On this very day 65 years ago, 9 October 1954, Tommy Taylor scored four times for United in a 5-2 English First Division Championship win over Cardiff City at Old Trafford. Dennis Viollet also scored. Both Tommy and Dennis scored 20 First Division goals to become United’s joint top League goal scorers in season 1954-55 but Viollet was our leading goal scorer with 21 as he scored in the FA Cup.
On 4 March 1953, Matt Busby and his right hand man, Jimmy Murphy, travelled to Barnsley to enquire about signing Tommy who had scored 26 goals in 44 League appearances for the Yorkshire club. Barnsley were struggling on and off the pitch in Division 2 at the time and decided to cash in on their 21-year old striker who had attracted interest from a number of clubs including Cardiff City.
Busby and the Chairman of Barnsley negotiated for hours in the boardroom at Oakwell over the asking price of £30,000. Cardiff City were actually offering more than the £30,000 asking price but Tommy had his heart set on joining United who were the defending First Division Champions and had the country’s best young players, the famous Busby Babes.
Back then it wasn’t all about the money for clubs when it came to transfer dealings, they actually took their player’ wishes into consideration. In the end the shrewd Busby got his man for £29,999 after persuading The Tykes’ Chairman that ‘it would be unfair on the young lad to burden him with a £30,00 transfer tag.” But Busby did hand over £30,000 that afternoon as he gave the tea lady who had served him and Jimmy tea all day a £1 tip.
Sadly, Tommy lost his life in the Munich Air Disaster on 6 February 1958 but many who saw him play regard him to be the greatest striker who ever played for Manchester United and England. Tommy scored 131 goals in 191 appearances for United and netted 16 times in 19 internationals for England.
Tommy was so good he was nicknamed “Magnifico” by the legendary Real Madrid striker, Alfredo Di Stefano.
Branch SecretaryCarryduff Manchester United Supporters’ Club
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