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Bill Foulkes will always be remembered as a loyal and legendary servant of Manchester United, after an epic playing career which spanned a remarkable 18 seasons.

Foulkes, who passed away on 25 November 2013, made 688 appearances for the Reds - a total surpassed by only three men - his team-mate Sir Bobby Charlton and more recently by Paul Scholes and the club's record-holder Ryan Giggs. An old-fashioned stopper who relished facing a bustling centre-forward, he provided so much solidity to the United rearguard that it was rare for Sir Matt Busby to omit him. Foulkes joined the club 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 somewhat surprising he was capped only once by England, against Northern Ireland in October 1954. Although noted more for stopping goals, Foulkes is fondly recalled for his happy knack of notching critical strikes. One in particular stands out – his goal against Real Madrid at the Bernabeu in 1968, which helped send Manchester United to the European Cup final. Foulkes retired in May 1970 but remained at Old Trafford as a coach before moving on to work in the USA, Norway and Japan. Sir Bobby Charlton once said of Bill: "I have untold affection for Bill Foulkes. We came from the same mining background, and we went through so much together. We were the sole survivors of the accident at Munich who went out to meet Benfica at Wembley. So when the game was over he was the first man I sought out. We exchanged some words... and they were deeply emotional. "Bill was renowned for being hard, and for being dour, but that didn’t mean he had no finer feelings. When I walked off that pitch after beating Benfica, I was proud to have him at my side.”

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Crerand, Aston, Busby and Best with the European Cup in 1968

Kings of Europe, 1968: Key men quoted Article

See what some of the central figures had to say about United's historic 4-1 win over Benfica on 29 May 1968.