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Manchester United and the First World War

John Simkin

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Manchester United lost three players during the First World War. This included the great Sandy Turnbull. While playing for Manchester City Turnbull won a FA Cup final medal in 1904. Two years later he moved to Manchester United and won the First Division championship in 1907-08 and 1910-11. Turnbull also scored the winning goal against against Bristol City in the 1909 FA Cup Final.

Turnbull also held left-wing views and along with fellow Manchester United players, Billy Meredith and Charlie Roberts, helped form the Association Football Players Union (AFPU). This action stopped him from being selected to play for Scotland. The same thing happened to Roberts who had got himself into the England team as a 22 year old.

Turnbull's football career ended with the outbreak of the First World War. Over a twelve year period he had scored 143 goals in 230 matches in the Football League. In 1915 Sandy Turnbull joined the Footballer's Battalion and was killed at Arras while fighting on the Western Front on 3rd May 1917. Turnbull

Two other members of the Manchester United team were killed on active service. Oscar Linkson, who played right-back for Manchester United joined the Middlesex Regiment and was killed during the Somme Offensive on 8th August 1916. Patrick McGuire, an amateur reserve player, also died on active service in 1916.






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