"He was just a manager's dream"
"Brian was under-rated, he gave 100% wherever he played for England and Manchester United"
As the youngest of a famous footballing family, Brian Greenhoff always looked up to his brother. He followed Jimmy into the school team, local Barnsley and England schoolboy teams and when the elder Greenhoff finally tasted glory as a professional with Leeds United in the 1968 League Cup Final, Brian was at pitch-side as an enthusiastic ballboy. One of the last youngsters scouted by Matt Busby, Brian joined the newly crowned European champions just weeks after their emotional Wembley triumph that same year.
Unfortunately, injuries and the club's subsequent slump meant that his career ground to a standstill, as successive managers battled to keep the most famous name in football in the First Division. It wasn't until the arrival of Tommy Docherty that his career really took off. A promising central midfielder, he dropped back to centre-half in an emergency and never looked back, earning plaudits from the media and selection from successive England managers.
Undeterred by relegation from the top flight in his full season, Brian led United to glory from the back as a ball-playing defender. Promotion was followed by cup final devastation in 1976 as United's odds-on favourites crashed to Second Division Southampton before he returned, alongside brother Jimmy to triumph in 1977 beating Liverpool.
Yet that proved to be the peak of Brian's football career - within weeks his mentor had been sacked as United boss and the arrival of Dave Sexton led to his eventual departure for Leeds United. With the move down the football ladder, his international career also petered out.
After brief trips to play in South Africa and Finland, he joined his brother at lowly Rochdale, Jimmy as manager and Brian as player-coach. Sadly, the job proved momentous for all the wrong reasons as relations between the pair suffered in the aftermath of Jimmy's dismissal. Aside from a brief detente a few years later, the pair haven't spoken for over 20 years.
Now Brian has decided to set the record straight: “I’m always asked ‘how’s your brother?' as I’m sure he is. There’s only so long that you can avoid the question and though it has been extremely difficult to put on record - for my family as well as me - I feel that it is the right time to put an end to the questions."
"GREENHOFF!" is the story about one of United's best loved sons in one of the club’s most infamous eras.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
BRIAN GREENHOFF was signed as a junior by Manchester United in 1968. He made 268 appearances for the club scoring 17 goals. He won a Second Division championship medal in 1974-75 and an FA Cup winner’s medal in 1976-77. He also appeared in the 1976 FA Cup Final and was on the bench for the 1979 Final.
Brian moved to Leeds United in 1979 for £350,000. He went on to make 72 appearances and score one goal at Elland Road before retiring from the English game. Following stints in South Africa and Finland, Brian made a brief comeback as a player-coach alongside his brother Jimmy at Rochdale in 1983 before retiring permanently.
Capped by England 18 times and England B once Brian now lives in Rochdale and enjoys cooking, watching Manchester United and spending time with his wife Maureen and his three sons.
WAYNE BARTON, who worked with Brian to write this book, is a lifelong Manchester United supporter. Wayne is football columnist for international sports broadcaster Setanta Sports.