View Full Version : Johnny Byrne R.I.P
28-10-1999, 11:00 PM
I was sorry to hear that Palace legend Johnny "Budgie" Byrne has died aged 60.I never actually saw him play,but i did meet him once when he turned up at Selhurst in the 1970's.He was a good enough player while with Palace in the Third division in the late 50's early 60's to be capped by England as a full international,which says a lot.If anyone would like a really good photo of him taken during his Palace days,please e-mail me.
[This message has been edited by johnny (edited 28 October 1999).]
CPFC Cheerleader Observer
29-10-1999, 01:30 PM
Saw this too yesterday. May his memory live on.
29-10-1999, 01:53 PM
Although I "joined" the Palace back in 1979, I never had the chance to see him play, but the name Johhny Byrne is often mentioned in very high regard.
PALACE supporters will be shocked and saddened to hear of the death yesterday of Johnny Byrne in South Africa at the age of 60. Arguably the most talented player ever to wear a Palace shirt, Byrne made 239 appearances in two spells with the club and scored 101 goals..
Born in West Horsley, Byrne joined Palace in May 1956 when they were seeking re-election to a Division Three South under Cyril Spiers, and made his debut as a 17-year-old in the October of that year.
Palace spent three seasons in the Fourth Division and Byrne played a major part in their promotion in 1960-61, scoring 31 goals in 42 appearances an achievement that has never been equalled. During that spell he became the first Fourth Division player to be capped for England under-23s and just three months after Palace won promotion he was awarded his first full England cap against Northern Ireland.
It was no surprise that under a national spotlight Palace, managed then by Arthur Rowe, could not hold on to their outstanding striker and West Ham’s Ron Greenwood paid a British record fee of £65,000 in March 1962.
Byrne, nicknamed Budgie for his constant chatter, was an instant hit in east London, winning and FA Cup winners medal against Preston in 1964. He was also voted Hammer of the year.
Injury in the England-Scotland clash the following year forced him to miss the 1965 European Cup Winners Cup final, but the next year he helped West Ham reach the Football League Cup Final, although they lost to West Bromwich Albion. Byrne notched 107 goals in 205 league and cup games for the Hammers, but with young new talent coming through the ranks he was allowed to leave in February 1967 and manager Bert Head was quick to snap him up and bring him back to the Palace for a fee of £45,000.
Sadly Byrne never really recaptured his form of the early days at Palace and stayed only 13 months before moving to Fulham. In June 1969 he signed for Durban City before hanging up his boots and settling in South Africa, managing the Cape Town-based Helenic for many years.
Byrne frequently returned to England on talent-spotting trips and always made a point of dropping in at the Palace to see his many friends.
Long serving Steve Kember, who played alongside Byrne during ‘Budgie’s second spell at Palace, said: "Johnny was one of the great one-touch players. Although he was no size he was a menace to all defences and had a eye for goal from any angle.
"But for a bad knee injury playing in an international against Scotland I am sure he would have won many more caps than he did."
29-10-1999, 03:18 PM
In my opinion,although I was a starry eyed kid at the time,Budgie was the best Palace player ever to wear the claret and blue or rather black and white with claret and blue facings.
I put him ahead of Kenny Sansom because forwards always look better.
[This message has been edited by eastern eagle (edited 29 October 1999).]
29-10-1999, 05:13 PM
I never saw Budgie play in the UK but watched him as a player and a manager in Cape Town where I lived. He did good work with Hellenic over the years in both the League and Cup games. He even imported some German internationals and the odd young player from UK clubs for experience. The local derby was against Cape Town City for whom Big Ben Anderson played (Palace in the 70's) and managed by Frank Lord.
29-10-1999, 05:30 PM
The first game i went to see aged 4 Budgie was playing and he was my first Palace hero
I especially remember his second spell at the club when he was a different class to the others.
His death also reminds of me of the best Palace headline ever, which I think was in the Telegraph, describing an away defeat
"Palace fiddle as Byrne roams"
29-10-1999, 06:24 PM
By strange coincidence, I have been thumbing through the pages of 4 Palace scrapbooks from the late 1950's and early 1960's. Being a Palace fan since 1973, I had obviously heard a great deal about Johnny, all of which was complimentary. In looking through these scrapbooks it brought home in the words of the press at that time what a great player he was. I remember him making an appearance at Selhurst in the early 1990's? and the welcome he received from many fans only aware of his name was amazing.
My condolences to his wife and children...
29-10-1999, 11:33 PM
I only saw Budgie play in the Fulham game which saw Palace promoted to the old first division. I chose Budgie as my username as I share the same name, and feel honoured to do so. He will be remembered with great affection.
30-10-1999, 12:19 AM
Pete_a,That's the same Ben Anderson who,when he played for Bury,was knocked out by a Mark Lazarus "right hook",at Gigg Lane in 1968.Lazarus got sent off...Anderson was out cold for 5 minutes and learned not to mess with blokes from boxing families!.
Apparently,in that Palace v Fulham game that saw Palace promoted in 68/69,Fulham were ahead at half time,and "Budgie" made a point of winding up the Palace players as they trudged off for the break with taunts of "you're not going to make it!".He was either doing the Palace lads a favour by whipping them into a frenzy,or,he was not a very good predictor of match results!.We'll never know.
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