Manchester United hero and World Cup winner John Connelly dies peacefully aged 74

By Dean Wilkins

Manchester United and World Cup winner John Connelly has died peacefully aged 74.

The former Reds winger made 113 appearances, netting 35 goals, for United during a two-year spell after signing from Burnley for £56,000.

Connelly played 20 times for his country, including in the goalless draw against Uruguay in England’s opening game at the 1966 World Cup, and won the league with United in 1965.

A club spokesman said: “Manchester United are saddened to hear of the death of former star John Connelly.

“Our thoughts are with John’s family and friends at this sad time.”

Connelly was forced to wait until 2009 to collect his winners medal for the 1966 World Cup after Fifa changed their rules from handing out medals only to those who played in the final.

He was one of three United players in Sir Alf Ramsey’s squad and speaking with United Review, Connelly hailed his time alongside some of the club’s greatest players.

“Burnley’s success was essentially down to teamwork and relying on tactics, whereas there were great individuals at United,” he said.

“Bobby Charlton, the best player I ever appeared alongside, would shoot from everywhere and you could also rely on Denis Law and George Best producing pieces of brilliance to win us a game.”

A spokesman for Burnley said: “One of Burnley’s most prolific and popular wingers, he died peacefully at home on Thursday morning.

“The flag at Turf Moor will fly at half-mast as a mark of respect to one of the Clarets’ favourite sons.”

Connolly ended his professional career with Bury in 1973.

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