Garry Birtles

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Garry Birtles
Personal information
Full name Garry Birtles
Date of birth (1956-07-27) 27 July 1956 (age 57)
Place of birth Nottingham, Nottinghamshire, England, UK
Playing position Centre Forward
Youth career
Long Eaton Rovers
Long Eaton United
Senior career*
Years Team Apps (Gls)
1976–1980 Nottingham Forest 87 (32)
1980–1982 Manchester United 58 (11)
1982–1986 Nottingham Forest 125 (38)
1987–1988 Notts County 63 (9)
1989–1991 Grimsby Town 69 (9)
National team
1979–1980 England U-21 2 (1)
1980 England B 1 (0)
1980 England 3 (0)
Teams managed
1997–1999 Gresley Rovers
* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only.
† Appearances (Goals).

Garry Birtles (born 27 July 1956) is a retired English footballer, who played as a forward in the Football League between the 1970s and 1990s.[1] He is best known for his time at Nottingham Forest, during which he won the 1979 and 1980 European Cup Finals. He was also capped three times by England.[1]

Club career[edit]

Nottingham Forest[edit]

Birtles was signed by Nottingham Forest from non-league Long Eaton United[1] for £2,000. He made his Forest debut as a winger in March 1977 in the old Second Division, against Hull City. From that point on he disappeared from first team contention, not making his second appearance until September 1978. Peter Withe had been sold to Newcastle and "prodigy" Steve Elliott failed to make the grade, allowing Birtles an unexpected chance which he grasped, scoring his first goal for the club in his third match, in the European Cup against Liverpool. Birtles kept his place for the rest of the season, capping his success with a fantastic display in the 3–2 win over Southampton in the 1979 League Cup Final (scoring 2 goals) and a 1979 European Cup winner's medal via the 1–0 victory over Malmö FF of Sweden in Munich's Olympic Stadium. He was quickly established as one of the top strikers in England, having scored 14 times in the league alone that season.[2]

He gained another winner's medal in the following season's European Cup against Hamburg. He also played in every First Division game for Forest that season, scoring 12 goals.[2]

He began the 1980–81 season in fine form, scoring six goals in nine league games for Forest, before a £1.25 million fee took him to Manchester United.

Manchester United[edit]

He made his debut for Manchester United under manager Dave Sexton 22 October 1980, in a First Division victory over Stoke City at the Victoria Ground. He made 28 appearances in his first season with the club.[3]

He scored his first league goal for United in the 1981–82 season, and went on to score 11 times for them that season.[3]

Coincidentally, his Manchester United spell ended where it began—against Stoke City. His final appearance for them came on the last day of the season, when they beat the Potters 2–0 at Old Trafford.[4] He began the 1982–83 season still with Manchester United, but was not selected for a first team game, and returned to play for Nottingham Forest.

Return to Forest and later career[edit]

His second spell at Forest included a spell at centre-half. However, he still proved himself to be a competent goalscorer, particularly with 15 league goals in the 1983–84 season and 14 in the 1986–87 season, the last of which he was joint top goalscorer alongside midfield star Neil Webb and up and coming striker Nigel Clough.

However, Forest manager Brian Clough allowed Birtles to part from the club on a free transfer in June 1987.[2]

After an 18-month period with Notts County (for which he appeared in almost every league game), Birtles ended his career with Grimsby Town,[1] helping them to two successive promotions up until 1991, by which time he had accumulated more than 400 professional league appearances.

International career[edit]

During the final months of his first spell at Nottingham Forest, when he was still reputed as one of the English league's finest strikers, he was capped three times at senior level for England. His first cap came on 13 May 1980 in a 3-1 friendly win over Argentina. His last came on 15 October that year in a 2-1 defeat against Romania in a 1982 World Cup qualifier.[5]

Honours[edit]

Club[edit]

Nottingham Forest
Grimsby Town

Individual[edit]

References[edit]

External links[edit]