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From Goal-Line to Touchline

Jack Crompton is one of only two surviving members of Manchester United's illustrious 1948 FA Cup winning side and the first to pen his autobiography. Jack served the club as goalkeeper, trainer and caretaker manager for almost 40 years between the 1940s and the 1980s. His career between the sticks brought the first taste of glory to Matt Busby's United, starring in a team that helped transform the club from pre-war also-rans to England's best supported club. As a 'keeper Jack was an automatic choice until the signing of Reg Allen and the emergence of Ray Wood in the 1950s. With the emergence of the Babes, many of whom Jack captained in the club's reserve team, Jack moved on to coach Luton Town in 1956. But in the wake of the Munich Air Disaster two years later, he returned to the club to assist Jimmy Murphy and, after his recovery, Matt Busby in United's re-building. An integral part of United's coaching set-up throughout the sixties, Jack was a trusted fi gure for players and management and helped guide the club to honours culminating in long-awaited European success in 1968. As assistant to Wilf McGuinness Jack witnessed first-hand the difficulties the club faced following Busby's retirement and moved on to coach at Preston with Bobby Charlton before managing Fourth Division Barrow. He returned to Old Trafford under Dave Sexton as reserve coach, finishing his lengthy professional association with the club as caretaker manager during a tour of the Far East in 1981 which could have ended in diplomatic disaster without Jack's forward planning and patience. Now a sprightly octagenarian in 'From Goal-line to Touchline' he talks candidly about the considerable changes in the game and refl ects on a career that took in glory and tragedy in equal measure.
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