Aberdeen and Manchester Utd
On Monday tickets will go on general sale for Aberdeeen v Manchester Utd pre-season friendly. For more information on the ticket sale click here. As RedWeb starts the build up to the game, Kevin Stirling looks back at some of the players who have played for both clubs.
There have been several great players who have distinguished themselves with both Aberdeen and Manchester Utd in the past. While the prospect of any switch between the clubs these days are slim, you could field an impressive XI that have worn the red of Aberdeen and Manchester Utd.
The first player that played for both clubs was goalkeeper Frank Barrett who first appeared for Newton Heath, the original name of Manchester Utd in 1896 against Newcastle after joining from Dundee at the start of the season. Barrett was an experienced keeper who had played on two occasions for Scotland; in 1894 against Ireland and Wales a year later. Barrett however was prone to taking criticism the wrong way and he was reported on occasion to return north to Dundee without club consent. Barrett played 118 games for Newton Heath before joining New Brighton in 1900. After returning north he rejoined Dundee in 1902 before Aberdeen manager Jimmy Philip persuaded Barrett to offer his experience to the newly formed Aberdeen. Barrett played in Aberdeen's first ever game in 1903 against Stenhousemuir and he went on to play 21 games for Aberdeen.
The very first transfer between the clubs was a blow to Aberdeen at the end of what was the clubs first season in existence. Charlie 'Chattie' Mackie finished his first full season with Aberdeen scoring 10 goals as Aberdeen competed in the Northern League in their first season in existence. Mackie was regarded as the main forward at Pittodrie having been with the original Aberdeen FC before the amalgamation in 1903. He was an automatic choice in the first team as he had a proven scoring record. Mackie also scored the Dons first ever goal in the Scottish Cup against Alloa on 23rd January 1904, having already become the first Aberdeen player to score a hat trick in the 'Whites' 8-1 victory over Lochgelly in November. Mackie's scoring prowess had alerted clubs in England.
Among those was Manchester Utd formerly Newton Heath, who were far removed from the huge club it is these days. Having changed their name in 1902 as the club had to stave of the real threat of extinction, a decent third place finish in the old division two had suggested that promotion was a realistic option. United turned to Mackie to strengthen their attack. The transfer fee of £200 was paid after Aberdeen had defeated Peterhead 5-1 to win the Fleming Shield at Pittodrie on 14th May 1904. English League president JJ Bentley travelled north to secure the transfer of Mackie to Manchester. Mackie was described in the local press as 'speedy and young, with promise of early improvement'. A promising trial match earned him a first team debut in the opening fixture of season 1904.05. After scoring the winner against Bristol, Mackie's immediate future looked secure. However an injury sustained against Glossop meant a prolonged spell out of the side. Although Mackie returned to the side before the end of the season and he still managed to keep the goals flowing, he had lost his place in the side and he moved to West Ham Utd after a year in Manchester. Mackie was welcomed back to Pittodrie in 1906 but he had lost his style and panache of old and he joined Lochgelly a year later.
Aberdeen-born George Mutch was famed for his memorable penalty for Preston in an FA Cup final against Huddersfield. It was the first penalty awarded in an FA Cup final and coming in the last minute of extra time, Mutch scored the winner as the ball smacked the underside of the bar and over the line. Mutch emerged from Banks O' Dee in Aberdeen but the Dons missed out as Mutch signed for Arbroath. Manchester Utd paid the Gayfield club £800 to take him to south. Mutch helped United back into the top division before a surprise move from Preston in 1937 saw much move in a £5,000 transfer. Although Mutch was never officially with Aberdeen, his hometown team, during the war time Mutch was stationed back in the north east and he made several appearances for the Dons, helping Aberdeen to success in some of the hurriedly arranged wartime leagues.
Jimmy Delaney certainly attained legendary status at his first senior club, Celtic. Delaney won league medals at Parkhead in 1936 and 1938 and he was also in the side that defeated Aberdeen at Hampden in the final of the 1937 Scottish Cup when a record 146,433 crowd turned out. A Scotland international, his relationship with Celtic deteriorated after he suffered a bad arm injury that kept him out of the game for two years. Celtic were not keen to hold on to Delaney who in their view was now injury-prone. After a wages dispute in 1945 Delaney was transferred to Manchester Utd in a £4,000 deal that was brokered by Matt Busby. Further success followed with further caps for Scotland. However after Aberdeen had played United in a friendly at Pittodrie in 1950, manager Dave Halliday enquired as to a possible transfer to bring Delaney to Pittodrie. Busby was reluctant to do a deal as he believed there was still some mileage in the 36-year-old, but Delaney was keen to come north as first team opportunities in Manchester were not guaranteed. A fee of £3,500 was paid to bring the Scotland international to Pittodrie and he made his debut against Falkirk at Pittodrie in the Dons 5-1 win in November 1950. Delaney's impact was immediate and initially he was hailed as one of the best signings Aberdeen had made. Thirteen months later Delaney was on the move however, and he joined Falkirk in December 1951. Incredibly Delaney continued playing until the age of 43, making a mockery of the Celtic claims about his long-term fitness, and he finished his career in Ireland after a spell in the Highland League with Elgin City.
It was Jimmy Delaney that also helped another player in his career after a chance visit to Ireland. Tommy Lowrie was brought up in the Glasgow area and started out with Troon Juniors. It was during a holiday in Ireland where Lowrie was involved in a charity match that Delaney immediately recommended to matt Busby that Lowrie was worth a second look. Lowrie signed for United in August 1947, making his first team debut against Manchester City in April 1948. Several injury problems curtailed Lowrie's involvement with United and as the side began to improve, it was always going to be difficult to break into the side on a regular basis. In March 1951 he was signed by Aberdeen and he made his debut for the Dons against Motherwell on 17th March 1951. Lowrie remained a regular in the Aberdeen side for the rest of that season and for the whole of 1951.52 but with the arrival of Tony Harris, Lowrie signed for Oldham where he went on to win a Third Division championship medal. When Lowrie signed for the Dons from United he was also joined by another Scot, Tommy Bogan, who was also unable to hold down a regular starting place with Manchester Utd. Bogan began his career with Blantyre Celtic before signing for Hibernian. A quick and skilful winger, Bogan joined Celtic in February 1946 and it was during his stay at Parkhead that he was selected for the Scottish League side. Although he was a firm favourite at Celtic, he never really settled and he was the subject of a £3,500 move to Preston in July 1948. Matt Busby then took Bogan to Old Trafford a year later where he played in the first team before losing his place to Johnny Downie. That prompted Aberdeen boss Dave Halliday to take the winger to Pittodrie and he made his Dons debut in a Scottish Cup tie against former club Celtic in March 1951. After nine months at Aberdeen, Bogan was on the move again and he joined Southampton.
In the late 1950's two Aberdonians went on to play for Manchester Utd although they were never in the red of their hometown club. Alex Dawson joined United from Hull Schools in 1957. Although originally from Aberdeen, his family moved to Hull through his father's job as a trawler man, when Alex was at a young age. Dawson went on to become the youngest scorer of a hat trick in the English league before moving to Preston in 1961. Ian Moir was expected to sign for Aberdeen as he had been training at Pittodrie from a young age. However he was tempted to sign for Manchester Utd in 1958 and he went on to enjoy reasonable success as a right winger before a certain George Best emerged on the scene.
Following on from that trend was Denis Law, the most famous football export from Aberdeen. It will always remain a blight on Aberdeen FC history that Law never played for the club he supported as a boy. You can read his full story in a special edition of RedMatchday that will be on sale at the game on the 12th, but Law joined United as an amateur in April 1955, days after Aberdeen had clinched their first league championship. By the time Law was forging a memorable career for himself, another Aberdonian almost blew his dreams of joining United. John Fitzpatrick was with Aberdeen Lads Club when he was asked to sign for Manchester Utd. After requesting that he played one last game for the Lads Club, he broke his leg in that game and his move was in doubt. Fortunately after making a full recovery United came back in for him and he signed up at Old Trafford in July 1962. His career at Manchester was a memorable one as he played alongside some of the finest players of that era. At the age of 26, Fitzpatrick had to give up playing after a succession of knee injuries.
Ian Donald may never have played for Aberdeen but his contribution to the club has been significant over the years. Donald joined Manchester Utd as a promising full back straight from Gordon's College in 1968. A Scotland schoolboy international, his career at Old Trafford never fully blossomed and he was part of the cull carried out by Tommy Docherty at the end of 1972. Ian returned to Scotland where he played with Partick and Arbroath before joining his father on the board at Pittodrie.
Martin Buchan was the Aberdeen captain that was the subject of a record transfer for Aberdeen as he joined Manchester Utd in a £125,000 deal in February 1972. Buchan recalls his time at both clubs in greater detail in an exclusive interview for RedMatchday but he was the first player to play for both Aberdeen and Manchester Utd since Bogan and Lowrie in 1951. In an oustanding career Martin is the only player to have captained both a Scottish Cup and English FA Cup winning sides. Buchan's younger brother George was a surprise signing for United in 1973. After being given a free by Aberdeen at the end of the 1972.73 season, he was expected to join Bury. However Tommy Docherty stepped in and offered him a one-year deal to join up at Old Trafford. George Buchan only made four substitute appearances for the side before he was allowed to eventually sign for Bury a year later.
It was in Japan and not Old Trafford that former Aberdeen manager Steve Paterson was to make his mark as a player. Paterson joined United in July 1974 and he made his debut as a substitute against Ajax in a UEFA Cup tie in September 1976. 'Pele' as was known was hit with several injury problems after a promising start but the arrival of Gordon McQueen made his chances of first team football all the more difficult. Eventually Paterson moved to Japan where he became a bit of a celebrity with a range of perks coming his way after he became the first European professional player in Japan.
Arthur Graham was an immediate success with Aberdeen as he won a Scottish Cup winners medal, only six weeks after joining the Dons from Cambuslang. Graham was a raw 17-year-old in the final against the side that had just defeated Don Revie's Leeds United side at Elland Road. Graham went on to become a U-23 international at Aberdeen before he joined Leeds in 1977 in a £125,000 transfer. In 1983 at the age of 30, Arthur Graham signed for Manchester Utd where he enjoyed a short but successful spell. Graham eventually left to wind down his career with Bradford City.
One Aberdonian that was desperate to face his hometown club was Graeme Hogg. After making his debut for United in January 1984, Hogg was in the United side that made it through to the semi final of the ECWC that year. Holders Aberdeen were involved in the other semi final and hopes were high of an all-British final in Switzerland. Juventus and Porto had other ideas and both Aberdeen and United were eliminated. Hogg had the misfortune of deflecting a Juventus equaliser at Old Trafford in a 1-1 draw.
Current Celtic manager Gordon Strachan joined Aberdeen from Dundee in November 1977 in what was one of the best bargains ever by Aberdeen in the transfer market. Strachan went on to play his part in that great Aberdeen side under Alex Ferguson in the 80's that carried all before them at home and in Europe. Strachan first came to the attention of United when he played for the Dons in Martin Buchan's testimonial at Old Trafford in August 1983. Strachan was inspired as he tormented the United defence and Ron Atkinson had seen enough to become an admirer. Despite interest from several European clubs, Strachan joined United in May 1984 after he had helped Aberdeen to a third Scottish Cup in succession.
The last player that was involved in a sizeable transfer between the clubs was that of Scotland keeper and current Aberdeen coach Jim Leighton. After a successful spell with the Dons that brought unprecedented success to Aberdeen, Leighton was tempted south to join Alex Ferguson at Old Trafford in the summer of 1988 in a £750,000 transfer. Leighton was expected to be a huge success at Old Trafford but things did not work out. Leighton was dropped by Ferguson for the 1990 FA Cup final replay after the first game ended in a 3-3 draw. Leighton eventually returned to Scotland and with Aberdeen for a second spell after he became the most capped keeper in Scottish football history with 91 caps - reminding everyone he was a world class keeper.
The last player that played for both clubs was young Alex Notman, an Edinburgh born forward who was loaned to Aberdeen in February 1999. His appearances for the Dons were few and far between and he was not retained as the season drew to a close. Notman eventually ended up at Norwich City in 2000 after a succession of loan spells.