||This biographical article needs additional citations for verification. (August 2010)|
|Full name||Garry Birtles|
|Date of birth||27 July 1956|
|Place of birth||Nottingham, Nottinghamshire, England|
|Playing position||Centre Forward|
|Long Eaton Rovers|
|Long Eaton United|
|* 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. 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.
Birtles was signed by Nottingham Forest from non-league Long Eaton United 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.
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.
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.
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. 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
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.
After an 18-month period with Notts County (for which he appeared in almost every league game), Birtles ended his career with Grimsby Town, helping them to two successive promotions up until 1991, by which time he had accumulated more than 400 professional league appearances.
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.
- Nottingham Forest
- League Cup: 1978-79
- Anglo-Scottish Cup: 1976-77
- European Cup: 1978-79, 1979-80
- UEFA Super Cup: 1979
- First Division Runner-up: 1978-79
- Intercontinental Cup Runner-up: 1980
- Grimsby Town