TONY DUNNE, who played in the great Manchester United team that beat WA 7-0 at the WACA Ground in 1967, has died. He was 78.
Irishman Dunne was also a member of the United side which won the European Cup in 1968, beating Benfica 4-1 at Wembley.
The Red Devils side that became the first English club to win Europe’s top prize was almost identical to the team that overwhelmed the WA State side only a few months before the triumph at Wembley.
United, who were winding up a long tour of Australia, paid WA the compliment of fielding a team of super stars in front of a then record crowd of 20,600.
The starting line-up was:
Alex Stepney; Shay Brennan, Tony Dunne, David Sadler, Bill Foulkes; Nobby Stiles, George Best, Denis Law, Bobby Charlton, Brian Kidd, John Aston.
The subs were: Jimmy Rimmer, Noel Cantwell, Jimmy Ryan.
United’s goals came from Best (3), Kidd (2), Law (1) and Charlton (1).
The WA side was: Peter Mitchell, Theo Paap, Ron Smith, Wally Musial, Zyggie Pieda, Graham Oughton, Gerry Pettit, Alex Napier, Paul Sobek, Jim McIntosh, George Ramm. Subs: Alistair Norwood, Christian Ducasse, Bobby Varlow.
Tony Dunne was a left back with United (he occasionally also played on the other flank), but started out as a striker with Dublin schoolboy club St Finbarr’s. He made his first mark in the senior game at Shelbourne where he spent two seasons and helped the club to win the FAI Cup in 1960. A week later, on April 1st, United signed the then 18-year-old for £5,000 and he made his first team that October against Burnley.
He went on to play 535 first-team games for the club, putting him eighth on their all-time appearance list. He won the FA Cup in 1963 and was part of Matt Busby’s title-winning squads in 1965 and 1967.
He scored just two goals in all of his time at Old Trafford but he was known for his speed, strength, determination and crossing and Dunne produced a superb display encompassing them all in the defeat of Benfica in the final at Wembley.
Brian Kidd said of his former team-mate: “Tony’s ability goes without saying. We didn’t know much about world football in those days but anyone in that era would say he was the best left back in Europe, without doubt.
JUL 1968: MANCHESTER UNITED SOCCER TEAM LINE UP WITH THE EUROPEAN CUP. Mandatory Credit: Allsport Hulton/Archive
“He was so modest and had a lot of empathy and he epitomised everything that Sir Matt wanted in a player – humility and modesty. He just got on with it.
“I ended up rooming with him on a United trip to America, New Zealand and Australia. He took me under his wing and the advice and guidance he gave me was just invaluable for me as a young player.”
Dunne’s time at United came to an end in 1973 when he was released, along with a number of other long established names, by Tommy Docherty who was attempting a major rebuild.
Dunne joined Bolton in 1973, and went on to play more than 200 games for them before finishing his career in the North American Soccer League with Detroit Express.
He also won 33 caps for the Republic of Ireland, playing in both full-back positions and also at centre half. He captained the side four times and was named Irish Footballer of the Year in 1969.
After retiring from professional football, Dunne returned to Bolton as an assistant manager from 1979–1981; he then replaced Bill Foulkes as manager of Norwegian side Steinkjer FK in 1982–1983. He returned to England and ran a driving range in Altrincham. He was a very keen, and apparently, very good golfer.