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Tony Flynn

The Forgotten Ex-Manchester United Footballer Buried In Salford

As you football fans all probably know, ex-United winger Eddie 'Snakehips' Colman who died in the 1958 Munich Air Disaster is buried in Weaste Cemetery in Salford.

But did you know that it is also the final resting place of another former Manchester United player? 

I was talking to some friends last week and the conversation turned to football and Eddie Colman. 

This got me thinking of an incident many years ago when I was introduced to an elderly gentleman in the Widows Rest public house in Weaste, who told me that he, too, had played for Manchester United and also had won international caps for Ireland, his name was David Byrne. 

I did some further research and I found David had had quite an interesting career, having played for Shamrock Rovers, Bradford City, Sheffield United and Manchester United. 

David was born in Dublin in April 1905 and played for several teams in Ireland where he won three senior caps for the Irish Free State, making a scoring debut as a Shelbourne player on 20 April 1929 in a 4-0 friendly win against Belgium at Dalymount Park. 

As a Shamrock Rovers player he played against Spain at the same venue on 13 December 1931. 

He joined Shamrock Rovers in the 1926-27 season and rattled in 24 goals. 

His last cap was as a Coleraine player in a World Cup qualifier against Belgium, also at Dalymount, on 25 February 1934. 

He joined Manchester United in September from Shamrock Rovers in 1933 with fellow Irish player Billy Behan  the pair were the club's first Irish players for more than a decade. 

He scored on his debut for on 21 October 1933 and scored a total of three goals in four league appearances for Manchester United, quite an impressive score ratio. 

For reasons unknown David was transferred to Coleraine in Ireland in 1934 finishing his career in 1939 when he played for Shelbourne. 

I have no idea how he came to live in Salford but I was told that he lived in Smyrna Street, Weaste and was a local at the Widows Rest on Cemetery Road. 

You can visit his grave at Weaste Cemetery which would appear to be a family plot, also in the grave are Darren Blackburn who died in 1974 aged just 2 days, and the baby's grandfather Edward Williams. 

David died on 17 May 1990 aged 85 - his grave is now at plot J/941 in Weaste Cemetery. 

It is a well-maintained grave which had on it a small bunch of red and white flowers which I thought was most fitting. 

So if you plan to visit Weaste Cemetery to see Eddie Colman's grave, why not take a few minutes out to take a look at the the final resting place of a man who also proudly wore the famous red shirt of Manchester United.

This original article by Tony Flynn appeared on the old SalfordOnline site on 11th September 2014


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