Paddy Crerand Profile
Patrick Timothy Crerand, born Glasgow, Scotland, February 19, 1939. Paddy Crerand was firmly determined to escape from his rather miserable background of family tragedy and religious dogmatism to become a professional footballer. A combative player in every sense of the word, the Celtic, Manchester United, and Scotland international midfield enforcer built up a world wide reputation for his natural fighting spirit and his accurate tackling skills.
Growing up in the Gorbals area of Glasgow, Paddy Crerand signed professional terms with Glasgow Celtic in the summer of 1957, and was given his Scottish Football League baptism in a 3-1 victory against Queen of the South at Parkhead on the fourth of October 1958. While at Celtic Park, Crerand managed to raise quite a few eyebrows when the Celt became a close friend of Protestant Glasgow Rangers and Scotland favourite Slim Jim Baxter, who was widely known for his excessive drinking and gambling. After appearing in 91 Scottish Football League games for The Bhoys, however, the hard tackling midfielder made a move to Manchester United where he was handed his First Division debut in a 1-1 draw against Blackpool at Old Trafford on the 22nd of February 1963. At Old Trafford, he would become a regular member of the side which went on to win the First Division Championship twice, the FA Cup once and the European Cup once back in the swinging nineteen sixties, and without doubt his quiet authority both on and off the football field played a crucial part in the success of the club and his contribution to Sir Matt Busby´s team cannot possibly be overestimated.
Paddy Crerand, who accumulated fifteen goals in 397 appearances in all competitions for Manchester United, would appear in his final match for The Reds in a thrilling and high-scoring 4-3 First Division triumph against neighbouring Manchester City at Maine Road on the fifth of May 1971. After enjoying a comparatively short spell at South African team Wits University Football Club in Bloemfontein in Johannesburg, the Glaswegian was appointed as assistant manager to his fellow countryman Tommy Docherty at Manchester United in December 1972, but he ultimately left Old Trafford to take the managerial helm at Third Division side Northampton Town at the start of the 1976-77 season. With both of his parents coming from the small town of Donegal in the Republic of Ireland, Crerand eventually became increasingly involved in Irish nationalist politics and such matters over the years. Seamus Heaney: “Anyone with gumption and a sharp mind will take the measure of two things: What’s said and what’s done.” Paddy Crerand Playing Career: Glasgow Celtic, Manchester United, Wits University FC. Playing Honours: English First Division 1965, 1967, English FA Cup 1963, UEFA European Cup 1968, English FA Charity Shield 1965, 1967, British Home Championship 1962.
Paddy Crerand Quickfacts
A British Labour Party member, the eloquent, and sometimes outspoken, Paddy Crerand was a good friend of John Hume of the Social Democratic and Labour Party in Northern Ireland, and in 1975, the no-nonsense Scotsman went to a secret meeting in a safe house in the Bogside area of Derry in Northern Ireland where he would have secret talks with several leading IRA members, including Martin McGuinness.