Downie went on to play his part as Busby’s men finished runners-up in the 1948/1949 and 1950/1951 title races and then enjoyed his best season in a red shirt, contributing 11 goals from 31 appearances, when the club won its first league championship in more than 40 years. He was also on the scoresheet when United defeated Newcastle United 4-2 to claim the FA Charity Shield in the following campaign.
Despite never really establishing himself as a permanent fixture in the United eleven, Downie, ironically, went on to overtake both Morris’ appearances and goals totals for the club. He moved on to Luton Town, in exchange for a £10,000 cheque, in August 1953 and made an immediate impact by scoring a hat-trick on his debut against Oldham Athletic on the opening day of the 1953/1954 season.
Downie later played for Hull City, Mansfield Town and Darlington, as well as also turning out for non-league clubs Hyde United, Mossley and Stalybridge Celtic in the Greater Manchester area.
Johnny Downie, who passed away peacefully on 19 February 2013 in Tynemouth, will be fondly remembered by all who knew him. Staff at Manchester United
Born: 19 July 1925, Lanark
Died: 19 February 2013, Tynemouth
United debut: 5 March 1949 at Charlton
Other clubs: Bradford Park Avenue, Hull City, Mansfield Town, Darlington, Hyde United, Mossley, Stalybridge Celtic