Having played for Doncaster, Yorkshire and England schools, David Pegg was hot property by the age of fourteen. Although many of the top clubs were chasing the youngster, they met some difficulty in his mother, Jessie, who was reluctant to allow her son to pursue a career in football. However, the charms of Matt Busby and chief scout, Joe Armstrong won her over, and Pegg signed for the Reds in September 1950 giving his £10 signing on fee to his father.
Pegg made his mark in the club’s first ever FA Youth Cup game – seen by some as man of the match – and would go on to help the youth side claim victory that year. Meanwhile, Pegg made 21 first team appearances during the 1952/53 season, scoring four times in his 19 League games. Though he would never be a prolific goal scorer, it was the slight and nimble player’s ability to slide over the ground, ghosting past the opposition, that made Pegg a star for the first team, and for United’s reserve side.
Whilst Albert Scanlon’s coming of age increased competition for Pegg’s preferred position of outside left, the latter was still seen as a formidable threat. In United’s 1956 routing of RSC Anderlecht, it was Pegg who provided the passes that allowed Tommy Taylor and Dennis Viollet to notch up the goals. The 1956/57 season was to prove his most successful as the youngster made 37 League appearances, and earned his first and only England Cap.
Pegg’s irrepressible humour earned him close friends within the team, notably with fellow Yorkshireman, Tommy Taylor, with whom he lived in digs. The pair could often be found in local dance halls until the early hours. This did not go unnoticed, however, and returning late one night they found Jimmy Murphy awaiting them, ready to remind them of their responsibilities.
Celebrating their win in Belgrade, where he had travelled as a reserve, Pegg and Taylor performed a rendition of ‘On Ilkley Moor Bar t’At’, an English folk song, about their beloved Yorkshire.