Martin Buchan: 6 years our skipper

simplyared

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Lots of threads going around about individual players and how we rate them. Thought I’d bring this player (one of our own) under the limelight for a minute. To be fair it surprises me his name doesn’t appear on here more often. He captained our side for 6 yrs and made 456 apps for us ffs.

Partnered big Jim Holton and then Brian Greenhoff under the Tommy Doc era and later on Gordon McQueen under Dave Sexton.

IMV probably the classiest central defender we’ve had at the club yet names like Ferdinand, Vidic, Bruce, Pallister, Stam etc, tend to get a lot more of the attention.

How high would you rate him compared with some of those I’ve already mentioned?

2nd after Rio for me!

Note: not taking Big Dunc into the equation. Looking at post Munich!
 
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Grande

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I was so young when he played for us, I only temember getting the impression that he was very good and all round solid. Gordon McQueen was also very good, but a little slower I imagine. Buchan from the time witnesses appear to be elegant and trustworthy, and also did well for Scotland.

I noticed the defenders much less at that age, undeservedly enough. I couldn’t possibly try to compare him with later centre backs.

Oh, and

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Big Jim Holton’s after you
 

Fitchett

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He was a very classy player and a great captain for us. I remember when he signed for us, the press described him as Scotland's best player (at a time when Scotland had a good international team). One of my school pals was impressed with his United debut, declaring that he only made one mistake "when a pass became a clearance ". I once read that Martin Buchan handed back his signing on fee to Oldham, when he retired, a few months after joining them from United. He was definitely a great central defender for us.
 
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My first United hero.

Glided around the pitch, great at reading the game and made defending look effortless and as op says, probably 2nd (re United) behind Rio in terms of that type of 'smooth defender'.

People may also be unaware of how good he was at a young age - amazingly mature. Aberdeen captain at 20, United a few years later (24?)... a great leader, one you wanted to follow. Shame he coincided with a tough time for the club, deserved a lot more tin.
 

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Difficult to compare him directly to Rio/Vidic/Stam, as the game had changed over the years - e.g. 'Big' Jim Holton was 6'2", Rio was 6'3", Vidic 6'4", Stam 6'3", Piquet 6'4", but none of these latter four were considered unusually 'big' in their day for a centre back, just normal.

Martin Buchan would have been around the height of Gary Neville, quite normal for a 'number 6' in the 1970s/80s, where the 'number 5' partner would often be taller/good in the air and the '6' more of a reader/ball player - e.g. at Leeds Jack Charlton 6'3", later Gordon McQueen 6'3" played alongside Norman Hunter 6'0" (who contrary to perceived wisdom, was a good ball player, having converted from inside forward very early in his career). McQueen also played alonside Buchan, after he moved to Utd.

Having said that, Martin Buchan was in the mould of Bobby Moore, great positioning would put him into the right place at the right time and then a cool head, excellent judgement, good tackling and decent ball playing skills would let him resolve the situation.

As I said on another thread, he was a great player and also a top notch captain.
 
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jojojo

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One of my all time favourite players. An elegant player to watch, and a great defender (unfortunately in a poor team). The sort of defender who could go through a game, make zero errors and commit zero fouls - but not by playing it safe or hiding, just by playing well.

Always came across as a good bloke as well, even with us kids out autograph hunting! I still have memories of watching him train at the Cliff in the early 70s and he looked just as good out there (unlike some of the sluggards who were playing for us).
 

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One of my all time favourite players. An elegant player to watch, and a great defender (unfortunately in a poor team). The sort of defender who could go through a game, make zero errors and commit zero fouls - but not by playing it safe or hiding, just by playing well.

Always came across as a good bloke as well, even with us kids out autograph hunting! I still have memories of watching him train at the Cliff in the early 70s and he looked just as good out there (unlike some of the sluggards who were playing for us).
This is a very good observation, for two reasons - firstly, it recognises that being in a top team makes a top player look even better, as well as giving them more exposure and also the second sentence is a word perfect description of Martin Buchan in action.

Bobby Moore had the good fortune to win a WC medal with England and then get to the quarters in 1970, giving him that exposure - this is a clip of him in action


I regard Martin Buchan as being a similar player to Bobby Moore and worthy of comparison with him.
 

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Made this a while ago but never got the chance to upload/post it.

Finally an appropriate thread! :)



A fine defensive performance to stop Liverpool from aiming for the treble (they won their first European Cup less than a week later vs. Borussia Mönchengladbach). Quite a few expertly timed offside traps but you can tell that collectively they are not as well organized/drilled as a post-modern defense and the wider areas were particularly vulnerable.Though Greenhoff, Buchan, Stepney, Nicholl and Albiston all had plenty of chances to make key defensive contributions vs. Keegan, Case, Heighway, Kennedy, Johnson and co.
 

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Made this a while ago but never got the chance to upload/post it.

Finally an appropriate thread! :)



A fine defensive performance to stop Liverpool from aiming for the treble (they won their first European Cup less than a week later vs. Borussia Mönchengladbach). Quite a few expertly timed offside traps but you can tell that collectively they are not as well organized/drilled as a post-modern defense and the wider areas were particularly vulnerable.Though Greenhoff, Buchan, Stepney, Nicholl and Albiston all had plenty of chances to make key defensive contributions vs. Keegan, Case, Heighway, Kennedy, Johnson and co.
Thanks Invictus - that's a great little video.
 

lysglimt

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After I made my 2 threads on Uniteds 77/78 and 78/79 seasons here - I watched a fair amount of Martin Buchan - and he was clearly a brilliant defender, but it's really hard to compare him to players 20-30 years later. He was without a doubt in e League of his own in the 70s and we had no defender anywhere near his class until maybe either Bruce or Pallister in the late 80s and early 90s

My main reason for not considering Buchan as a top-3 central defender in modern times - is that he was elegant, superb on the ball - but he wasn't lightning quick, he wasn't particularly good in the air and he was not exceptionally good at clearing the ball. In theory - him and McQueen should have made a really good partnership - but it never quite worked out that way. They were good together, but not brilliant. So I would rate Buchan someplace 3-4-5 - but certainly behind a player like Ferdinand
 

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I used to have the kit with the red and white striped collar in the late 70s when I was about 10. Similar to above I didn't tend to notice the defenders - my favourite players were Stuart Pearson, Lou Macari, Steve Coppell and Gordon Hill i.e. all the attackers.
 

red thru&thru

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Made this a while ago but never got the chance to upload/post it.

Finally an appropriate thread! :)



A fine defensive performance to stop Liverpool from aiming for the treble (they won their first European Cup less than a week later vs. Borussia Mönchengladbach). Quite a few expertly timed offside traps but you can tell that collectively they are not as well organized/drilled as a post-modern defense and the wider areas were particularly vulnerable.Though Greenhoff, Buchan, Stepney, Nicholl and Albiston all had plenty of chances to make key defensive contributions vs. Keegan, Case, Heighway, Kennedy, Johnson and co.
Yea, thanks for posting this. I didn't really know much about Buchan.
 

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Lots of threads going around about individual players and how we rate them. Thought I’d bring this player (one of our own) under the limelight for a minute. To be fair it surprises me his name doesn’t appear on here more often. He captained our side for 6 yrs and made 456 apps for us ffs.

Partnered big Jim Holton and then Brian Greenhoff under the Tommy Doc era and later on Gordon McQueen under Dave Sexton.

IMV probably the classiest central defender we’ve had at the club yet names like Ferdinand, Vidic, Bruce, Pallister, Stam etc, tend to get a lot more of the attention.

How high would you rate him compared with some of those I’ve already mentioned?

2nd after Rio for me!

Note: not taking Big Dunc into the equation. Looking at post Munich!
worthy of a place amongst or ahead of those named.

”cool as a Consulate”


Fox’s glacier mints should’ve used Martin instead of a fecking polar bear
 

Denis' cuff

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Made this a while ago but never got the chance to upload/post it.

Finally an appropriate thread! :)



A fine defensive performance to stop Liverpool from aiming for the treble (they won their first European Cup less than a week later vs. Borussia Mönchengladbach). Quite a few expertly timed offside traps but you can tell that collectively they are not as well organized/drilled as a post-modern defense and the wider areas were particularly vulnerable.Though Greenhoff, Buchan, Stepney, Nicholl and Albiston all had plenty of chances to make key defensive contributions vs. Keegan, Case, Heighway, Kennedy, Johnson and co.
Thanks for posting that, mate.

The guy was immaculate. Ultra-professional and amusing when (Not on this vid) he clipped Gordon Hill around the head for not tracking back and did the same to Gary Bailey for paying more attention to his hair than the game. A stand-out in a United team that was just a good cup team and a Tottenham of the day.
 

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I can remember when he came off the pitch at the end of a game, his hair was always perfect. One of those defenders that make it look easy.

He was a nice guy as well. I often saw him washing his car on a Sunday in Brooklands. He had no problem talking to us.
 

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Made this a while ago but never got the chance to upload/post it.

Finally an appropriate thread! :)



A fine defensive performance to stop Liverpool from aiming for the treble (they won their first European Cup less than a week later vs. Borussia Mönchengladbach). Quite a few expertly timed offside traps but you can tell that collectively they are not as well organized/drilled as a post-modern defense and the wider areas were particularly vulnerable.Though Greenhoff, Buchan, Stepney, Nicholl and Albiston all had plenty of chances to make key defensive contributions vs. Keegan, Case, Heighway, Kennedy, Johnson and co.
Thanks for this. I've gone from knowing almost nothing other than Buchan's name to knowing a little more now, looks a top player from that video. Also Gordon 'King of All Cockneys' Hill played some hospital passes in that game :houllier:
 

jojojo

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Thanks for posting that, mate.

The guy was immaculate. Ultra-professional and amusing when (Not on this vid) he clipped Gordon Hill around the head for not tracking back and did the same to Gary Bailey for paying more attention to his hair than the game. A stand-out in a United team that was just a good cup team and a Tottenham of the day.
I have a memory of him from watching training at the Cliff. The players were doing a couple of laps of the pitch and there was a bit of a side race going on between Buchan and one of the forwards (Morgan maybe). As they reached the corner flag to do the final turn, Buchan just stepped slightly sideways, hip to hip collision - the gentlest of bumps really, but timed so well it sent the other guy flying :D
 

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It’s never a “glamorous” position i guess. My dad told me he had a signal for back for to rush out and catch opposition offside. I was only a kid but always thought he was solid.
 

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Magnificent defender apparently pele described him as the tartan beckenbauer my mate who I used to go to matches with worshipped him I had a chat with him a few years ago I said Rio was our best ever defender I knew what his answer would be told me I was talking through my arse nowhere near as good as his hero
 

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Lots of threads going around about individual players and how we rate them. Thought I’d bring this player (one of our own) under the limelight for a minute. To be fair it surprises me his name doesn’t appear on here more often. He captained our side for 6 yrs and made 456 apps for us ffs.

Partnered big Jim Holton and then Brian Greenhoff under the Tommy Doc era and later on Gordon McQueen under Dave Sexton.

IMV probably the classiest central defender we’ve had at the club yet names like Ferdinand, Vidic, Bruce, Pallister, Stam etc, tend to get a lot more of the attention.

How high would you rate him compared with some of those I’ve already mentioned?

2nd after Rio for me!

Note: not taking Big Dunc into the equation. Looking at post Munich!
My dad would approve of this thread. He insists Martin Buchan was the greatest captain and central defender our club ever had.
 

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I can remember when he came off the pitch at the end of a game, his hair was always perfect. One of those defenders that make it look easy.

He was a nice guy as well. I often saw him washing his car on a Sunday in Brooklands. He had no problem talking to us.
I met him about 10 years ago at a train station, we were both going the same way, so we had a brief chat on the train. I was running the united kits website and had a few questions about the kits he'd worn in the 70s and 80s.

I was slightly concerned that he had a reputation as a bit of a no-nonsense grouch, so was wary not to be over friendly. I was totally wrong about that. He actually gave me his card and said that he had a long train journey the next day and if I had any more questions, I could call him then.

I thought I'd better take him up on the kind offer, and maybe spend two minutes on the call. He spoke to me for about half an hour, even after I gave him several opportunities to end the call. At the end of it, the former captain of Manchester United said "it's been really interesting to talk to you". I thought surely that should be the other way around.

A few days later he went up in his loft to find some photos to email to me. I've met a lot of people in football, but Martin Buchan really stands out as one of the best.
 
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Maticmaker

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Martin Buchan fantastic player of his time, I would rate him as one of our best ever defenders, (top 5) and certainly one of Scotland's best ever players (of any position).
His calm and precision in tackling, positioning and passing was delightful. Very good at anticipation (would rate him second only to Bobby Moore in this respect). Excellent Captain, authoritative but also defended his youngsters. Funnily enough the best game I ever saw him play was not for United (although there were many) but for Scotland, against the old West Germany, when he had the legendary Gert Muller in his pocket for the whole game.
 

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Martin Buchan fantastic player of his time, I would rate him as one of our best ever defenders, (top 5) and certainly one of Scotland's best ever players (of any position).
His calm and precision in tackling, positioning and passing was delightful. Very good at anticipation (would rate him second only to Bobby Moore in this respect). Excellent Captain, authoritative but also defended his youngsters. Funnily enough the best game I ever saw him play was not for United (although there were many) but for Scotland, against the old West Germany, when he had the legendary Gert Muller in his pocket for the whole game.
I posted a video of Bobby Moore, earlier in the thread and said I thought MB was a similar player and comparable - would you share this view? I'd put Bobby Moore as a GOAT in his position, with Martin Buchan not far behind, wonder if you would agree or if not, how big a gap would you see?

MB was at his pomp before I started supporting Utd (though I was watching a lot of football), so I didn't see as much of him as Bobby Moore (becuase of the England games). What I saw impressed me, though.
 

alexthelion

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Magnificent defender apparently pele described him as the tartan beckenbauer my mate who I used to go to matches with worshipped him I had a chat with him a few years ago I said Rio was our best ever defender I knew what his answer would be told me I was talking through my arse nowhere near as good as his hero
He'd do very well nowadays.
 

Maticmaker

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I posted a video of Bobby Moore, earlier in the thread and said I thought MB was a similar player and comparable - would you share this view? I'd put Bobby Moore as a GOAT in his position, with Martin Buchan not far behind, wonder if you would agree or if not, how big a gap would you see?

MB was at his pomp before I started supporting Utd (though I was watching a lot of football), so I didn't see as much of him as Bobby Moore (becuase of the England games). What I saw impressed me, though.
To be honest not exactly sure what you mean by GOAT, but if that means the best in that position then I agree and certainly think Buchan wasn't far behind him. Anticipation/timing in tackling is everything for a defender, certainly today, if they want to stay on the pitch and be effective. AWB is showing similar skills in making recovery (side-on) tackles, when he learns to make the initial tackle in the same way he will be on his way to joining the elite.

If anything I think Buchan was slightly quicker off the mark than Moore, but in terms of precise timing in 'face to face tackles, Moore certainly was the best, at least in the players I've seen.
One other I would put in the same company is Alex Parker who was a fullback with Everton, superb sliding tackles and ability to reach between a players legs and come away cleanly with the ball without fouling the opponent. Although perhaps in todays game might be seen as a tackle from behind even if there was no contact. I've seen odd players pull this off on one occasion, but Parker could do it regularly.
 

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I started watching Utd mid 70s and Martin Buchan was a class act but he always seem to miss matches with groin/thigh injuries for about 6 weeks most seasons from memory - when he was missing we were all over the place defensively and lost more matches in that period showing how much we needed him. In a typical Tommy Docherty 442 all out attacking formation it needed a Martin Buchan to stay back and organise our defence.

Great positional play and anticipated the moves - the comparisons with Bobby Moore are good ones. Never really went forward above the halfway line and only scored 4 goals for United in all those appearances. He scored a rocket 30 yarder against Everton which was out of character !

More Ferdinand than Vidic but could still get stuck in and be hard in the tackle - our best defender in the 70s.
 
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RedRoseTyke

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To be honest not exactly sure what you mean by GOAT, but if that means the best in that position then I agree and certainly think Buchan wasn't far behind him. Anticipation/timing in tackling is everything for a defender, certainly today, if they want to stay on the pitch and be effective. AWB is showing similar skills in making recovery (side-on) tackles, when he learns to make the initial tackle in the same way he will be on his way to joining the elite.

If anything I think Buchan was slightly quicker off the mark than Moore, but in terms of precise timing in 'face to face tackles, Moore certainly was the best, at least in the players I've seen.
One other I would put in the same company is Alex Parker who was a fullback with Everton, superb sliding tackles and ability to reach between a players legs and come away cleanly with the ball without fouling the opponent. Although perhaps in todays game might be seen as a tackle from behind even if there was no contact. I've seen odd players pull this off on one occasion, but Parker could do it regularly.
Apologies - for me GOAT = a great of all time. I don't subscribe to 'greatest of all time', as it is so difficult to compare different eras.

I agree with your point about Aaron Wan Bissaka - I've been amazed by just how clean, yet effective, his tackling has been. Never saw Alex Parker (I started watching football seriously in 1968).
 

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Used to play at the Cliff in the nineties against the ground staff.
Every so often someone like Buchan and Fergie used to turn out for the ground staff against us.
They just called him "skip". Even then in his fifties always cool calm and collected on the ball.
I couldn't bring myself to put a crunching tackle on him when the chance arose.
It was Martin Buchan ffs.....
 

Maticmaker

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Apologies - for me GOAT = a great of all time. I don't subscribe to 'greatest of all time', as it is so difficult to compare different eras.

I agree with your point about Aaron Wan Bissaka - I've been amazed by just how clean, yet effective, his tackling has been. Never saw Alex Parker (I started watching football seriously in 1968).
Yes, I agree trying to define 'the greatest', rather 'a great' of all time is pointless. However I've learned something and will in future know what GOAT means, never too old to learn!

Alex Parker was one of the Everton team that won the 1st Div Championship in 62-63 (I think) somewhere around then. He had been with Falkirk before and was something of a novelty in that very few fullbacks become football icons, but he certainly was... mind you it was Falkirk! He passed over about ten years ago RIP.

In terms of full backs I like AWB for the reasons stated previously, and with Brandon Williams coming on like he is, who knows we could have a pair of fullbacks to equal Liverpool's?
 

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Yes, I agree trying to define 'the greatest', rather 'a great' of all time is pointless. However I've learned something and will in future know what GOAT means, never too old to learn!

Alex Parker was one of the Everton team that won the 1st Div Championship in 62-63 (I think) somewhere around then. He had been with Falkirk before and was something of a novelty in that very few fullbacks become football icons, but he certainly was... mind you it was Falkirk! He passed over about ten years ago RIP.

In terms of full backs I like AWB for the reasons stated previously, and with Brandon Williams coming on like he is, who knows we could have a pair of fullbacks to equal Liverpool's?
Yes we could and Luke Shaw might do well from partnering Harry in the middle.
 

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Yes we could and Luke Shaw might do well from partnering Harry in the middle.
Sorry I'm not a big fan of Luke Shaw. Yes he's fast and definitely adds something going forward, but still lacks concentration at times and gets dragged inside a bit like Rojo use to do. This could support what you are saying because it may be Shaw may feel happier in a CB role, but for me you are never sure what you are going to get with Luke. Currently I think we have better options at CB than Luke, but who knows.
 

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Fair enough, Maticmaker - I was impressed by his performance as a CB in a back three, but on reflection it was only one game, so you have a point.
 

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Rolls Royce of a player, like Steve Coppell from the mid 70'e/early 80's teams I always try and find a place for him in my all-time favourite team, usually at right-back but the guy could play anywhere.