.
Berry came to Matt Busby’s attention while playing against the Reds for Birmingham City. The two-footed winger had single-handedly destroyed United on one occasion, making him, in Busby’s eyes, the ideal replacement for Jimmy Delaney after he left in 1950. Getting his man was not an easy task, though. Birmingham were reluctant to let their star performer depart and Busby was forced to wait 18 months before finally securing his services. The wait was worth it. Berry, who as a youngster had been rejected by his home town team Aldershot as, ‘too small to make a footballer’, helped the Reds to the title in his first season, scoring six goals in 36 matches. Despite the title success United were soon in transition. As a senior player Berry’s experience was invaluable to a team now seeing the first wave of Busby Babes. His reward for providing chances for Tommy Taylor and Dennis Viollet was a second league championship medal in 1955/56 and a third in 1956/57. At international level Berry collected just four caps, being overshadowed by Stanley Matthews and Tom Finney. His career was cut short by injuries sustained in Munich. But it was a miracle that he survived the crash at all, suffering horrific injuries including a fractured skull, broken jaw and a broken pelvis. In a United career spanning seven seasons, he scored 45 goals in 276 appearances, including the winner in the 1957 European Cup quarter-final against Athletic Bilbao.