29 July 2006

Harry Baird

One of many players who could ask, "what might have been if not for the War?" Harry Baird returned to his League career after hostilities ended, and reshaped his playing style from prolific striker, to steadying half-back...

Name: Henry Baird
Born: 17 August 1913, Belfast
Height: 5.09 ft
Weight: 11.04 st
Position: Centre-Forward
Died: 22 May 1973, Belfast

Representative Honours: Northern Ireland: 1 Cap (1938); Irish League: 2 Caps/1 Goal (1936); Northern Regional "War-Time" League: 2 Caps/2 Goals.
Club Honours: (with Linfield) Irish League Champion 1933/34, 1934/35; Irish Cup Winner 1935/36, Runner-Up 1940/41; Charity Cup Winner 1933/34, 1934/35, 1935/36; Co. Antrim Shield Winner 1933/34, Runner-Up 1939/40; Gold Cup Winner 1935/36, 1936/37, Runner-Up 1934/35, 1939/40; City Cup Winner 1935/36; Jubilee Cup Winner 1935/36; (with Manchester United) Football League Division Two Runner-Up 1937/38.

Club Career:
Clubs
Seasons
Signed
Fee
League
FA Cup
Other
Linfield Swifts
-
-
-
-
-
-
Dumurry
-
-
-
-
-
-
Bangor
31/32-32/33
-
-
-
-
-
Linfield
33/34-36/37
May-33
-
81/43
8/ 9
-
Manchester United
36/37-38/39
Jan-37
£3,500
49/15
4/ 3
-
Huddersfield Town
38/39-39/40
Sep-38
-
19/ 4
2/ 0
-
Linfield
39/40
-
Guest
46/19
3/ 6
24/ 5
Linfield
42/43
-
Guest
3/ 0
-
1/ 0
Bradford Park Avenue
43/44
-
Guest
-
-
2/ 0
Derby County
44/45
-
Guest
-
-
3/ 1
Halifax Town
44/45
-
Guest
-
-
1/ 0
Grimsby Town
45/46
-
Guest
-
-
4/ 0
Ipswich Town
45/46
-
Guest
-
-
1/ 0
Ipswich Town
46/47-51/52
Jun-46
Free
216/ 6
11/ 1
7/ 0
TOTALS
£10,000
414/87
28/19
112/39

Biography:
Harry Baird won an Irish Cup winners' medal with Linfield in April 1936, and five months later scored on his debut for the Irish League, against the Scottish League at Ibrox. He won a second representative honour when he assisted the Irish League to a famous 3-2 victory against the Football League at Windsor Park in September 1936 and in November he travelled to Stoke as reserve for a match against England. A skilful and tricky player, Baird scored four times in Linfield's 7-2 Gold Cup Final win over Derry City in December 1936.

Manchester United had been chasing Baird for some months before their £3,500 offer was accepted in January 1937. He joined a struggling side and was slow to settle, making his League debut on January 23rd, he could do little as United finished in 21st place and were relegated. In the following season the skilful Irishman found his form, scoring 12 League goals, and three in four FA Cup ties, as United secured promotion as runners-up to Aston Villa. In May 1938 Baird received his first international call-up as the FAI decided to "test the water" by selecting three Northern-born players - Jack Brown (Coventry), Walter McMillan (Chesterfield) and Baird. The IFA however refused permission.

In September 1938 he was transferred to Huddersfield Town, and whilst at Leeds Road won his only international cap, against England. The game was played at Old Trafford, but it proved to be anything but a happy return for Harry Baird as England won 7-0, Willie Hall of Spurs scoring five goals. Baird was also part of the Huddersfield side who, although struggling against relegation from the First Division, made it to the 1939 FA Cup Semi-Final.

During World War Two, Baird guested for a number of clubs while serving in the RAF, and on the resumption of the League programme he signed for Division Three (South) side Ipswich Town, making his debut away to Leyton Orient on 31st August 1946. Baird appeared in 234 League and FA Cup matches for Ipswich, scoring seven goals, mainly from wing-half and retired from playing during the 1951/52 season after making his final appearance at Crystal Palace on 20th October 1951. He remained at Portman Road as a coach until June 1953.

Harry Baird's elder brother William John Baird also played for Linfield, Dunmurry and Bangor.

Northern Ireland Cap Details:
16-11-1938 England (a) L 0-7 British Championship

Summary: 1/0. Won 0, Drew 0, Lost 1.


Additional details by George Glass.

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