21/02/2013 15:18, Report by Cliff Butler
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Obituary: Johnny Downie

Manchester United was sad to learn that Johnny Downie, a member of the club’s first post-war championship-winning side, passed away earlier this week. He was 87.

Born John Dennis Downie in Lanark, Scotland on 19 July 1925, he was signed by United in March 1949, for a then club record transfer fee of £18,000. He was recruited from Bradford Park Avenue, where he’d combined playing with working as a collier prior to making football his full-time occupation.

Bought by (Sir) Matt Busby to fill the void left by the departure of Johnny Morris to Derby County, Downie spent four-and-a-half seasons at Old Trafford, making 116 competitive appearances and scoring 35 goals.

A skilful inside forward, he looked to be the perfect replacement for the popular Morris, who’d moved to the Baseball Ground after being granted a transfer request following a disagreement with Busby. The belief that Downie could readily fill Morris’ boots was enhanced further when he scored on his debut in a 3-2 win over Charlton Athletic at the Valley on 5 March 1949.

Downie went on to play his part as Busby’s men finished runners-up in the 1948/1949 and

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Johnny Downie (1925-2013)

Born: 19 July 1925, Lanark
Died: 19 February 2013, Tynemouth

United debut: 5 March 1949 at Charlton
Appearances: 116
Goals: 35

Other clubs: Bradford Park Avenue, Hull City, Mansfield Town, Darlington, Hyde United, Mossley, Stalybridge Celtic


Premier League