An old-fashioned stopper who relished facing a bustling centre-forward, Bill Foulkes trails only Sir Bobby Charlton and Ryan Giggs in United’s all-time appearance list.
Over 18 seasons, in 688 matches, he provided solidity to the Reds' rearguard, so much so that during nearly two decades at Old Trafford it was rare for Sir Matt Busby to omit him.
Foulkes joined United as an amateur in March 1950 and turned professional in August 1951 after leaving his mining job at Lea Green Colliery, St Helens. His United debut came halfway through the 1952/53 campaign as a right back, but he later moved to his favoured position
of centre half. The switch suited Foulkes as he preferred to keep things simple, passing to his more gifted team-mates at the first opportunity.
A survivor of the Munich air crash, Foulkes captained a depleted United in the aftermath of the tragedy and led the Reds to the 1958 FA Cup final. Defeat against Bolton Wanderers was a bitter pill to swallow, but it was a rare one.
In a distinguished career, Foulkes won First Division championship medals in 1956, 1957, 1965 and 1967 and was back at Wembley, this time a winner, in the 1963 FA Cup final. Add to that his part in the 1968 European Cup-winning team and it’s