Derek Dougan

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Derek Dougan
Derek Dougan.png
Personal information
Full name Alexander Derek Dougan
Date of birth (1938-01-20)20 January 1938
Place of birth Belfast, Northern Ireland
Date of death 24 June 2007(2007-06-24) (aged 69)
Place of death Wolverhampton, England
Playing position Defender / Midfielder / Forward
Youth career
1951–1954 Cregagh Boys
Senior career*
Years Team Apps (Gls)
1954–1957 Distillery 76 (17)
1957–1959 Portsmouth 33 (9)
1959–1961 Blackburn Rovers 59 (26)
1961–1963 Aston Villa 51 (19)
1963–1965 Peterborough United 77 (38)
1965–1967 Leicester City 68 (35)
1967–1975 Wolverhampton Wanderers 258 (95)
1967 Los Angeles Wolves (guest) 11 (3)
1969 Kansas City Spurs (guest) 6 (4)
1973 Shamrock Rovers XI (guest) 1 (1)
1975–1977 Kettering Town 35 (37)
Total 685 (294)
National team
1952 Northern Ireland Schoolboys 3 (0)
Northern Ireland Youth
1956 Northern Ireland Amateurs 2 (0)
1957–1959 Northern Ireland B 2 (3)
1958–1973 Northern Ireland 43 (8)

* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only.

† Appearances (goals)

Alexander Derek Dougan (20 January 1938 – 24 June 2007) was a Northern Ireland international footballer who played for Wolverhampton Wanderers.

In 18 years in the English League, Dougan scored 294 goals in 685 matches, including 95 in 258 for Wolves. He began his career as a wing-half / central defender before being converted to a centre-forward. During his career, Dougan scored hat-tricks in the First Division, the Second Division, the Third Division, the FA Cup, the League Cup and the UEFA Cup and scored more English League goals than any other Irishman.

Club career[edit]

Early years[edit]

Dougan made 76 appearances and scored 17 goals for Distillery, helping them win the Irish Cup in 1956, before joining Portsmouth for a fee of £4,000 in August 1957.[1] Dougan made 33 league appearances and scored 9 league goals for Portsmouth, playing a further three games for them in the FA Cup.

He then moved to Blackburn Rovers in March 1959 for a fee of £15,000[1] and scored on his debut in a 1–1 draw away to Arsenal. 'Doog', went onto to play for Rovers in the 1960 FA Cup Final against his future club Wolves, despite having asked for a transfer on the eve of the match. It was his brace in the semi-final against Sheffield Wednesday that had secured Rovers' passage to Wembley and Dougan famously went on to score four goals in a 6–2 victory over West Ham.

After two and a half years at Ewood Park, Dougan went to Aston Villa in July 1961.[1] Two years later he moved to Peterborough United before signing for Leicester City in May 1965, where he stayed for just under two seasons.[1]

Wolverhampton Wanderers[edit]

Dougan joined Wolverhampton Wanderers for £50,000 in March 1967.[1] In just over eight seasons at Wolves, he made 323 senior appearances and scored 123 goals, placing him as their eighth highest goalscorer of all-time.

He marked his home debut by scoring a hat-trick against Hull City on 25 March 1967, in a season that saw him help Wolves clinch promotion to the First Division.[1] He was then leading marksman at Wolves in 1967–68, 1968–69 and 1971–72. He also netted a hat-trick in the UEFA Cup against Académica, becoming the only Wolves player to date to have scored a hat-trick in a major European competition. His tally of 12 goals in European competition is also a club record. Four days before that game, Dougan had also netted three goals when Wolves beat Nottingham Forest in a league match.

During his time at Wolves, Dougan formed successful partnerships with Peter Knowles, Hugh Curran, Bobby Gould and then John Richards and in 1974 collected a League Cup winners medal.[1] Dougan also played for Wolves in the United States when, playing as the Los Angeles Wolves, they won the United Soccer Association title in 1967, and in 1969, playing as Kansas City Spurs, they won the NASL International Cup.

Dougan was a beloved personality of the game and idolised by the Molineux crowd for his sometimes audacious antics and opinionated views on the game and, in particular, a professional player's lot within the Football Association vis a vis their ownership or "free agency" rights. Dougan was known for his traditional centre forward heading prowess but was surprisingly adept with his feet despite his gangly height. This was particularly evident during his "de rigueur" move of playing a ball to the corner flag and achieving a very high percentage of corner kicks.

He played for Wolves until his retirement from league football in 1975, when he went into management with non-league Kettering Town. His final senior game for the club was on 26 April 1975 in front of a 30,000-strong crowd at home to Leeds United in the First Division.[2] He was honoured with a testimonial by the club against a Don Revie Select Xl on 20 October 1975.

International career[edit]

Dougan represented Northern Ireland at schoolboy, youth, amateur and B level as a wing-half and centre-defender. Dougan won 43 senior caps and scored 8 goals for Northern Ireland. He made his international debut on 8 June 1958 in 1–0 win against Czechoslovakia during the 1958 FIFA World Cup.[1] He made his final appearance for Northern Ireland on 14 February 1973 in a 1974 FIFA World Cup qualifier against Cyprus.

Together with Pat Jennings and Martin O'Neill, Dougan was also one of six Northern Ireland internationals to feature in the Shamrock Rovers XI vs Brazil exhibition match in July 1973.[1] Dougan scored one of the goals for Rovers in the 4–3 defeat. The "Shamrock Rovers XI" was a pseudonym for an All-Ireland team, which also featured Republic of Ireland internationals. The Northern Ireland-based Irish Football Association had opposed the staging of the game, with the Football Association of Ireland also having reservations (according to Republic manager Liam Tuohy). Dougan, who had helped organise the match, subsequently alleged that his involvement meant that he never played for Northern Ireland again.[3] He hadn't played in any of Northern Ireland's five previous games and, at 35, was near the end of his career. Dougan was an advocate of an All-Ireland soccer team.[1][4]

International goals[edit]

Scores and results list Northern Ireland's goal tally first.

# Date Venue Opponent Result Competition
1 12 April 1961 Belfast, Northern Ireland  Wales 1–5 1961 British Home Championship
2 25 April 1961 Bologna, Italy  Italy 2–3 Friendly match
3 10 October 1962 Chorzów, Poland  Poland 2–0 UEFA Euro 1964 qualifying
4 2 October 1965 Belfast, Northern Ireland  Scotland 3–2 1966 British Home Championship
5 10 September 1968 Jaffa, Israel  Israel 3–2 Friendly match
6 13 October 1968 Belfast, Northern Ireland  Turkey 4–1 1970 FIFA World Cup qualification
7 3 February 1971 Nicosia, Cyprus  Cyprus 3–0 UEFA Euro 1972 qualifying
8 21 April 1971 Belfast, Northern Ireland  Cyprus 5–0 UEFA Euro 1972 qualifying

Off-field life[edit]

During the 1970 FIFA World Cup, Dougan worked for ITV on its studio panel, along with Malcolm Allison, Pat Crerand and Bob McNab.[5] The format and its strong personalities were a great success and ITV achieved higher ratings than the BBC.[5] Dougan and Allison also worked for ITV in its coverage of the 1974 FIFA World Cup, with Brian Clough and Jack Charlton replacing Crerand and McNab.[5]

He served as chairman of the Professional Footballers' Association[4] from 1970 to 1978 and was instrumental in the establishment of players' rights and free agency. Dougan believed passionately that players should control their own destiny and used his position as Chairman of the PFA to further players' rights. Many of football's modern elite have benefitted from Dougan's passionate perseverance of this issue and this may well be reflected upon as his lasting, albeit controversial, legacy.

He wrote several books, including the autobiographical The Sash He Never Wore[4] (Allison & Busby, 1972) and the novel The Footballer (Allison & Busby, 1974).[6] Dougan also wrote column pieces for newspapers.[4]

In August 1982 he became chief executive and later chairman of Wolves, as part of a consortium that saved the club from liquidation, a position he retained until 1985. He stood as an independent candidate for the East Belfast constituency in the 1997 UK general election, but got only 1.4% of the vote. In December 2005, he and a number of other Northern Ireland teammates carried the coffin of George Best.[4] On 14 June 2006, he appeared on the BBC political show Question Time, as a representative of the United Kingdom Independence Party.


On 24 June 2007, Dougan died at age 69 from a heart attack at his home in Wolverhampton.[1] His funeral was held on 5 July 2007 at St. Peter's Church, Wolverhampton, and the service was transmitted to a crowd of mourners outside the church with loudspeakers.



Blackburn Rovers


Los Angeles Wolves

Kansas City Spurs


  • Who's Who of Aston Villa (2004): Tony Matthews [2]
  • The Sash He Never Wore (1972): Derek Dougan
  • The Sash He Never Wore ... Twenty Five Years On (1997): Derek Dougan


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k "Wolves legend Dougan dies aged 69". BBC Sport (BBC). 24 June 2007. Retrieved 20 January 2013. 
  2. ^ [1]
  3. ^ O Righallaigh, Ciaran (15 February 2004). "Brazil's return to Dublin's flair city conjures up memories". Scotland on Sunday. Retrieved 29 November 2007. 
  4. ^ a b c d e "Dougan 'was unsung hero of peace'". BBC Sport. BBC. 5 July 2007. Retrieved 20 January 2013. 
  5. ^ a b c Buckley, Will (8 October 2009). "The forgotten story of ... the sports broadcasting revolution (and Idwal Robling)". The Guardian. Retrieved 20 January 2013. 
  6. ^ Glanville, Brian (25 June 2007). "Derek Dougan". The Guardian (London). 

External links[edit]