No wonder new Manchester United manager Wilf McGuinness looked uneasy in all the archive pictures of his announcement.

The man he was following was nothing less than a giant of Old Trafford – a living legend.

For McGuinness, in April 1969, was taking over as first team manager from none other than Sir Matt Busby.

Sir Matt Busby and Wilf McGuinness face the press, April 1969

Sir Matt Busby and Wilf McGuinness face the press, April 1969

The record of achievement under the passionate Scot, approaching his 60th birthday, was awesome.

He not only led the Red Devils to European Cup triumph and 12 other trophies, but also created the legendary Busby Babes.

He recovered from near-fatal injuries in the Munich air crash, which decimated his beloved team, to lead his rebuilt side to national and international glory.

England colleagues Wilf McGuinness, Tommy Banks and Billy Wright before a friendly at Bolton, January 1958

England colleagues Wilf McGuinness, Tommy Banks and Billy Wright before a friendly at Bolton, January 1958

It was a near-impossible act to follow. But McGuinness had all the right credentials to take up the challenge, especially since Busby was staying on as general manager and adviser.

Manchester born and bred, McGuinness signed schoolboy forms for United at the age of 15 in January 1953.

Playing at wing-half, he captained Lancashire and England at schoolboy level, but had to fight for his place in the talented United first team.

He made his senior debut against Wolverhampton Wanderers in October 1955 – just shy of his 18th birthday – and helped United become First Division champions in 1956.

Wilf McGuinness, second left, celebrates after beating Birmingham in the FA Cup semi-final, March 1957

Wilf McGuinness, second left, celebrates after beating Birmingham in the FA Cup semi-final, March 1957

He was also a member of the team that won the First Division title again in 1957 and the Charity Shield in 1956 and 1957.

In all, McGuinness made 81 league appearances for the Red Devils, scoring two goals. A broken leg ended his playing career in 1959 when he was just 22.

He was capped twice for England at senior level, lining up with team mate Bobby Charlton under the captainship of Wolves defender Billy Wright.

Although McGuinness was a United player at the time of the Munich air crash in February 1958, he never boarded the plane as an injury prevented him from traveling.

Nobby Stiles and Wilf McGuinness arrive at Manchester airport from Milan, April 1969

Nobby Stiles and Wilf McGuinness arrive at Manchester airport from Milan, April 1969

McGuinness took up coaching at Old Trafford after he could no longer play, replacing Jimmy Murphy as reserve team manager in 1964.

Five years later, at the age of 31, he strolled out with Busby to face fans and photographers as the new first team manager.

It must have been difficult for United’s world class players, including George Best and Denis Law, to adjust to a new man at the helm after Busby’s 24-year reign.

Form on the pitch suffered. United finished eighth in the First division, but still reached the semi-finals of both the FA Cup and League Cup.

Ian Ure, centre, goes for the high ball in a 1-1 home draw against Nottingham Forest, October 1969

Ian Ure, centre, goes for the high ball in a 1-1 home draw against Nottingham Forest, October 1969

The next season did not start well. United lost their opening match 1-0 to fierce rivals Leeds United at Old Trafford.

A goalless home draw with Chelsea was followed by a 4-0 thrashing by Arsenal at Highbury.

United registered their first win with a 2-0 away victory at Burnley, Law scoring both goals, but struggled to find any consistency.

After losing 4-1 to Manchester City and then 3-1 to Arsenal in consecutive home matches in December, the writing was on the wall for McGuinness.

Bobby Charlton sprints into the box in a 2-0 win over Coventry City, September 1970

Bobby Charlton sprints into the box in a 2-0 win over Coventry City, September 1970

The next game, a Boxing Day clash against Derby County at the Baseball Ground, was to prove the last for the struggling United manager.

The Red Devils fought back to earn a creditable 4-4 draw, but McGuinness was replaced by Busby three days later.

Busby carried on as caretaker manager until the end of the season to see United once again finish eighth – and was succeeded by Leicester manager Frank O’Farrell.

McGuinness resumed his previous post of reserve team manager, but left in the summer to become manager of Greek club Aris Thessaloniki.

Fans meet Wilf McGuinness on the day he is announced as the new United manager, April 1969

Fans meet Wilf McGuinness on the day he is announced as the new United manager, April 1969

After two years at Thessaloniki, he moved to another Greek side Panachaiki, based in Patras.

He guided Panachaiki to their first ever UEFA Cup campaign, going out in the second round to Dutch team Twente Enschede.

In 1975, he returned to the UK to manage York City and also had coaching spells at Hull and Bury FC.