Manchester United have announced that former Busby Babe John Doherty has died at the age of 72. Doherty, who was chairman of the Association of Former Manchester United Players, made 26 appearances for the club, scoring seven goals, before retiring at the age of just 23 with a chronic knee injury. He was a member of the 1955-56 championship-winning team and was was one of three former players who carried the Premier League trophy on to the pitch for last season's title presentation. United chief executive David Gill said: 'John was a tireless leader of the Association of Former Players and a much loved and popular figure around Old Trafford. 'His work with the Former Players saw the group go from strength to strength. His quick wit and easy manner will be greatly missed. 'It was a special moment for him to be able to bring on the Premier League trophy at the end of last season with his other friends from the Busby Babes' first title-winning team in 1956 for presentation to the team; a role he performed with great pride and dignity. 'Our thoughts are with his family.' Paddy Crerand, a close friend of Doherty, said: 'I am absolutely devastated. It's hard to take. He was a great, great lad and such a big fan of United. 'He was always at the games at Old Trafford and obviously has the history of playing for the club as a Busby Babe. 'One of the great things about him was the work he did for the Association of Former Manchester United Players. He was absolutely fantastic with his work for the old boys.'