Lawrie McMenemy

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Lawrie McMenemy
Personal information
Full name Lawrence McMenemy
Date of birth (1936-07-26) 26 July 1936 (age 78)
Place of birth Gateshead, England
Height 6 ft 4 in (1.93 m)
Youth career
Newcastle United
Senior career*
Years Team Apps (Gls)
1959–1961 Gateshead
Teams managed
1965–1967 Bishop Auckland
1968–1971 Doncaster Rovers
1971–1973 Grimsby Town
1973–1985 Southampton
1985–1987 Sunderland
1990–1993 England U-21
1998–1999 Northern Ireland
* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only.
† Appearances (Goals).

Lawrence "Lawrie" McMenemy[1] MBE (born 26 July 1936) is a retired English football coach, best known for his spell as manager of Southampton Football Club. Lawrie McMenemy is rated in the Guinness Book of Records as one of the twenty most successful managers in post-war English football.

Playing career[edit]

McMenemy was born in Gateshead. An ex-Coldstream Guards man,[2] he started his footballing career with Newcastle United although he never appeared in their first team, before moving to Gateshead in the late 1950s, but McMenemy joined the club after they had left the Football League.[3] An injury ended his career in 1961, but he moved into coaching instead, spending three years in coaching at the club.

Football management[edit]

Bishop Auckland[edit]

In 1964 he was appointed manager of non-league Bishop Auckland and transformed them from a struggling side into Northern League champions and also took them to the third round of the FA Cup.

Sheffield Wednesday & Doncaster Rovers[edit]

McMenemy then moved to Sheffield Wednesday where he spent two years as a coach before he got his big break as manager of Doncaster Rovers where he remained until May 1971, winning the Fourth Division Championship in 1968–69.

Grimsby Town[edit]

He then became manager of Grimsby Town, where he won a Fourth Division championship. In July 1973 he was approached and joined Southampton.


In 1976, McMenemy guided Southampton, then in the Second Division, to an FA Cup final victory over Manchester United. It was widely predicted before the game that United would easily win (one pundit said the score would go into double figures). However Southampton, who were in the Second Division at the time (the current Championship) and had a much older team, put up a stern challenge for United. The only goal of the game was scored by Bobby Stokes with just seven minutes to go, and captain Peter Rodrigues received the FA Cup from the Queen. They were the second club in just three years to win the FA Cup from outside the top flight of English football after Sunderland in 1973 and only one more side from outside the top flight (West Ham United in 1980) has won the trophy.

In 1978, the Saints won promotion to the First Division and in 1979 reached the League Cup Final where they lost 3-2 to Nottingham Forest.

McMenemy was linked with the vacant Manchester United manager's job at the end of the 1980-81 season, but he ruled himself out of the running and the job went to Ron Atkinson instead.[4]

McMenemy had signed World Cup winner Alan Ball to aid his side, later adding serving England captain Kevin Keegan when he came home from Germany in 1980. In 1984 he guided the club to 2nd place in the First Division - their highest ever finish.


He left Southampton on 1 June 1985, after they had finished fifth in the league, but made a return to football five days later when he was named manager of Sunderland, who had just been relegated to the Second Division. At the time he was the highest-paid manager in English football, but his time on Wearside was not a success and he quit in March 1987 - just weeks before Sunderland fell into the Third Division for the first time in their history.


In 1990 he ended a three-year break from football when being appointed as assistant manager to England boss Graham Taylor, managing the Under 21 side, and picking out the future talents like Darren Anderton and Steve McManaman. When England failed to qualify for USA 94, Taylor and McMenemy both resigned.

Back to Southampton[edit]

McMenemy soon bounced back however and was offered the new position of Director of Football by Southampton at the end of 1993. Fans and the local media were delighted when he accepted the role, which made him the first man to be employed as a Director of Football in the English game. In McMenemy's first season back at Southampton, the Saints finished 10th in the Premiership. But it didn't last long and in 1997, when Rupert Lowe arrived as the new chairman, neither McMenemy nor then manager Graeme Souness got on with him and promptly resigned, publicly denouncing the new board in the process.

Northern Ireland[edit]

A year later, in 1998 McMenemy was appointed Northern Ireland manager, but he was not successful and he resigned two years later after they failed to qualify for the 2000 European Championships.

Since 2000, McMenemy has concentrated on his role as FA special ambassador, travelling to Afghanistan in 2002 to help set up a national league and liaising with the English team in the Special Olympics.

In July 2006, he was appointed as a non-executive director of Southampton Football Club.

Media work[edit]

McMenemy has made frequent appearances on TV football panels since 1972 as well as BBC TV's 'Superkids' and TVS's 'Children's Challenge' (two series). He also regularly appeared on TV-am prior to 1990 as their 'football analyst'. He presented BBC Radio's 'Down Your Way' in 1989 and was a summariser for Sky TV News & Eurosport satellite TV until 1990. He currently is in demand as an after-dinner speaker. He has written several books on management motivation. He also writes a regular column in the Southern Daily Echo. He has appeared on the documentary Dream Fans The Spirit of Southampton in 2005. He is also the author of a testimonial in The Future of the NHS (2006) (ISBN 1-85811-369-5) edited by Dr Michelle Tempest. His media work also saw him as a panel member of 5 World Cups as well as TV appearances on "This is your life" and "Parkinson". McMenemy is also the Chairman of the Special Olympics UK.

Personal life[edit]

Married to Anne, eldest son Chris McMenemy former Newcastle United coach, son Sean McMenemy and daughter Alison.[citation needed]

He is related to Harry McMenemy.[5]


  • Awarded the MBE in 2006
  • Freedom of the City of Southampton

As a manager[edit]

Bishop Auckland

  • Northern League Champions & County Cup Winners 1965

Doncaster Rovers

Grimsby Town


External links[edit]

Sporting positions
Preceded by
Don Howe
England Assistant Manager
Succeeded by
Bryan Robson



  • Jeremy Wilson (2006). Southampton’s Cult Heroes. Know The Score Books. ISBN 1-905449-01-1. 
  • Javier Igeño Cano (2005). Dream Fans "The Spirit of Southampton DVD. Spanish Saints.