Football: 'A great man of football'

Click to follow
'Two other Scottish managers, Bill Shankly and Jock Stein, ran him close in terms of respect and affection, but the course of Busby's career, scarred as it was by the Manchester United air disaster of 1958, earned him a special sort of devotion . . . Busby represented a belief in the way that football should be played, and it is that faith which still makes Manchester United the best-supported team in the country . . . Many things have happened at Old Trafford since Matt chose his last team. A number of managers, deeply contrasting in personality and method, have come and gone. Yet the club has never lost the aura of the Busby years, and his basic advice to teams in difficulty remains as sound as ever: 'Keep playing football.' If Matt could only be remembered for one thing it is that win, lose or draw, those who played under him rarely tried to do anything else.'

David Lacey, The Guardian

'Sportswriters who referred to Busby as a 'visionary' did so without hesitation because, of all the titles they bestowed upon him, none was more appropriate . . . Busby was not a coach in the modern sense, nor was he a tactical innovator. What he had above all else was a healthy respect for good players and a deep attachment to the beauty and romance of football. In the disaster at Munich he lost not only fine friends and a great team but an opportunity to influence decisively the direction of British football. He deplored tactical developments that suppressed artistry, and forecast accurately that 'too much mind' would rob the game of its more spectacular elements. More than a great manager, he was a great man of football.'

Ken Jones, The Independent

'Sir Matt Busby, who has died aged 84, was a gentle Scot who became the father figure of English football and one of the greatest managers in its history . . . Now that Busby's long association with Manchester United has ended, many may ask: 'What made him the man he was?' There is no simple answer. I suggest it took courage, toughness, good humour, firmness, sensitivity, shrewdness, kindliness, bluntness, tolerance, a lifetime's dedication to the game he loved and, above all, great humanity to produce the Matt Busby whom all football revered.'

Donald Saunders, The Daily Telegraph

'The greatness of Sir Matt Busby - and it was greatness way beyond the sporting sphere - was that he knew how to treat triumph and disaster just the same. He had humility on the outside laced with a ruthlessness underneath. He possessed, above all else, an ability to draw out of other human beings the response that he cherished: and that embraced humility, courage, style and resolve.'

Rob Hughes, The Times

'Football has lost a man who felt a fatherly duty to those who were good at its play; who had an easy comradeship with those who shared his delight. But football has also lost a man who loved the game itself, who knew that his skills at its thrilling simplicities handed him most of life's rewards.'

Brian James, Daily Mail

'Wherever and whenever football is discussed, where high standards are stressed and the romance of the game related, Sir Matt's example will live for ever.'

John Sadler, The Sun

'Just as he never forgot a name, so will we never fail to honour his.'

Mike Langley, Daily Mirror

'Sir Matt was truly the grand old man of English football, who will be remembered for all time as the father of the modern day Manchester United.'

David Meek, Manchester Evening News