Gary Bailey was born in Ipswich in 1958 and emigrated to South Africa when his father Roy decided to continue his soccer career in Johannesburg.
Gary went to King Edward school and then later Rondebosch Boys high in Cape Town, when his father became coach of Cape Town City. It was under Roy’s expert coaching that Gary learnt his goalkeeping skills.
It was when he moved back to Johannesburg to start a Civil Engineering degree at Wits that his career took off – Former Manchester United star Eddie Lewis decided Gary had the talent and picked him for the Wits first team at 17 years of age, and within a few months, the first team spot was his. Within a year he had been chosen to represent South Africa against Rhodesia, and it was then that his dad suggested he try his luck in Europe.
While Gary was on trial in Holland, he and his agent saw an article saying that Manchester United were looking for a replacement for the ageing Alex Stepney and so Gary decided to travel to Manchester and ask for a trial. United decided to sign Gary but he was stuck in the youth team until injuries created an opportunity for him to make his debut 1 year later, coincidentally against Ipswich, his Dads former club and the place where he was born.
Manchester United won 2-0, Gary played well, and from then on he kept the first team spot for the next 10 years, playing 375 games for the Red Devils, winning 2 FA cup medals in 1983 and 1985, and finishing in top 4 of the league on 3 occasions. On the international scene, he won the European U21 championship in 1984, and also 2 England full caps, and was part of 1986 world cup squad in Mexico. Unfortunately for Gary, he had 2 of the greatest keepers in English history in front of him for the 10 years he played in England, Peter Shilton and Ray Clemence, which severely restricted his international opportunities.
Gary was injured on England duty at the world cup and spent 11 months in rehab, coming back to play 5 games for Sir Alex Ferguson in early 1987, before accepting that his career at the top level had come to an end. He retired with a testimonial game between England and Manchester United at Old Trafford in May 1987.
Whilst playing football in Manchester, he studied part time and completed a Bsc in Physics, one of only a handful of players to do so while actively playing at the highest level !
After retiring in the UK, Gary returned to SA, and after resting his knee, decided to return to play for glamour club Kaizer Chiefs with whom he won the league in 1989 and 5 trophies in 2 years. He retired again, and decided to try his hand as a radio journalist at Radio 702 and also as a TV analyst at Supersport, where he spent 25 years as the face of English football to the continent of Africa.
On returning to South Africa in 1987, Gary married and had 3 awesome kids, Lara, Jenna and Ross, and whilst working full time at Supersport, he managed to complete an MBA from Henley in Oxford
Besides being a TV expert, he was also a top Speaker on the subject of “Success under Pressure” and travelled the world speaking to many of the top companies such as Microsoft, IBM, Nike, Coca Cola, AON, Mercedes Benz, SAB Miller and many many more. He was recognized for his speaking success by being inducted into the Speakers Hall of Fame in 2010
Gary met his current wife Michelle Mclean (Miss Universe 1992) in 2010, married March 2013, and then emigrated in December 2013 to USA and currently lives on Miami Beach in Florida.
He works for BeIN sports TV in Miami covering Spanish and French football, and also does commentary for USL games (USA 2nd division)
He has written 2 books – Success under Pressure, with the forward written by former manager Sir Alex Ferguson, and a personal book to help society on divorce called “Putting the Kids first”