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Roger Byrne - Captain of the Busby Babes

Iain McCartney

Roger Byrne was the ultimate professional footballer of his era. As captain of the most successful team in English football, he led a celebrated side with strength, skill and panache to help Matt Busby create his legendary Babes and turn them into a force all Europe had to reckon with.
During three seasons as captain of Manchester United, he led the club to two League Championships, an FA Cup Final and became the first to lead an English club team into Europe. But, having dominated domestic football, Roger and many of his colleagues perished amid the wreckage of the Munich air disaster.

Forty years later the memories remain vivid. In his fourth United book, Iain McCartney tells the heroic but ultimately tragic story of a man who, though perhaps not the most glamorous member of that fantastic team, is held in high affection by all who knew him and saw him play.

Perhaps an extract from a 1956 ‘derby’ match report best sums up Roger’s commitment. It demonstrates a style of play not too dissimilar to United’s latter-day captains Roy Keane and Bryan Robson.

"Here was the captain courageous - a strong man who listened to the crowd’s boos and heard a call to action… who listened to two stern lectures from the referee and charged back into the game as if they had been pep talks. This was the moment when Byrne stepped in, the longer they booed, the harder he played. He loved it!"

On this evidence, there’s no doubt Roger Byrne is a legend, one of United’s all-time greats.

With a foreword by Harry Gregg MBE

Published in hardback, 165pp, the book contains 40 historic photographs, many previously unpublished.

£16.95 hardback  ISBN 1 901 746 14 3