Lou Macari

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Lou Macari
Personal information
Full name Luigi Macari[1]
Date of birth (1949-06-07) 7 June 1949 (age 65)[2]
Place of birth Largs, North Ayrshire, Scotland[1]
Height 5 ft 6 in (1.68 m)
Playing position Midfielder
Senior career*
Years Team Apps (Gls)
1967–1973 Celtic 58 (26)
1973–1984 Manchester United 329 (78)
1984–1986 Swindon Town 33 (3)
Total 420 (107)
National team
1972–1978 Scotland 24 (5)
Teams managed
1984–1989 Swindon Town
1989–1990 West Ham United
1991 Birmingham City
1991–1993 Stoke City
1993–1994 Celtic
1994–1997 Stoke City
2000–2002 Huddersfield Town
* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only.
† Appearances (Goals).

Luigi "Lou" Macari (born 7 June 1949) is a Scottish former footballer and football manager of Italian descent. He played for Celtic, Manchester United and Swindon Town and was the manager of Swindon, West Ham United, Birmingham City, Stoke City (two spells), Celtic and Huddersfield Town.[1][3]

Playing career[edit]

After a promising start to his playing career with Celtic, he moved south of the border in 1973 for £200,000 to sign for Manchester United, where he spent the bulk of his playing career. During his time with Celtic he had scored 57 goals in 100 appearances since making his first team debut in 1970.

His first game for Manchester United came in January 1973 against West Ham United in which he scored a point-saving goal in a 2–2 draw. In 1977, his deflected shot off team mate Jimmy Greenhoff won Manchester United the FA Cup final against Liverpool (and ultimately denied Liverpool the European treble). He made 400 appearances for the club, scoring 98 goals.

Macari's early career at Old Trafford was spent trying to lead an attack that struggled to achieve anything. Relegation to the Second division in 1974 was the low point but Macari blossomed as a midfielder in the following seasons under Tommy Docherty, as United began to win back a large following with superb attacking football in which Macari enjoyed popularity alongside players such as Gordon Hill, Steve Coppell and the Greenhoff brothers.

He helped United win the Second Division title in 1975. They finished third on their return to the top flight and were runners-up in the FA Cup before going one better and lifting the trophy a year later. He was on the losing side in the 1979 final, and also played in a string of European campaigns during the late 1970s and early 1980s.

International career[edit]

Macari also played for the Scottish national team and was a member of the Scotland squad for the 1978 World Cup tournament in Argentina. However, he attracted widespread criticism when it emerged that he had led complaints that the £20,000 bonuses the players would receive if they won the World Cup were too low, then made extra money by selling stories to the press[4] about the disarray and tensions within the Scottish camp. As it turned out, the Scotland team lost their first match to Peru, and drew with Iran. They beat Holland 3–2 but this was insufficient to proceed in the tournament and the Scotland squad returned home without qualifying for the knock-out stage. Macari and his team-mates did not receive the bonuses which were the subject of contention.

Management career[edit]

As a manager Macari insisted upon a strict fitness regime, which included extra sessions in the player's free time and the banning of alcohol in and around the club.[5]

After leaving Manchester United in 1984, he managed Swindon Town, West Ham United, Stoke City (twice), Celtic, Birmingham City and Huddersfield Town.

When I took my first management job at Swindon in the old Fourth Division, one of the things I had to adjust to was the fact I was working with players with lesser ability than at Old Trafford. There was a danger of demanding they play like top-flight footballers and then become frustrated with them when they couldn't. But I didn't see any reason why the players at Swindon couldn't be as fit as the players at Manchester United. That was something we worked really hard on, the players accepted it, and we reaped the rewards with promotion in my second season."

—Macari recalls his Swindon days.[6]

His successes in management came with two promotions at Swindon Town (Fourth Division champions in 1986 and Third Division playoff winners in 1987). This earned Macari a move to West Ham United in 1989–90 but his stay at Upton Park only lasted six months. He then went on to Birmingham City a year later in February 1991 guiding the Blues to a 3–2 victory over Tranmere Rovers in the 1991 Football League Trophy Final. On 18 June 1991 Macari was appointed manager at Stoke City. Stoke at the time had just finished in their lowest league position and Macari had the task to turn around the fortunes of the club. He brought in Steve Foley (£50,000 from Swindon Town), Vince Overson (£55,000 from Birmingham City), Ronnie Sinclair (£25,000 from Bristol City) and forward Mark Stein from Oxford United for what turned out to be a bargain £100,000.[1]

Stoke in 1991–92 were in the hunt for automatic promotion all season eventually having to settle for a play-off place where they came up against Stockport County.[1] The first leg at Edgeley Park saw County win 1–0 thanks to a free-kick from Lee Todd after Carl Beeston had been sent-off and in the second leg Stoke went behind in the first minute and despite Stein pulling one back Stoke went out 2–1 on aggregate.[1] Just days after losing to Stockport in the play-offs they met again in the 1992 Football League Trophy Final where Stoke won 1–0. The 1992–93 season saw Stoke win the Second Division title after amassing 93 points and also went on a club record unbeaten run of 25 games. After a poor start to the 1993–94 season Macari joined one of his former club's Celtic.[1]

However his time at Celtic Park was unsuccessful and he returned to Stoke in September 1994. Stoke finished in a mid-table position of 11th in 1994–95 before the partnership of Mike Sheron and Simon Sturridge in 1995–96 produced 29 goals and earned Stoke a place in the play-offs.[3] Stoke's opponents in the play-offs were Martin O'Neill's Leicester City whom Stoke had already beaten twice in the league.[3] The first leg at Filbert Street ended 0–0.[3] In the second leg, Stoke produced a poor performance and Leicester scored the only goal, Garry Parker's left-foot volley ended Stoke's hopes of promotion.[3] The 1996–97 campaign saw Stoke play their final season at the Victoria Ground which ended with a mid-table finish of 12th. Macari announced he was leaving at the end of the season which was a surprise but he was 'stripped of his duties' before he left and later launched a lawsuit against Peter Coates for wrongful dismissal.[3]

Macari returned to management in 2000 with Huddersfield Town who were in relegation trouble after a poor start to the season. He could not prevent them from being relegated from Division One at the end of the 2000–01 campaign. Macari managed to steady the ship in 2001–02 and lead the club into the Second Division play-offs as the Terriers looked to bounce straight back up. However they were defeated by Brentford in the semi finals. Macari's contract was not renewed for the next season with Huddersfield's board stating his defensive style of football as the reason. This was to be Macari's last managerial role and despite being linked with various positions since has not ventured back into management.

Post-retirement[edit]

Macari currently lives in Stoke-on-Trent and works as a pundit for MUTV on several shows. He is a regular guest on Match Day Live before Manchester United home and away games. As well as phone-in shows such as Wednesday Night Phone-in he occasionally does punditry for Sky Sports, and also writes regular comment pieces for the Stoke-on-Trent newspaper The Sentinel. He has given several guest talks at Staffordshire University on the Sports Journalism courses. Macari also owns the "Lou Macari Chip Shop" on Chester Road, near Old Trafford. He wrote his autobiography in October 2009 called Football, My Life.[7]

Personal life[edit]

His mother died just before the 1978 World Cup in strange circumstances. Overdosing on tablets, her son was to find out that: "My mum had been on her own, and in the conversation I'd had with her she said she had some friends up there. Putting the pieces together after she died, I just wasn't convinced that the friends were good friends. Some money had gone missing."[8]

His sons Michael and Paul have played professionally with Stoke, when Macari was manager of the club. His youngest son Jonathan committed suicide in 1999 after being released from his contract at Nottingham Forest.[9] Family friend and former manager Dave Bassett said that Jonathan could not handle the pressure of living up to his father's greatness.[10] There was also talk of drugs affecting his son's life and leading to his suicide,[11] but Macari later discounted that theory, admitting that much like the death of his mother, the complete story behind the tragedy may never be known.[8] Years later he claimed that "Money in a young man's pocket is a recipe for disaster and we had that disaster. Only when you go through something like that do you understand the hell of it."[12]

Career statistics[edit]

As a player[edit]

Club Season League FA Cup League Cup Europe Other[A] Total
Division Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals
Celtic 1967–68 Scottish Division One 0 0 0 0 1 0 0 0 0 0 1 0
1968–69 Scottish Division One 1 1 0 0 3 0 0 0 0 0 4 1
1969–70 Scottish Division One 15 7 2 2 0 0 0 0 2 1 19 10
1970–71 Scottish Division One 11 5 1 1 8 5 1 2 0 0 21 13
1971–72 Scottish Division One 20 10 5 5 6 5 8 4 3 1 42 25
1972–73 Scottish Division One 11 3 0 0 6 4 3 2 3 0 23 9
Total 58 26 8 8 24 14 12 8 8 2 110 58
Manchester United 1972–73 First Division 16 5 0 0 0 0 0 0 3 0 19 5
1973–74 First Division 35 5 2 1 1 0 0 0 0 0 38 6
1974–75 Second Division 38 11 2 0 7 7 0 0 0 0 47 18
1975–76 First Division 36 12 6 1 3 2 0 0 0 0 45 15
1976–77 First Division 38 9 7 3 4 1 4 1 0 0 53 14
1977–78 First Division 32 8 4 3 1 0 2 0 1 0 40 11
1978–79 First Division 32 6 5 0 1 0 0 0 0 0 38 6
1979–80 First Division 39 9 2 0 3 0 0 0 0 0 44 9
1980–81 First Division 38 9 2 0 2 0 1 0 0 0 43 9
1981–82 First Division 11 2 2 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 13 2
1982–83 First Division 9 2 1 0 3 0 1 0 0 0 14 2
1983–84 First Division 5 0 1 0 2 0 2 0 0 0 10 0
Total 329 78 34 8 27 10 10 1 4 0 404 97
Swindon Town 1984–85 Fourth Division 27 3 1 0 1 0 0 0 2 0 31 3
1985–86 Fourth Division 9 0 0 0 3 0 0 0 0 0 12 0
Total 36 3 1 0 4 0 0 0 2 0 43 3
Career total 423 107 43 16 55 24 22 9 14 2 557 158
A. ^ The "Other" column constitutes appearances and goals in the Anglo-Italian Cup, Drybrough Cup, FA Charity Shield, Football League Trophy and Glasgow Cup.

As a manager[edit]

Team From To Record
G W D L Win %
Swindon Town 23 July 1984 3 July 1989 270 132 63 75 48.89
West Ham United 3 July 1989 18 February 1990 39 14 13 12 35.9
Birmingham City 7 February 1991 18 June 1991 18 7 5 6 38.89
Stoke City 18 June 1991 7 October 1993 122 57 35 30 46.72
Celtic 7 October 1993 16 June 1994 25 8 10 7 32
Stoke City 29 September 1994 1 July 1997 144 53 42 49 36.81
Huddersfield Town 16 October 2000 14 June 2002 93 36 29 28 38.71
Total 711 307 197 207 43.18

Honours[edit]

As a player[edit]

Celtic
Manchester United

As a manager[edit]

Swindon Town
Birmingham City
Stoke City

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e f g Matthews, Tony (1994). The Encyclopaedia of Stoke City. Lion Press. ISBN 0-9524151-0-0. 
  2. ^ Lou Macari at scottishfa.co.uk
  3. ^ a b c d e f Lowe, Simon (2000). Stoke City The Modern Era - A Complete Record. Desert Island Books. ISBN 1-874287-39-2. 
  4. ^ Stephen McGinty (30 December 2008). "How our man in Argentina put boot into Ally's World Cup flops". The Scotsman. Retrieved 24 January 2009. 
  5. ^ Macaari, Lou (9 June 2009). "Lou Macari: Vale fans must be realistic". The Sentinel. Retrieved 2009-06-09. 
  6. ^ Macari, Lou (20 July 2010). "Lou Macari: Teams can't be a success unless they are fit for purpose". The Sentinel. Retrieved 20 July 2010. 
  7. ^ "Football, My Life". Amazon.co.uk. Retrieved 23 October 2013. 
  8. ^ a b Deveney, Catherine (10 August 2008). "Only a game: Lou Macari talks about the tragedy that changed his world". Scotland on Sunday. Retrieved 20 July 2010. 
  9. ^ "Football manager's son found hanged". BBC News. 29 April 1999. Retrieved 24 January 2009. 
  10. ^ Kane, Patricia. "LOU MACARI'S AGONY AS SON HANGS HIMSELF; He couldn't live up to his father's greatness.". The Mirror. Archived at TheFreeLibrary. 30 April 1999. Retrieved 7 April 2012.
  11. ^ Aston, Paul (1 October 1999). "'Real world' too much for Macari's son" (reprint). Birmingham Post (The Free Library (Farlex)). Retrieved 1 October 2010. 
  12. ^ Buckland, Simon (19 October 2008). "Lou Macari faces his son's suicide". The Times. Retrieved 20 July 2010. 

External links[edit]