ISBN 1 901 746 39 9
A legendary goalscorer and Busby Babe, Dennis Viollet’s career took in tragedy and triumph in equal measure. As a player he thrilled thousands as an outstanding teenage footballer with Manchester United’s all-conquering Babes, developing an almost telepathic understanding with fellow striker Tommy Taylor. Later, after surviving the Munich air disaster, Viollet broke Manchester United’s record for goals in a season - a mark he still holds despite the attempts of Van Nistlerooy, Law, Cantona, Hughes and Cole. Along with Wilf McGuinness, Dennis campaigned for the abolition of the maximum wage which saw United’s greatest ever goal-poacher on wages of £20 per week.
But by 1961
Dennis was mysteriously transferred from Old Trafford without a
word from Matt Busby, the club or a good luck farewell from fans
- United even denied the goalscoring legend a testimonial. Rather
than dwell on his misfortune however, Dennis began a second career
at Stoke City alongside Sir Stanley Matthews. There he helped the
Potters win promotion back to Division One and, once he hung his
boots up in 1967, received the testimonial he should have received
In the second
half of his life Dennis became ‘Coach Viollet’, a respected member
of the British coaching establishment in the United States. But
in 1998 Dennis fell ill and died, after a painful illness, in his
adopted home of Florida in March 1999.
footballer from a bygone age, Dennis was a loveable rogue, a charmer
in turn of both the opposite sex and opposing defences: Dennis didn’t
so much bludgeon opposing defenders as pick their pockets. In this
respect he was ahead of his time, a Manchester lad with the brains,
style and skills of a continental forward.
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