David Gaskell's Debut For Man Utd Is About As Fairytale As You Get

David Gaskell's Debut For Man Utd Is About As Fairytale As You Get

It's a story taken straight from the dreams of little boys all over the planet, but for one 16-year-old six decades ago, that dream became a reality in the most terrifyingly fantastic circumstances. this evening have published the account from David Gaskell, who played for Matt Busby's Red Devils between 1956 and 1969.

The goalkeeper regales how he had never even seen United play before joining the club as a teenage schoolboy. Thrown in digs with England star Duncan Edwards and Billy Whelan, who were both tragically killed in the Munich Air Disaster only two years later, the youngster kept himself busy with helping out the Old Trafford ground staff, when he wasn't training.

United played crosstown rivals Man City in the Charity Shield in October '56, at City's Maine Road stadium.

Having caught two buses to get from Salford to the game, Gaskell was able to source himself a ticket outside the ground just before kick-off.

Packed into the paddock beside the tunnel, Gaskell watched on as United keeper Ray Wood succumbed to a first-half injury. Little did he know that he was only moments away from the biggest moment of his life.

Somebody, I don’t know who, must have seen me in the paddock beforehand, because before I knew what was happening, Bert Whalley ran over and shouted for me to come down to the dressing room. I had no idea what was happening, but I made my way down to Bert, we went to the dressing room and he just said it.

You’re going on.


In one of the most surreal experiences a 16-year-old could ever have, he stepped out on to the pitch for the second half, much to the shock of housemate Edwards who had been keeping goal in Woods' absence.

United would go on to win the game 1-0 thanks to a goal 15 minutes from time from Denis Violett.

Gaskell not only kept a clean sheet on the night, but he also became United's youngest ever player in the process, only nineteen days on from his sixteenth birthday. It's a record he still holds to this day.

Read the whole crazy tale here.

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Aaron Strain

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