McNeill as Celtic manager in September 1982
|Full name||William McNeill|
|Date of birth||2 March 1940|
|Place of birth||Bellshill, Scotland|
|Height||1.87 m (6 ft 1 1⁄2 in)|
|1961–1967||Scottish League XI||9||(0)|
* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only.
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.
McNeill, nicknamed Caesar, 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.
He began his management career at Clyde in April 1977 before moving to Aberdeen in June. However, in 1978 he returned to manage Celtic. He was succeed at Aberdeen by Alex Ferguson. 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. The man that had succeeded him at Aberdeen would end-up succeeding Atkinson.
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. 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. He left Hibs at the end of the 1997–98 season.
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.
|Club performance||League||Cup||League Cup||Continental||Total|
|Scotland||League||Scottish Cup||League Cup||Europe||Total|
* 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
- Scottish League champions (9): 1965–66, 1966–67, 1967–68, 1968–69, 1969–70, 1970–71, 1971–72, 1972–73, 1973–74
- Scottish Cup (7): 1964–65, 1966–67, 1968–69, 1970–71, 1971–72, 1973–74, 1974–75
- Scottish League Cup (6): 1965–66, 1966–67, 1967–68, 1968–69, 1969–70, 1974–75
- European Cup : 1966–67
- Scottish League champions (4): 1978–79, 1980–81, 1981–82, 1987–88
- Scottish Cup (3): 1979–80, 1987–88, 1988–89
- Scottish League Cup (1): 1982–83
- Manchester City
- As of 30 November 2013
|Clyde||April 1977||June 1977|
|Aberdeen||June 1977||August 1978||57||37||11||9||64.91|
|Celtic||August 1978||May 1983||258||165||40||53||63.95|
|Manchester City||June 1983||September 1986||150||60||41||49||40.00|
|Aston Villa||September 1986||May 1987||41||9||15||17||21.95|
|Celtic||May 1987||May 1991||197||108||41||48||54.82|
- no statistics available for Clyde.
- Billy McNeill, londonhearts.com
- "Mo's no fun for McNeill". The Sun. 11 November 2009. Retrieved 2 March 2010.
- "Scotland FL Players by Appearances". Londonhearts.com. London Hearts Supporters' Club. Retrieved 27 November 2011.
- Football: Millar two hot for Hibs, The Independent, 25 January 1998.
- Football: Miller helps Miller to wind up Hibernian, The Independent, 8 February 1998.
- Article: McNeill's departure inevitable, The Scotsman, 16 July 1998.
- "'Old' firm legends seek votes". BBC News. BBC. 27 March 2003. Retrieved 22 September 2013.
- Billy McNeill at National-Football-Teams.com
- The Celtic Football Companion, David Docherty. ISBN 0-85976-173-8, Published 1986.