Former United striker Alex Dawson passes away
Manchester United is saddened to learn that former striker Alex Dawson, a key part of the club's rebuild following the Munich Air Disaster, has died at the age of 80.
The Scotsman made 93 appearances for the Reds between 1957 and 1961, scoring 54 goals, including a famous hat-trick in the 1958 FA Cup semi-final, against Fulham at Highbury. It remains the last hat-trick scored in an FA Cup semi-final.
Originally in the United youth ranks under Sir Matt Busby, the Aberdeen-born striker was part of the exciting side that won the FA Youth Cup in 1956, and played alongside the likes of Wilf McGuinness, Sir Bobby Charlton, Mark Pearson and Kenny Morgans.
In 1957, at the age of 18, he scored on his debut against Burnley and would follow that up with strikes in the final three matches of the season to help United lift a fifth league title.
Dawson would go on to play a big part in United's rebuild following the horrors of the Munich Air Disaster. Having not been selected for the ill-fated trip to Belgrade, he was named alongside survivors Bill Foulkes and Harry Gregg in the historic starting XI for our first match after the crash, against Sheffield Wednesday, and was on the scoresheet in a 3-0 win.
The late striker would also play a stirring role as the patched-up United team made it to the 1958 FA Cup final. Although the Reds lost to Bolton in the showpiece occasion at the old Wembley Stadium, Dawson netted three goals in our semi-final against Fulham at Highbury to earn a 5-3 victory.
Alex left United for Preston North End in 1961, where he would go on to be nicknamed as 'The Black Prince', finding the net 114 times in 197 league appearances for the Lilywhites.
In the latter stages of his playing career, the forward featured for Bury, Brighton, Brentford and Corby Town before hanging up his boots in 1973.
The thoughts of everyone at Manchester United and, no doubt, many thousands of supporters, are with Alex's family and friends at this sad time.