Having been born in Hulme, Manchester – a district of the city virtually equidistant from Old Trafford and Maine Road – it was a pretty safe bet that Albert Scanlon, should he decide to pursue a career in football, would more than likely end up at Manchester United or Manchester City.
He was educated at St Wilfred’s School, Hulme, where he distinguished himself on the football field sufficiently to be chosen to play for Manchester Boys.
Albert joined United’s groundstaff in 1950 and proceeded to sign professional forms in December 1952. Making his way through the ranks, he picked up two FA Youth Cup winners’ medals (1953 and 1954) before making his league debut against Arsenal at Old Trafford on Saturday 20 November 1954. It was a successful start with United taking the points from a 2-1 win.
He contributed to the 1956 and 1957 League championship triumphs, usually as David Pegg’s deputy, but failed to make enough appearances on both occasions to qualify for a prized winners’ medal. The championship successes led to United plying their trade in the European Cup for two consecutive seasons and Albert was included in the party, and the team, for the fateful quarter-final trip, in February 1958, to Belgrade which preceded the horrendous Munich air disaster.
Mercifully, Albert survived the tragedy but he suffered head and leg injuries. Making an excellent recovery he was ready to resume his career at the onset of the following season, which was to his finest for the club. He was a fine winger with excellent pace, good ball skills and the talent to provide a plentiful supply of ammunition for his fellow forwards.
Remarkably, United proceeded to end season 1958-1959 in runners-up spot just six points behind champions Wolverhampton Wanderers. Albert was ever present in the side scoring a highly impressive 16 goals, a fine total for an orthodox winger.
That season provided the zenith of his days at Old Trafford and in November 1960 he severed his links with the club and moved north to sign for Newcastle United. It was a short stay on Tyneside and in February 1962 he upped sticks and transferred to Lincoln City. Again, he couldn’t settle and little more than a year later he joined Mansfield Town, helping them to promotion in his first season.