'If David Lloyd-George was the most charismatic person I ever laid eyes on, Matt Busby was the most charismatic I have known, when he was the manager of Manchester United and I was a reporter travelling with the team.'
Keith Dewhurst first saw United play in 1946. Ten years later he was writing about them for the Manchester Evening Chronicle. Half a lifetime later, he looks back on a passion that helped to shaped his life.
On his journey from the terraces to the press box and then on to the game's inner sanctums, Dewhurst fell in love with a club and a game. A schoolboy fan when Busby arrived at Old Trafford, he was on the terraces as great teams took shape, and there as a reporter to witness the aftermath of the club's great tragedy - the Munich air crash. He was there too on the road with Jimmy Murphy, United's assistant manager and coaching genius, as the team played on during Busby's long recovery. In Busby, he witnessed both the hero of football legend and the darker side of a master manipulator. But in Murphy, he found his hero. It was Murphy who would tutor him in football and dreams, and Busby's ambiguous nature.
The friends Dewhurst made then, the players and the coaches, the lost and the saved, are with him still - in memory, if no longer in life. When You Put on a Red Shirt is Dewhurst's homage to them and to his youth, evoking with vivid brilliance a lost era, and powerfully recapturing a world which is becoming myth.