But Bailey's candidature was short-lived. After one further cap, he suffered the serious knee injury that was to end his First Division career. Although he recovered enough to go to Mexico in the 1986 World Cup squad, he broke down in training. A comeback for United ended in early 1987 after five matches.
Born in Ipswich, where his father Roy kept goal in Alf Ramsey's championship team, Bailey was raised in South Africa and finished his playing career there with Kaiser Chiefs, simultaneously developing a broadcasting career. Having previously been sports editor of a Johannesburg radio station, he now fronts football coverage on M-Net, the country's major independent television channel.
"There is a huge following for British football here and we show live games on Saturday, Sunday and Monday," Bailey said. "I do one of the shows alongside Terry Paine, the old Southampton player."
Now 36 and married to Kate - "the first South African girl I met in Manchester" - Bailey lives in a suburb to the north of Johannesburg. They have a three-year-old daughter, Lara, and are expecting a second child in April. Bailey underwent knee surgery for the eighth time two months ago.
Jon CulleyReuse content