Wilf McGuinness has paid a heartfelt tribute to his former team-mate Bill Foulkes, who passed away earlier this week at the age of 81.
Foulkes was already established as a formidable presence at centre-half when McGuinness, nearly six years his junior, made his first-team debut in 1955.
The pair played a crucial role in getting the club back on its feet in the wake of the Munich air disaster, and they could have been in Sir Matt Busby’s side for years to come had Wilf’s career not been ended by a broken leg he suffered when aged just 22, in 1959.
But after subsequently joining the club’s coaching staff, Wilf was ideally placed to watch Bill’s outstanding contributions to the successes of the 1960s, culminating in the European Cup triumph over Benfica in 1968.
“He was quietly spoken, he did not say a lot but if anyone stepped out of line he would sort them out,” Wilf told ManUtd.com.
“He wanted to win all the time, but he was a quiet winner – never noisy. He said just enough, he was determined and a good leader because you followed his example. He was a great example to young players.”
As characters, Wilf admits the pair were as different as chalk and cheese but despite his quiet nature Bill helped United win four league titles, the FA Cup and become the first English side to win European football’s elite competition.
“He didn’t say much, he was the opposite of me!” Wilf laughs. “But because he was so determined, it rubbed off on the rest of the defenders.
"He was good to play with because you could rely on him. If a ball needed winning, Bill would win it and the others would get out of the way. He was very special in that way, and a great advert for Manchester United and for football.