Immaculately turned out in their jackets and ties, it was hard to imagine Albert Quixall and Jimmy Greaves as the ‘Terrible Twins’ of the English League attack in October 1958.
Fresh-faced and eager, the young forwards from Manchester United and Chelsea looked more like they were going to a church social than taking on the Auld Enemy at Ibrox!
But that’s how the press described the duo in a remarkable image taken on the eve of the match between the Scottish League XI and their English counterparts.
Their nickname, of course, derived from their deadly scoring talent and the fear they struck into opposition defences.
Greaves was only 18 when the picture was taken and making a colossal impact at Chelsea. Fans described him as ‘the man with dynamite in his boots.’
The 1957-8 campaign was his first full season at Stamford Bridge, yet he ended up as the club’s top scorer with 22 goals in 37 appearances.
Quixall, at 25, was more established – and had just moved to United from Sheffield Wednesday for a British record fee of £45,000. He scored 63 goals in 241 matches for the Owls and was eager to do the same for his new club.
Both made their mark as internationals in the England team. Quixall won five senior caps from 1953-4 and Greaves played 12 times for the Under 23s from 1957 to 1962. He scored 13 goals!
Greaves made his senior England debut on May 17th 1959 against Peru at the Estadio Nacional in Lima. England lost 4-1, but Greaves got the only goal.
In all, Greaves played 57 matches for England, notching up 44 goals. He was unlucky to miss out on the World Cup Final in 1966 after being injured in the group game against France.
Geoff Hurst was drafted in and retained his place as England manager Alf Ramsey did not want to change a winning team. Hurst’s hat-trick in the final might have proved him right.
Quixall won only one major honour with Manchester United – the FA Cup of 1963 when the Red Devils beat Leicester City 3-1 at Wembley. A famous image from the M.E.N. archive shows him celebrating amid jubilant team-mates with the prized trophy on his head.
Inside forward Quixall was signed by manager Matt Busby in September 1958 as he rebuilt the team after the Munich air disaster in February. Eight players died, including the brilliant Duncan Edwards – thought by many to be an England captain in the making.
After a lean run of seven matches without a win, Quixall helped United recover to end the 1958-9 season as First Division runners-up with 55 points. Wolverhampton Wanderers were champions with 61 points and Arsenal third with 50.
Quixall went on to score 56 goals in 184 appearances for United from 1958 to 1964, but it was not all plain sailing.
Our image from December 1960 shows Quixall with team-mate Dennis Viollett and Manchester City captain Don Revie at a strike meeting called by the Professional Footballers’ Association (PFA) led by Jimmy Hill.
The PFA sought the abolition of the players’ minimum wage, which then stood at £20 per week. Strike action was planned for January 21st and only called off three days earlier when the FA and Ministry of Labour agreed to the players’ demands.
Quixall’s form started to dip in the 1963-4 season after a disastrous Charity Shield match against Everton at Goodison Park on August 17th 1963. United were hammered 4-0 and Quixall was dropped along with David Herd and Johnny Giles.
He made his last appearance for the Red Devils on Boxing Day 1963 and moved to neighbours Oldham Athletic for a transfer fee of £7,000.
After making 37 senior appearances for Oldham and scoring 11 goals, Quixall signed for Stockport County for the 1966-7 season. He also played three times for Altrincham.
As well as winning five full England caps, Quixall made three England B appearances and played once the Under 23 team. He represented the English League XI four times.