Greenhoff: How a storm took me to United

Tuesday 21 December 2021 17:00

Manchester United legend Jimmy Greenhoff tells the tale of his controversial transfer to Old Trafford in the latest episode of the UTD Podcast, out now.

The striker signed for the Reds midway through the 1976/77 season, just in time for the start of the team’s successful FA Cup campaign. He famously scored the winner in the final against Liverpool, but just six months earlier, Greenhoff’s heart belonged to another club.

He was a real fans’ favourite at Stoke City, having scored almost a century of goals since joining them in 1969, the year after he won the League Cup with Leeds United. In fact, the striker and supporters had such a strong bond that it would take some extreme weather to break it.
UTD Podcast: How Jimmy joined the Reds Video

UTD Podcast: How Jimmy joined the Reds

Club legend Jimmy Greenhoff reveals the unusual reason for his mid-season transfer from Stoke...

“It was damaged in a storm,” said Greenhoff, when actually recalling what happened to Stoke’s old Victoria Ground in the autumn of 1976. “It was caved in, in the middle, the roof was off. What a mess.”

As the team’s concerned captain, Jimmy went to see the Potters’ long-serving manager Tony Waddington and found him in the centre circle on the pitch. It was there that Greenhoff learned that Stoke would need to sell some players to cover the cost of the essential stadium repairs. 

“‘You can't do that, we've got a hell of a side here.’
“‘We can, Jim, and you’re the first to go.’ 
“I'm going nowhere. I love it here. The crowd love me, they chant my name all the time.”
That exchange was just the start of an argument between player and manager, with Greenhoff digging his heels ever deeper into the turf until Waddington played his trump card. “’There’s one more thing. I had a phone call this morning from Sir Matt [Busby], asking me, 'Is it right, you're selling Jimmy Greenhoff?'”

As he tells us in our official podcast, the interest from Manchester made the previously stubborn Stoke striker suddenly alter his stance. He agreed to be sold and was swiftly off to Old Trafford, from where Busby had phoned on behalf of the United manager at the time, Tommy Docherty.

To hear more about Greenhoff’s time with the Reds, including how he helped ‘The Doc’ to win the FA Cup, listen to the full episode of UTD Podcast now in our Official App.

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