Baird Harry Image 1 Linfield 1936

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Description

Belfast born wing half Harry Baird started with Bangor and moved to Linfield in May 1933. He 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 at Sheffield Wednesday, 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 with Baird scoring 4 goals in 21 games.

He returned to Linfield in 1940 and during World War Two, Baird guested for a number of clubs while serving in the RAF including Bradford Park Avenue, Derby County, Halifax Town and Grimsby Town, 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 2227 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.

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