To watch Ian Moir on Manchester United’s training pitch was to savour an irrepressible artist in all his impish glory.
In practice sessions the slim Aberdonian could manipulate a football with all the deftness and wit of his clubmate and fellow winger George Best, leaving international defenders helpless in his wake.
But all too frequently the indefatigably chirpy Moir was unable to replicate such exploits where it mattered most, in the heat of serious competition, and he never quite nailed down a regular first-team place with the Red Devils, whom he had joined as a 15-year-old in 1958.
Rising through the Old Trafford ranks while Matt Busby was rebuilding in the wake of the Munich disaster, Moir made his senior entrance at Bolton in October 1960. The Scot’s most settled run in the team was in 1963-64, when he featured 18 times and scored three goals as United finished as runners-up, but his form proved frustratingly inconsistent. In February 1965 he was sold to top-flight rivals Blackpool for £30,000, performing ably enough, sometimes shining alongside the brilliant Alan Ball, but after the Seasiders were relegated in 1967 he joined Fourth Division Chester.
He moved again in January 1968, this time to Wrexham, whom he helped to rise from the Fourth Division in 1970, eventually making nearly 200 appearances in two stints.
Ian Moir could captivate and he could infuriate, but he can be remembered warmly as a happy footballer who brought sunshine into the game.
Ian Moir, footballer: born Aberdeen 30 June 1943; played for Manchester United 1958-65, Blackpool 1965-67, Chester 1967-68, Wrexham 1968-72 and 1973-75, Shrewsbury Town 1972-73, Arcadia Shepherds, South Africa, 1975; died 26 March 2015.Reuse content