Gary Bailey

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Gary Bailey
Personal information
Full name Gary Richard Bailey
Date of birth (1958-08-09) 9 August 1958 (age 64)
Place of birth Ipswich, England
Position(s) Goalkeeper
Senior career*
Years Team Apps (Gls)
1975 Cape Town City 0 (0)
1976–1979 Wits University
1978–1987 Manchester United 294 (0)
1988–1990 Kaizer Chiefs
International career
1979–1984 England U21 14 (0)
1985 England 2 (0)
*Club domestic league appearances and goals

Gary Richard Bailey (born 9 August 1958) is a former footballer who made nearly 300 appearances in the Football League playing as a goalkeeper for Manchester United. Born in Ipswich, Suffolk, he grew up in South Africa, but went on to be capped twice for England.[1][2]

Playing career[edit]

Although born in England, Bailey grew up in South Africa and started his career with Wits University in Johannesburg. In the late 1970s, Bailey paid his own fare to Manchester for a trial with Manchester United. He made his debut against Ipswich Town (who his father, Roy Bailey, had played for, and also his birthplace), on 18 November 1978. He went on to play 294 games for the Red Devils between 1978 and 1987.[3]

He established himself as United goalkeeper in the late 1970s following the retirement of Alex Stepney. He was considered to be one of the best goalkeepers in England in the early to mid-1980s. During his time with Manchester United, Bailey won FA Cup medals in 1983 and 1985. He played under three United managers: Dave Sexton, Ron Atkinson, and Alex Ferguson.

He represented the England national team twice at senior level, but was unable to establish himself in the first XI due to the form of the more-experienced Peter Shilton and Ray Clemence. He was first capped against the Republic of Ireland on 26 March 1985, won by England 2–1, with his other international appearance coming on 9 June that year in a 1–0 loss against Mexico.[4]

However, he developed a serious knee injury during training at the 1986 FIFA World Cup[5] and missed most of the 1986–87 season, after which he retired and returned to South Africa.

He subsequently resumed his career with Kaizer Chiefs in 1988, winning a quadruple in 1989 before retiring in 1990.[6][7]

Peter Schmeichel said on BBC Match of the Day 3 that Gary Bailey was his favourite goalkeeper of all time and he idolised him as a youngster growing up in Denmark.[8]

Post-playing career[edit]

After retiring in the UK, Gary Bailey returned to South Africa, and after resting his knee, decided to return to play for glamour club Kaizer Chiefs with whom he won the league in 1989 and amassed five trophies in two years.

He retired for a final time, and became a radio presenter on Talk Radio 702. He worked as a TV analyst and football presenter at SuperSport, where he spent 25 years as the face of English football to the continent of Africa.

At the same time as living the dream of playing professional football, Gary completed a BSc in physics at Manchester Polytechnic (now Manchester Metropolitan University). Whilst working full-time at SuperSport, he managed to complete an MBA from Henley in Oxford.[9][10]

He was an ambassador in South Africa's successful bid to host the 2010 FIFA World Cup.

Besides being a TV soccer expert, he was also a top keynote speaker[11] on the subject of "Success under Pressure"[12] and travelled the world speaking to many of the top companies such as Microsoft, IBM, Nike, Coca-Cola, Mercedes Benz and many more. He was recognised for his speaking success by being inducted into the Speakers Hall of Fame in 2010.[13]

He has written two books – Success under Pressure, with the foreword written by former manager Sir Alex Ferguson, and a personal book to help society on divorce called "Putting the Kids first".[14]

He currently[when?] works for BeIN sports TV in Miami, Florida, covering Spanish and French football, and also does commentary for USL games (USA 2nd division).

As of 2023, Bailey is serves as a broadcast analyst for the National Women's Soccer League.[15]

Personal life[edit]

He is the son of former Ipswich Town goalkeeper Roy Bailey.[16]

On returning to South Africa in 1987, Bailey married Kate Saunders in 1990 and had three children, Lara, Jenna and Ross. The couple divorced in 2006.

He met his current wife Michelle McLean (Miss Universe 1992) in 2010, married in March 2013, and then emigrated in December 2013 to USA and currently lives on Miami Beach in Florida.[17]


Manchester United

Kaizer Chiefs


  1. ^ "Gary Bailey". UK A–Z Transfers. Neil Brown. Retrieved 25 January 2010.
  2. ^ "Gary Bailey". Englandstats. Retrieved 25 January 2010.
  3. ^ "Gary Bailey – Manchester United Player Profile & Stats". Retrieved 28 January 2021.
  4. ^ "A Complete Database of England Internationals Since 1872". Retrieved 17 May 2018.
  5. ^ 1986 FIFA World Cup: England Squad FIFA. Retrieved 27 January 2010.
  6. ^ "Brief media CV of Gary Bailey". Archived from the original on 4 July 2009. Retrieved 1 July 2009.
  7. ^ Lewis, Craig (27 February 2022). "Shongwe reflects on Bailey 'rivalry' at Chiefs that became a friendship". The South African. Retrieved 26 April 2023.
  8. ^ "Match of the Day 3 – Peter Schmeichel's top keepers". Retrieved 26 November 2012.
  9. ^ "Gary Bailey | HDS". Retrieved 9 December 2022.
  10. ^ Corner, Speakers. "Gary Bailey – Keynote Speakers – Motivational Speakers | Speakers Corner". Retrieved 28 January 2021.
  11. ^ Corner, Speakers. "Gary Bailey – Keynote Speakers – Motivational Speakers | Speakers Corner". Retrieved 28 January 2021.
  12. ^ "Home". successunderpressure. Retrieved 28 January 2021.
  13. ^ "Gary Bailey | Success Under Pressure | Motivational Speaker | Book a Speech | Robinson Speakers Bureau". Retrieved 9 December 2022.
  14. ^ "Gary Bailey | HDS". Retrieved 9 December 2022.
  15. ^ "NWSL Announces On-Air Talent Lineup For 2023 Season". National Women's Soccer League. 17 March 2023. Retrieved 4 June 2023.
  16. ^ Hattenstone, Simon (23 May 2007). "Madness lies between the posts and in the family". The Guardian. Retrieved 25 January 2010.
  17. ^ "Gary Bailey". Gary Bailey Speaks. Retrieved 9 December 2022.
  18. ^ "History". Retrieved 26 April 2023.

External links[edit]