Today marks the birthday of one United’s most well-known former players and the unofficial most biased commentator in the game, Patrick Timothy Crerand.
The Scot may be known to millions of younger fans due to his pundit duties on MUTV, where poor Stewart Gardner spends most games, correcting the somewhat ‘red tinted’ glasses wearing Paddy.
Crerand deserves his place on the channel as unlike some of the other former United ‘stars’ who regularly appear, the former midfielder is a true club great. I actually think, from what I’ve read and the footage that’s available from his playing days, that Crerand is somewhat underrated when it comes to his place in the pantheon of United’s heroes.
Crerand is a legend inside Old Trafford of that there can be no doubt, but when people in the media talk about the great United side of the mid to late 60’s it’s Best, Law and Charlton who get all the plaudits. However, there’s an argument put forward by many older United fans, that Crerand was actually the man that made Sir Matt Busby’s team tick.
A tough tackling midfielder who could also pick out a killer pass, Crerand was bought from Celtic five years after the Munich disaster. The Scot immediately helped repay his transfer fee, by helping United lift the FA Cup as they finally rose from the ashes of the tragedy that had decimated almost the entire team. United would also go on to win two titles and the European Cup during Crerand’s time there and there’s no doubt that had he not been in the team, the club would have struggled to win anything. There used to be a saying at Old Trafford “If Paddy plays well, United play well.”
With over 400 appearances for the Reds, there can be no denying that Crerand certainly put in the hours to earn his place in the club’s history books but his value to the team during that time may be somewhat overlooked.
To be fair to Crerand when you’ve got three European Footballers of the year playing alongside you it’s not that easy to get the recognition your efforts warrant.
Law, Best and Charlton may have the statue, but if there was any real justice, Crerand would probably be on the end of it.
United through and through- you only have to listen to him commentating to know that- Crerand even served as the club’s assistant manager under Tommy Docherty, helping to rebuild the side that had faltered after Busby.
It takes a special kind of man to make even some of the most die-hard United fans cringe somewhat at his unashamedly biased punditry but this is what Crerand is capable of. Some call it embarassing, I call it genius. Paddy works for MUTV not ITV or Sky and makes no bones about which side of the fence he’s sitting on.
When people look back at some of the most important men in the history of Manchester United Pasddy Crerand must be right near the top of the list, player, coach and pundit, happy birthday, we salute you sir.