Johnny Byrne

Palace legend who outclassed Eusebio

Player Biography
Full name: John Joseph Byrne
Date of birth: May 13, 1939
Date of death: October 27, 1999
Clubs played for: Crystal Palace, West Ham, Fulham
Johnny Byrne
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Johnny Byrne Johnny Byrne Johnny Byrne Johnny Byrne and Bobby Moore Bobby Moore and Johnny Byrne 1964 FA Cup Johnny Byrne Johnny Byrne Johnny Byrne
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Club Career

Johnny Byrne signed a professional contract with Palace on his 17th birthday in May 1956 and went on to play 220 league games for the club, scoring 95 goals and helping them win promotion from the Fourth Division in 1960-61.

He was signed by First Division West Ham in March 1962, and he starred for them alongside the likes of Bobby Moore, Geoff Hurst and Martin Peters in the mid '60s, before returning to Selhurst Park for the 1967-68 season. He then spent a year at Fulham prior to a move to South Africa where he played, and later managed, before his death in Cape Town in 1999, aged 60.

Club Stats

Years Clubs App Goals
1956-62 Crystal Palace 220 95
1962-67 West Ham 156 79
1967-68 Crystal Palace 39 6
1968-69 Fulham 19 2

International Career

Byrne was still a Third Division player with Palace when he was first called up by England in November 1961, making his debut that month against Northern Ireland. Despite a record of eight goals in just 11 appearances, however, he made his last appearance in April 1965 and missed out on England's World Cup success a little over 12 months later.

International Career Stats

Years Clubs App Goals
1961-65 England 11 8

Key Games

Crystal Palace 0-0 Swindon (Division Three (South), October 13, 1956)

Byrne made his senior debut for Palace just six months after his 17th birthday. He had already won England youth honours, and manager Cyril Spiers insisted the youngster was "a great player who I believe can develop into a full international". His first game ended in a drab 0-0 draw with Swindon but it was not long before he was on the goal trail for the Eagles.

West Ham 3-2 Preston (FA Cup final, May 2, 1964)

The FA Cup of 1964 proved the only major honour of Byrne's career - he was to miss the 1965 Cup-Winners' Cup Final success over Munich 1860 through injury. The striker played a key role in the Wembley win over Preston, and in the games preceding it. His most memorable contribution were two goals against Burnley to clinch a 3-2 quarter-final victory but, although he didn't score in the final, he was influential in the Hammers' last-gasp triumph as they recovered from 2-1 down to win 3-2, thanks to a last-minute goal from substitute Ronnie Boyce.

Portugal 3-4 England (International friendly, May 17, 1964)

Just a couple of weeks after celebrating West Ham's FA Cup win, Byrne had more to smile about as he scored a hat-trick for England - taking his goals tally to seven in only five games - in a 4-3 thriller in Lisbon. His third, a magnificent chip past a sea of defenders with just three minutes remaining, was the pick of the bunch and, added to Bobby Charlton's 21st minute opener, it secured a magnificent away win over Eusebio and Co.


Club Competition Year
West Ham FA Cup 1964

Did You Know...?

Byrne got the nickname 'Budgie' due to his incessant cheerful chattering.

During his national service, Byrne played in the same Army team as former Manchester United stars Duncan Edwards and Bill Foulkes.

His £65,000 move from Crystal Palace to West Ham in March 1962 was a British record transfer at the time.

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From the back pages

Young Byrne Gets His Chance Published: October 11, 1956

First Division news story

West Ham v Preston Published: May 2, 1964

FA Cup final preview

West Ham 3-2 Preston Published: May 4, 1964

FA Cup final match report

Cup Idols Drive Into Snub Row Published: May 4, 1964

FA Cup final news story

Portugal 3-4 England Published: May 18, 1964

International friendly match report

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