Every now and then RedFlagFlyingHigh takes a look at a significant United moment that occurred on this very day several years ago. Some are more significant than others it has to be said, but this week 80’s aficionado Steve Crabtree takes a look at a player born on this very day, whose greatest asset to United was arguably convincing Sir Alex – or plain old Alex as he was known then- that the United side he inherited was in desperate need of a new striker.
On 23rd December, 1962 – former Manchester United striker Terry Gibson was born in Walthamstow, London.
Signed by Ron Atkinson from Coventry City in January 1986, Gibson came to Old Trafford with much expectation. He’d hit the back of the net a very credible 43 times in 98 appearances for the Sky Blues, and with Alan Brazil going the other way in a swap-deal, many reds were looking forward to a successful period at the club for Gibson, who joined when United were four points clear at the top of the league.
Unfortunately, it would be a bumpy ride for the player, who saw first team chances limited shortly after signing for The Reds. Mark Hughes was finalising a transfer to Barcelona but was going to be the main man up front until the end of the season, and Frank Stapleton wasn’t budging easily from the other striking position.
Gibson found himself on the bench for most of the remainder of the season, and wasn’t able to find the net during that time. The arrival of Peter Davenport further made it difficult for him to make his mark on the pitch.
He thought his chance was going to come when Hughes left for Spain, and it looked like Gibson might get the run of games he needed to find the prolific form that caught Atkinson’s eye.
But Atkinson wasn’t to be at the club much longer. A bad start to the 1986/87 season saw United in disarray, and in November Alex Ferguson took over from Big Ron, and Gibson wouldn’t play many games under the new boss.
Gibson scored one goal for United, against Arsenal in front of the Stretford End in a 1-1 draw, and played a total of 23 matches. But Ferguson was here to rebuild.
Brian McClair signed the following summer, and Gibson was shown the door after 18 months. He was picked up by Wimbledon where his career took off again – winning an F.A. Cup winners medal, and getting back on scoring terms with 22 goals in 86 games.
In December 2010, it was revealed that Terry Gibson had successfully undergone a quintuple heart by pass operation 12 months previously. A man who, so he thought, had been healthy all his life, his arteries were so badly blocked that his life was in danger. He is still adjusting to life 12 months after surgery, and takes statins to control his cholesterol levels, and has to stick to a strict diet regime.
Gibson also works for Sky Sports as a commentator.
Follow Steve on twitter