Johnny Budgie Byrne played for Crystal Palace, Fulham and England, as well as several clubs in South Africa, but he is most associated with West Ham, where he delighted the fans as he made goals, scored goals and put in fearless tackles. In the heady days of the 1960s he was on a par with the greats: Bobby Moore, Geoff Hurst, Martin Peters and Johnny Sissons. But Budgie was left out of the squad for the 1962 World Cup in Chile, so in some ways he never completely fulfilled his enormous potential. It was during Johnny Byrnes time at West Ham that the club really built its reputation for quality football. Loved by the fans, hated by the opposition, he is widely thought to be one of the finest players ever to have pulled on a claret and blue West Ham shirt. In this fascinating new biography Brian Belton tells the story of Budgies life and career, focussing on the football and resisting the temptation to cast Johnny as a loveable rogue in the manner that others have written about such famous subjects as Alex Higgins and George Best. There was much more to Budgie than his life off the pitch, and this is a book about a football hero who played like a demon and was adored by the fans.
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