Billy McNeill

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For the former ice hockey player, see Billy McNeill (ice hockey).

Billy McNeill
Mcneill.jpg
McNeill as Celtic manager in September 1982
Personal information
Full nameWilliam McNeill[1]
Date of birth (1940-03-02) 2 March 1940 (age 74)
Place of birthBellshill, Scotland
Height1.87 m (6 ft 1 12 in)
Playing positionDefender
Youth career
0000–1957Blantyre Victoria
Senior career*
YearsTeamApps(Gls)
1957–1975Celtic486(22)
National team
1961–1972Scotland29(3)
1961–1967Scottish League XI9(0)
Teams managed
1977Clyde
1977–1978Aberdeen
1978–1983Celtic
1983–1986Aberdeen
1986–1987Aston Villa
1987–1991Celtic
1998Hibernian (caretaker)
* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only.
† Appearances (Goals).

William "Billy" McNeill MBE (born 2 March 1940) is a former Scottish footballer and manager. He is best known for captaining Celtic to the European Cup triumph in 1967 and he later went on to manage the club. He is now the official Club Ambassador at Celtic.

Football[edit]

Playing career[edit]

McNeill, nicknamed Cesar,[2] was voted the greatest ever captain of Celtic by the club's fans in 2002. He was signed by Celtic from nearby junior team, Blantyre Victoria, in 1957 as a defender. As captain he won nine Scottish League Championships, seven Scottish Cups, and six Scottish League Cups. He also led the team to victory in the European Cup in 1967, as part of the "Lisbon Lions", and was the first British footballer to hold aloft the European Cup. He retired as a player in 1975 after 790 appearances for Celtic, in which he played every minute, never having been substituted. He won 29 caps for Scotland. McNeill also represented the Scottish League XI.[3]

Management career[edit]

He began his management career at Clyde in April 1977 before moving to Aberdeen in June. However, in 1978 he returned to manage Celtic. His five years in charge saw Celtic win three League Championships, one Scottish Cup and one League cup.

On 30 June 1983 he moved to England to manage Manchester City. He secured promotion for City after two seasons in charge, and oversaw survival in their first season back. Two years before being appointed by City, he had been strongly linked with the manager's job at their cross city rivals Manchester United, but the job had gone to Ron Atkinson instead.[4]

In 1986–87, he became one of the few managers to manage two relegated teams in the same season. He started the season as manager of Manchester City but quit in September 1986 to take charge of fellow strugglers Aston Villa. When Villa were relegated after finishing bottom of the First Division in May 1987, he stood down to make way for Graham Taylor and returned to Celtic.

In his first season Celtic won the double of the League Championship and Scottish Cup in the club's centenary year. 1987–88, was renowned for late goals for Celtic and in both the semi final and final, Celtic scored late goals to emerge victorious 2–1 in both games. He won the Scottish Cup the following season, but quit in 1991 after four years as manager. McNeill's second spell as manager was blighted by the reluctance of the Board to spend money in the transfer market.

McNeill had a brief spell as director of football at Hibs in 1998, where he unsuccessfully attempted to arrest a decline in fortunes at the club.[5] He briefly took caretaker charge of the team after Jim Duffy was sacked, even though McNeill had been out of football since leaving Celtic in 1991 and was recovering from heart surgery.[6] He left Hibs at the end of the 1997–98 season.[7]

Political career[edit]

McNeill unsuccessfully stood as a candidate for the Scottish Senior Citizens Unity Party in the 2003 Scottish Parliament election.[8]

Awards[edit]

In 2008, he was awarded an honorary degree from the University of Glasgow in recognition of his outstanding achievement in football and for his distinguished role as an ambassador for the national sport. Celtic's chief executive Peter Lawwell said: "Billy McNeill has served Celtic Football Club and Scottish football in general with distinction over many years. He is a man of immense stature and someone who, as a player and manager was the complete professional. Billy was a born leader on and off the field. To captain Celtic and become the first British Club to win the European Cup, the biggest prize in Club football, is a massive achievement and Billy and the other Lisbon Lions will forever be among the most important figures in Celtic's illustrious history. Billy is fully deserving of the tremendous honour which has been bestowed on him. Everyone at the Club congratulates him on receiving the Honorary Degree from the University of Glasgow."[citation needed]

Career statistics[edit]

[9]

Club performance League Cup League Cup Continental Total
Season Club League Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals
Scotland League Scottish Cup League Cup Europe Total[10]
1957–58 Celtic Division One 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
1958–59 17 0 0 0 6 0 0 0 23 0
1959–60 19 0 7 0 6 0 0 0 32 0
1960–61 31 1 8 0 4 0 0 0 43 1
1961–62 29 1 6 0 6 0 0 0 41 1
1962–63 28 1 7 0 6 0 1 0 42 1
1963–64 28 0 4 0 6 0 8 0 46 0
1964–65 22 0 6 1 6 0 2 0 36 1
1965–66 25 0 7 0 10 0 7 1 49 1
1966–67 33 0 6 0 10 2 9 1 58 3
1967–68 34 5 1 0 10 0 2 0 50* 6†
1968–69 34 3 7 3 9 0 6 0 56 6
1969–70 31 5 5 0 10 2 9 0 55 7
1970–71 31 1 8 1 10 0 5 1 54 3
1971–72 34 3 6 1 8 0 7 0 55 4
1972–73 30 1 7 1 10 0 4 0 51 2
1973–74 30 0 5 0 11 0 7 0 53 0
1974–75 30 1 4 0 9 0 2 0 45 1
Total Scotland 486 22 94 7 137 4 69 3 789* 37†
Career total 486 22 94 7 137 4 69 3 789* 37†

* Includes 3 Appearances in the World Club Championship
† Includes 1 Goal in the World Club Championship

NB these Totals do not include Glasgow Cup appearances, which at the time was a Senior Trophy

Honours[edit]

Player:

Celtic

Individual:

Manager:

Celtic
Manchester City

Managerial statistics[edit]

As of 30 November 2013
Team Nat From To Record
G W D L Win %
Clyde Scotland April 1977 June 1977
Aberdeen Scotland June 1977 August 1978
Celtic Scotland August 1978 May 1983 258 165 40 53 63.95
Manchester City England June 1983 September 1986 150 60 41 49 40.00
Aston Villa England September 1986 May 1987 41 9 15 17 21.95
Celtic Scotland May 1987 May 1991 197 108 41 48 54.82
Total 646 342 137 167 52.94
  • no statistics available for Clyde and Aberdeen.

References[edit]

General
Specific
  1. ^ Billy McNeill, londonhearts.com
  2. ^ "Mo's no fun for McNeill". The Sun. 11 November 2009. Retrieved 2 March 2010. 
  3. ^ "Scotland FL Players by Appearances". Londonhearts.com (London Hearts Supporters' Club). Retrieved 27 November 2011. 
  4. ^ [1]
  5. ^ Football: Millar two hot for Hibs, The Independent, 25 January 1998.
  6. ^ Football: Miller helps Miller to wind up Hibernian, The Independent, 8 February 1998.
  7. ^ Article: McNeill's departure inevitable, The Scotsman, 16 July 1998.
  8. ^ "'Old' firm legends seek votes". BBC News. BBC. 27 March 2003. Retrieved 22 September 2013. 
  9. ^ Billy McNeill at National-Football-Teams.com
  10. ^ The Celtic Football Companion, David Docherty. ISBN 0-85976-173-8, Published 1986.

External links[edit]

Sporting positions
Preceded by
Duncan MacKay
Celtic captain
1962–1975
Succeeded by
Kenny Dalglish