7 August 2006

Managers - Lawrie McMenemy

Bryan Hamilton
1998-1999

The first "foreigner" to manage Northern Ireland, Lawrie Mcmenemy's two year reign was more downs than ups...

Name: Lawrence McMenemy
Born: 26 July 1936, Gateshead

Playing Career:

Newcastle United (Football League) (0/0 Total); Gateshead (North Regional League).

Coaching Career:
Gateshead (Trainer-Coach) 1961-1964
Bishop Auckland (Manager) 1964-1966
Sheffield Wednesday (Coach) 1966-1968
Doncaster Rovers (Manager) Dec/69-May/71
Grimsby Town (Manager) May/71-Jul/73
Southampton (Manager) Nov/73-Jun/85
Sunderland (Manager) Jun/85-Apr/87
England (Ass't Manager, B & Under-21 Teams Manager) 1990-1993
Southampton (Director of Football) 1994-1997
Northern Ireland (Manager) Mar/98-Oct/99
Football Association (Special Ambassador)


Honours:
FA Cup Winner 1975/76 (Southampton)
Football League Cup Runner-Up 1978/79 (Southampton)
Football League Division One Runner-Up 1983/84 (Southampton)
Football League Division Two Runner-Up & Promoted 1977/78 (Southampton)
Football League Division Four Champion & Promoted 1968/69 (Doncaster Rovers), 1971/72 (Grimsby Town)
League Managers Association 1,000 Club (elected 2013)

Biography:
A vastly experienced manager and coach who was appointed Northern Ireland manager in succession to Bryan Hamilton early in 1998. Lawrie McMenemy had an unspectacular playing career which had started with Newcastle United in the 1950s, but he failed to make the first-team and moved on to local non-League club Gateshead, before injury ended his career in 1961. In his younger days McMenemy also served in the army as a Coldstream Guardsman.

On retirement from playing, McMenemy joined Gateshead's coaching staff, before being appointed as manager of Bishop Auckland in 1964. He led the club to the FA Cup Third Round as well as the Northern League title, and stepped back to the Football League as coach of Sheffield Wednesday.

At the age of 32 McMenemy was given the opportunity to manage a League club, guiding Doncaster Rovers to the Fourth Division Championship in his first season. Relegation followed two seasons later and McMenemy moved on to Grimsby Town where he once again won the Fourth Division title in his first season.

In December 1973 Southampton were struggling in the First Division and they turned to McMenemy to try and rescue them from relegation. Although he was unsuccessful, he stayed on to help them rebuild outside the topflight. In 1976 the Saints reached the FA Cup Final and were massive underdogs to Manchester United. The team put in a performance that rocked football and took the FA Cup to the Dell for the first time.

Two years later Southampton finally returned to the top-flight as Second Division runners-up, and a year later McMenemy led them out at Wembley for the League Cup Final against Nottingham Forest. This time the Saints lost out 3-2 but over the next few years the club embarked on a massive spending spree, signing experienced England internationals such as Peter Shilton and Kevin Keegan and establishing themselves in the top-flight, finishing as League runners-up in 1984.

In 1985 McMenemy was prised back to the north-east as manager of Sunderland, then just relegated from the First Division, but he could do little to halt the decline as they finished 17th in his first season, and then the following season saw relegation to the Third Division, for the first time in the club's history. McMenemy had already departed though, leaving the club on 16th April 1987.

In 1990 McMenemy returned to football as assistant manager of England, and also managed their B and Under-21 teams. During his tenure England qualified for the 1992 European Championships, but following a dissappointing Finals performance and failure to qualify for 1994 World Cup, McMenemy resigned along with England manager Graham Taylor. His legacy though was the Under-21 talent that emerged, the likes of Steve McManaman and Darren Anderton going on to star at Full international level.

Offered the chance to return to Southampton as manager in 1994, McMenemy turned down the opportunity, joining the board as Director of Football instead. It was a turbulent time at the Dell which saw three managers during McMenemy's three years, bringing allegations of his undue interference with day-to-day matters. He departed, along with manager Graeme Souness, following a boardroom takeover that brought Rupert Lowe in as chairman, with both publicly denouncing the new regime.

With the departure of Bryan Hamilton as Northern Ireland manager late in 1997 the Irish FA announced that they would be seeking a coach with European experience. No doubt noting the effect another north-easterner, Jack Charlton, had had on the Republic of Ireland, Lawrie McMenemy was revealed as manager in February 1998. Along with McMenemy there was to be a management "Dream Team" with former Manchester United and Scotland striker Joe Jordan as assistant manager and Northern Ireland goalkeeping legend Pat Jennings as coach. Almost immediately McMenemy went looking for new talent with Nigeria-born Birmingham striker, Dele Adebola and Jamaica-born Ipswich striker David Johnson both chased with vigour. However, his first match in charge saw just one new cap, Cookstown-born Aaron Hughes playing in defence.

Inspite of his lack of success in attracting exotic players to the Northern Ireland squad, McMenemy's started his managerial reign brightly, with two home wins which brought much hope for the future. However, after his third match, the Belfast Telegraph exclaimed "Wheels come off the Lawrie", as a dissappointing performace saw Northern Ireland lose 4-1 in Spain. It was events off the pitch which perhaps raised the most concern, Jim Magilton and Gerry Taggart failing to tow the line and being banished for the remainder of McMenemy's tenure.

Further frustration was raised by McMenemy regarding the state of the Windsor Park facilities and about the lack of striking talent available to him. However, he continued to select the aging Iain Dowie, often as a lone striker, in lieu of other younger and in form talent such as George O'Boyle and James Quinn. Through the 1998/99 season results brought further disappointment with draws with Moldova and Canada and heavy defeats by Turkey and Germany being glossed over by a win over the Republic of Ireland in an end-of-season friendly.

The summer of 1999 saw World Champions, France visit Windsor Park in a glamour friendly, and Northern Ireland could consider themselves unlucky to lose 1-0. The closing three European Championship qualifying matches saw eleven goals conceded and just one scored as Northern Ireland lost heavily to Turkey, Germany and Finland, and come the time of McMenemy's contract renewal many expected that he would be shown the door. Much to the fans' dismay, a new three year contract was offered to McMenemy by the IFA, but perhaps realising the task ahead, he turned the offer down.

Since leaving the Northern Ireland post Lawrie McMenemy has acted as a special ambassador for the English FA in Afghanistan and at the Special Olympics, and concentrated on after dinner and motivational speaking.

Northern Ireland Record:

25-03-1998 Slovakia...... H W 1-0 FR
22-04-1998 Switzerland... H W 1-0 FR
03-06-1998 Spain......... A L 1-4 FR
15-09-1998 Turkey........ A L 0-3 ECQ
10-10-1998 Finland....... H W 1-0 ECQ
18-11-1998 Moldova....... H D 2-2 ECQ
27-03-1999 Germany....... H L 0-3 ECQ
31-03-1999 Moldova....... A D 0-0 ECQ
27-04-1999 Canada........ H D 1-1 FR
29-05-1999 Rep of Ireland A W 1-0 FR
18-08-1999 France........ H L 0-1 FR
18-08-1999 Turkey........ H L 0-3 ECQ
09-09-1999 Germany....... A L 0-4 ECQ
10-10-1999 Finland....... A L 1-4 ECQ

Summary:
Comp. Pl . W . D . L .. F:A .. Success
ECQ... 8...1...2...5... 4:19... 20.8%
FR.... 6...3...1...2... 5: 6... 55.6%
Tot...14...4...3...7... 9:25... 35.7%

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