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Discussion Starter #1
Rfr's recent thread on the 1909 commemorative jersey reminded me that I had a
few things to add about the legendary Billy Meredith. Been meaning to do this for ages but was lazy.




A few titbits for you.....

- He was United's first 'superstar' and the crowds came in their thousands to see him play.

- He was a flying winger in a career that spanned over 30 years. He played till he was 47. :eek:

- His nicknames were 'Old Skinny' and the 'Welsh Wizard'.

- He used to play with a toothpick in his mouth. :eek:

- He was capped 48 times by Wales, scoring 11 goals.

- Billy was born in Chirk, North Wales in 1874. He joined United from neighbours City,
in 1906 amidst a bribes and illegal payments scandal that resulted in Meredith
and a few of his team mates receiving lengthy suspensions from the FA.
His reputation was tarnished by the allegation that he bribed Aston Villa's Alec
Leake £10 to lose a match. He received an 18 month suspension in the end.

- In 1909 he was instrumental in helping United win the FA cup and was also
an important member in the title winning teams of 1908 and 1911, which were
the first 2 titles that United won.

- Meredith was the only player to have played over 300 games for both United AND City. Quite an achievement.

- In 1908 four players defected form City :D as they left Maine Road for United.
The players were James Bannister, Herbert Burgess and Sandy Turnbull,
a colourful Scot, who scored the winner in the 1909 FA Cup final.
(Ill write something soon about Turbull, he led a mad life lol)

- Meredith is the only player to have played at City's Hyde road and Maine road grounds,
as well as United's bank street and Old Trafford grounds.

- He died in Manchester, aged 83 in 1958, which was the same year as the Munich Disaster.



Billy Meredith was a massive influence in United's early successes and he will go
down as a great for both City and United. Hope you enjoyed the read.
Jazz
 

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he is one of my all time favourites. am off to an auction in a few weeks to try and get a hand signed programme for my collection...the guys is a legend and sandy turnbull....the guy who buried all the goals

have loads of stuff on all these guys....younger fans should learn about some of the true red legends that came before
 

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doesnt say about how he annoyed united fans by trying to wangle a move to Accrington Stanley by talking bout it in the press.

Eventually managed to keep him by offering him a 80p a week pay rise.
 

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Found an interesting article of the man himself..



Down the generations, we've been blessed with a glittering cavalcade of freescoring attackers, their names tripping off the tounge: a Reds roll of honour. Spence, rawley, Taylor and Viollet; Charlton, Law and Best, Cantona, the Cole-Yorke combo, Solskjaer and van Nistelrooy

But even these vintage goal machines couldn't quite manage the stunning feat achieved this autumn by Messrs Rooney, Tevez, Ronaldo and co - namely plundering four goals in four successive games. To find a Manchester United frontiline that potent we have to travel back a century exactly, to 1907/08, and the sublime pomp of the Welsh maestro Billy Meredith.

Meanhwile, for those in search of omens as Sir Alex ferguson's rapacious modern Reds continue the cut shell-shocked rearguards to ribbons, here's a tantalising circumstance to ponder.

That hallowed campaign of 100 years ago climaxed with United's first league title, and though there may be many a slip twixt November and may, none can deny the firepower is in place to secure our 17th championship.

Wile it is thrilling to debate the infinite possibilities of the near future, the distant past also offers endless fascination. Was Meredith really as influential in 1907 as Ronaldo is in 2007? Exactly what part did the spindly flankman from the little mining village of Chrik play in that landmark triumph? And does the turbulent toothpick-sucker, an enduring symbol of the club's first era of greatness, really qualify for the label of Old Trafford's first superstar?

Taking the last question first, then the answer is an unequivocal yes. When Meredith enlisten with United in vastly controversial circumstances in 1906, the Welsh international captured the imagination of the sporting world.

His story to that point had been dramatic enough. Having toiled in a Denbighshire pit between the ages of 12 and 20, he'd eventually escaped the drudgery after shining in local football; signing for Northwich Victoria in 1893, and reaching a big time a year later with Manchester City.

Excelling as the Hyde Road club lifted the FA Cup and two Second Division titles, he rose to stardom in the early years of the 20th century, but there was another, more complex side to William Henry Meredith.

As well as being a dazzling entertainer on the pitch, tormenting defenders with his speed and trickery on the right flank - often cutting inside to shoot at goal - he was a courageous campaigner for players' rights at a time when those who thrilled the crowds were treated like little short of contemptuously by their employers

A forcedful character, he campaigned passionately against condescension and hypocrisy of many clubs and the game's authorities. Increasingly militant, he became implicated in allegations of bribery and illegal payments, and although the rights and wrongs of a deeply complicated case against Billy Meredith and some of his City comrades were never wholly explained, the upshot was a ban from 1905 untill he resumed his career, with United, on New Year's Day 1907.

He became immediately apparent, the Blues' loss was emphatically the Reds' gain. On his United debut, at home to Aston Villa, infront of a highly vocal 40,000 crowd on a wintry afternoon at the club's Bank Street headquarters, he made a typical contribution, dashing to the byline and crossing for marksman Sandy Turnbull to head the only goal of the game.

For the remainder of that season Meredith - together with Turnbull, inside-forward Jimmy banister and classy full-back Herbert Burgess, his fellow recruits from scandal hir man City - bedded in impressively in their new surroundings, so that when the 1907/08 campaign kicked-off, they were ready to take the First Division by storm

And so they did, winning 13 of the first 14 games while romping into an early lead in the title race, which never looked in peril. The endlessly shrewd Ernest Mangnall, who rejoiced in the job description of secretary-manager and who had nipped in to sign the talented City contingent while his fellow top-flight bosses had dithered, had assembled a lovely attacking side bolstered by sound defence and a prodigiously industrious yet creative midfield. Sound familiar?

The half-back line, consisting of all-action local boy Diick (bloody filter) Duckworth, imposing skipper Charlie Roberts and the ever-steady Scot Alex Bell, was lauded as the team's heartbeat, and both the prolific Turnbull and goalscoring left-winger George Wall were rightly showered with bouquets. But there was no doubting Billy Meredith was United's most precious gem.

The Welsh marvel started the season in compelling form, scoring twice in a 4-1 triumph at Villa Park on the opening day, and although he didn't register again after netting in a Christmas Day 2-1 home success of Bury, his end-of-term tally of 10 striker in 37 appearances - he was absent only once - was hugely significant in the final reckoning.

Of course, his true value lay in carving out opportunities for others, and he was rampant in the four game purple patch equalled recently by Sir Alex's side.

United's victims in that autumn of 1907 were Chelsea (4-0), Nottingham Forest (4-1), Newcastle (6-1) and Blackburn (5-1), a stunning sequence from which the Red's title rivals never recovered. Mangnall's men stretched the winning margin to nine points, a remarkable achievement in the era of only two points for a win.

All the while, Billy Meredith was the press darling: bandy legs, jutting elbows, gaunt features and heavy, dark moustache, from the depths of which his trademark toothpick frequently protruded, proving ideal material for cartoonists of the day


His value to United was incalculable, not only solely because of his wing wizardry but because of his role in creating an unbreakable team spirit. Immensely popular with his colleagues, who often repaired to his house in Longsignt, particularly after matches, when members of the opposition often joined in the social whirl. Such scenes of solidarity were cemented by a sense of communal struggle by professional footballers for justice from their clubs, particularly in 1909, when a strike was averted only at the last minute.


The bone of contention was the steady advance in influence of the players' union, a movement in which Meredith and Roberts were particularly prominent. Meredith would carry the workers' rights banner for the rest of his life and today's handsomely rewarded ‘stars' owe a large debt to such doughty pioneers.

On the pitch, he continued to purvey his magical wile, contributing magnificently as United won the FA Cup in 1909 and lifted another league crown in 1910/11. by then he was 37 and widely expected to wind down gently, but he was still plying his trade for the reds after the First World War, when he was in his forties. After a financial disagreement with United in 1921 he crosses town once again, playing for City in an FA Cup semi-final in his 50th year.


So, as we raise our glasses to today's headline-makers, charge them too for Billy Meredith , the game's first superstar.
 

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great article babysenorita :) :) there was more to billy thatn meets the eye have quite a few articles and stuff on the guy ...yours sums him up really well
 

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Yeah i cant wipe out the smile all along while reading that..such an important figure in our history and the best part is, i thought Ryan Giggs is the only welsh wizard but i guess Billy deserved it more.
 

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babysenorita said:
Yeah i cant wipe out the smile all along while reading that..such an important figure in our history and the best part is, i thought Ryan Giggs is the only welsh wizard but i guess Billy deserved it more.
have seen some grainy black and white footage of him somewhere....its so old an ccoz its old film its looks like its been speeded up and he kinda zooms past people in a charlie chaplin way......if only they has sky multi camera angles in his day :)
 

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babysenorita said:
Wow that would be great to watch, do you by any chance has the link to it?:p
it was on a dvd my bro got from somewhere...compilation of clips some people had found.....if i can him to do it for me il try and get him to upload it to youtube or something on his account and then put a link up. :)
 

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That would be very nice...well, i love history doesnt matter what history and to be able to watch some old footage will be great. Thank your brother in advance for me mate and cheers to you too ;) lol...
 

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Discussion Starter #13
Bit more on him on manutd.com

OT100 #4: Bye bye, Billy

Ryan Giggs may have fall into the bracket of a veteran Welsh winger, but Giggsy looks just a young pup when compared to one of his forebears; the charismatic Billy Meredith...

The Background: Billy Meredith was one of football's first showmen. A former pit pony driver, the toothpick-chewing, tobacco-spitting Welshman joined Manchester City in 1892 and had a distinguished decade with the Blues. He left disgraced and banned for 18 months, however, amid allegations of bribing Aston Villa's Alex Leake to throw a game, and crossed to Old Trafford in May 1906. Meredith, a tricky, two-footed outside forward, quickly won the favouritism of the United support. His showmanship continued, with an especially eye-catching knack of lobbing penalties. He went on to make 335 appearances for the Reds in a legendary career which finally ended in May 1921.

The Occasion: With United marooned in mid-table, a paltry crowd of just 10,000 made it to M16 to see the Reds take on Derby County, unaware that it would be Meredith's final appearance. United did thanks to goals from Joe Spence (2) and George Sapsford, but Meredith, even playing with his customary toothpick in his mouth, but couldn't find a goal to round off the occasion.

The Aftermath: Even at 46, Meredith's career wasn't finished. He returned to City for another three seasons, and retired just shy of his 50th birthday, after the Blues' FA Cup semi-final defeat to Newcastle United.
 

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What a legend, I never knew he was from Chirk, that's where my dad was born, and Dolly Parton's mum (who also had the same surname as me!!!)
 

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When I hear the name Billy Meredith the first word that comes to mind is moustache. :laugh:

1908 was the year we won our first league title. Billy Meredith, in only his 2nd season and 1st full season at the club, played a major part.

It's good to know about our history...even if we don't bang on about it as much as the Scousers. :D
 
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