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Walter Crickmer

Wed Jan 02, 2008 11:05 am

Walter Crickmer was Mr. Manchester United. If anyone deserves that honour, it is he. He lived and breathed the club for 40 years working behind the scenes and even sometimes managing the team.

Walter joined Manchester United in 1919 after the Great War. He worked as an administrator in several office functions. In 1926 he was appointed to the board as Club Secretary. The club secretary was the equivalent of a Chief Operating Officer in those days and he effectively ran the business side of the club. His duties encompassed everything from arranging travel plans, booking hotels to organizing finances and administrating player contracts and club records.


Walter twice stepped into the managers hot-seat when United were "between" managers. The first occasion was in 1931 following Herbert Bamlett's dismissal. The second occasion made Walter one of United longest serving managers as he filled the void left by Scott Duncan’s sudden resignation in late 1937. With the onset of World War, Walter stayed at the post through to January 1946 when he appointed Matt Busby to the role.

Walter never held the title of manager however he sure knew how to manage people. And footballers were no different. He also knew the game, as his official record was better than some managers that he preceded. Between 1937 and 1940 (matches played during the war are not official matches) he managed the team in 70 games, winning 30 and drawing 24, losing 22. He also led United to promotion from the second division (1937/38) by finishing second behind Aston Villa.

Whilst everyone will credit Matt Busby with developing youth teams, it was in fact Walter who started the youth policy and developed a youth academy in 1938.

If that was a good decision, then a great one was appointing Matt Busby to manage the team after the war. Walter stepped back into managing the club and rebuilding Old Trafford after it was bombed during the war. He was a massive help in fighting the Football Association to allow English clubs to enter European Competition in the mid 1950's that led United into Europe.

Walter travelled with United to every game and was on the fated Munich flight.

Walter Crickmer died February 6th, 1958 at Munich.

written by Condor © UNITEDLOUNGE.COM Reproducing this material, either in whole or in part, without the permission of unitedlounge.com is strictly prohibited

John Bennett

Re: Walter Crickmer

Sun Jan 06, 2008 11:46 am

Of all the one's who died Walter's death hurt the older fans the most, as you quite rightly point out, he was Mr Manchester United. Had had always been there and he was to us what Bill Shankly was to later become to Liverpool and their fans.

Long before anyone ever gave the fans a second thought Walter was putting our, or rather my Father's and Grandfathers welfare first, and that was because he was one of us himself. He was the biggest United fanatic that ever drew breath.

He was such a character, we would often just go down to Old Trafford for something to do, you have to remember that the team trained at the ground in those days, so we often went down to collect autographs and maybe watch a bit of training, sometimes we would be hanging around outside or even forming a queue for tickets, as soon as there was a group of people Walter would be down to talk to everyone, he just loved talking football, especially United Football to other Football people.

On match days it was quite common for him along with Matt or Jimmy to mingle with the crowds going into the game, Walter would often make a bee line for away fans, Liverpool were one group he loved to talk to, he was a huge fan of the great Billy Liddle and would want to know how he was going. Imagine doing that today?

But he set the youth system in motion, and he went and sought Matt out as the man to carry out his dream, he knew Matt very well from his days at City, so this was who he wanted. He was the one who had the foresight to see what the future of the game entailed, that's why he got Matt, he knew he needed a manager who had the same visions and dreams that he had.

His loss was a terrible blow, one that changed the Club more than anything else did, players had come and gone, Walter was still there, and for him to die along with the Team that was originally his brainchild was a cruel irony. It was Walter that linked us all together, the staff, the players and the fans. He told us stories about the players, and then went back and told the players stories about us.

It was unthinkable to imagine how we would survive without him, he had kept United alive so many times in the past, and now when we needed him most, he wasn't there.

He loved United, he loved it's players and it's fans, and everyone of us loved him

By John Bennett

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Re: Walter Crickmer

Thu Jan 10, 2008 11:38 pm

We will be forever indebted to this incredible individual. We perhaps owe the very existence of our club to him...
Thank you sir for all your efforts..

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Re: Walter Crickmer

Wed Jan 23, 2008 5:54 pm

Walter Crickmer was one of the Founding Fathers of the present day Manchester United and our debt to him can never be calculated.
There should be a statue of him standing next to the present one of Sir Matt Busby.Walter played a significant role in the setting up and running of the Manchester United Junior Athletic Club (MUJACS)This is thought to be one of the first youth policies to be operated by any club in football history.

Walter is buried in Stretford Cemetery and when I visit the cemetery to pay respects to people I know,I always pause at Walter's graveside to wish him peace.

God rest his Soul and that of his wife who is buried with him.

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