Testimonial May 10th 1987 v England XI
Gary, son of legendary Ipswich Town goalkeeper Roy Bailey, was spotted playing in South Africa for Witts University and recommended to United by Eddie Lewis, and after a successful trial, offered professional terms.
His first team chance came in November 1978 after Jim Blyth's proposed £440,000 move from Coventry collapsed on medical grounds. Bailey played in all of the remaining games that season, culminating in the 3-2 defeat at Wembley in the FA Cup Final against Arsenal.
He also played for United in the 1983 and 1985 FA Cup Finals, and in the 1983 Milk Cup Final. Bailey won the first of his fourteen England U21 caps just three months after his senior club début, and won two full caps in 1985, at a time when Peter Shilton was in his pomp.
Gary was a commanding presence in United's goal, tall, athletic, vocal and supremely confident. He was a superb shot stopper, whose only flaw was the occasional lapse in concentration when dealing with crosses.
He remained the club's first choice custodian until he sustained a severe knee injury in training in February 1986. The injury failed to respond to treatment and he was forced to retire at just 29.
Gary returned to South Africa and played almost 80 games for the Kaiser Chiefs before pursuing a career in TV.