Don Givens

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Don Givens
Personal information
Full name Daniel Joseph Givens
Date of birth (1949-08-09) 9 August 1949 (age 71)
Place of birth Limerick, Republic of Ireland
Height 5 ft 11 in (1.80 m)
Playing position(s) Forward
Youth career
1966–1969 Manchester United
Senior career*
Years Team Apps (Gls)
1969–1970 Manchester United 8 (1)
1970–1972 Luton Town 83 (19)
1972–1978 Queens Park Rangers 242 (76)
1978–1981 Birmingham City 59 (10)
1979–1980AFC Bournemouth (loan) 5 (4)
1980–1981 Sheffield United 11 (3)
1981–1987 Neuchâtel Xamax 149 (34)
Total 457 (147)
National team
1969–1981 Republic of Ireland 56 (19)
Teams managed
1993–1997 Neuchâtel Xamax (youth coach/coach)
1997–2000 Arsenal (youth coach)
2000–2010 Republic of Ireland U21
2002 Republic of Ireland (caretaker)
2007–2008 Republic of Ireland (caretaker)
* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only

Daniel Joseph "Don" Givens (born 9 August 1949) is an Irish former footballer and coach. A forward, Givens played club football for Manchester United, Luton Town, Queens Park Rangers, Birmingham City, AFC Bournemouth, Sheffield United and Neuchâtel Xamax, and was capped 56 times for the Republic of Ireland. His 19 senior international goals was a national record for several years. He went on to coach at Xamax and Arsenal, and spent ten years as manager of the Republic of Ireland U21 team.[1][2][3]

Club career[edit]

Playing as a centre forward, Givens started his career at Manchester United in 1968. He made his scoring debut against Shamrock Rovers in May 1969 but he played just 8 more games before moving to Luton Town. He then transferred to Queens Park Rangers in 1972. He helped the club win promotion to the old First Division in his first season, scoring a sum of 23 times. The next few years would see him reach his peak, scoring a combined 49 goals in four seasons and helping QPR not just hold onto their top-flight status but contend for the league title. After an unsuccessful season in 1977–78, scoring just four goals in 37 appearances, he parted ways with QPR. He made a total of 243 appearances and scored 76 goals for the Hoops. Given went on to transfer to Birmingham City in the summer of 1978. At Birmingham he helped see the club be promoted to the First Division in the 1979–80 season. While there he also had a month long loan spell in March 1980 at Bournemouth. Givens moved on to Sheffield United a year later. His time at Sheffield will forever be remembered for the time he missed a last minute penalty in the last match of the 1980–81 season against Walsall at Bramall Lane in the old third division. If he had scored, The Saddlers would have been relegated, instead it was Sheffield United who were consigned to the 4th division for the first time in their history.[4][5][6][7][3][8]

In 1981, escaping the negativity of his time at Sheffield United, Givens moved to Switzerland to play for Neuchâtel Xamax. In the 1981–82 UEFA Cup Givens scored at Hamburger SV in a quarter final tie.[9] He had the honour of leading Neuchâtel to their first Swiss National League A championship in the 1986–87 season. He make 144 appearances in all for Xamax, scoring 34 goals. Givens brought an end to his playing days soon afterwards.[3][10][11]

International career[edit]

Givens time in an Ireland shirt began during the ill-fated 1970 World Cup qualifying campaign, when an Irish team with great names including Givens, Mick Meagan and John Giles, could not find enough consistency to make an impact, and finished last in a group containing Czechoslovakia, Hungary and Denmark. Givens did open his competitive scoring account for Ireland with goals against Hungary and Denmark.

In the following 1972 European Championship and subsequent 1974 World Cup, Ireland faced tough opposition and never found themselves in with a chance of qualification. Givens did not score in either of these tournaments.

The 1976 European Championship qualifiers pitted Ireland against the Soviet Union again, along with Turkey and Switzerland. The winner of this group would have to play-off against the winner of another group to determine the qualifier. This may have seemed a bridge too far but it would prove to be Givens finest moment in a green shirt as he scored a hat-trick against the USSR to give Ireland a 3–0 win in the opening game and a fighting chance of making that play-off. He scored again in a 1–1 draw against Turkey in Izmir. Ireland had peaked too early in the group though, and after a 2–1 loss to the Soviet Union in Kiev and a 1–0 defeat at the hands of Switzerland in Berne, Ireland last match against Turkey was not expected to mean anything, since the Soviets were already a point ahead with a game in hand. Even a win meant that the Soviet Union would need only two points in their final two games to finish on top. Ireland won the game 4–0, with Givens scoring all four goals, the first and only time an Irish player has done this. But it was not enough and the Soviet Union went on to top the group.[12]

In the 1978 World Cup qualifiers, Ireland was paired with France again, and Bulgaria. Ireland beat France 1–0 in their new home stadium, Lansdowne Road, but lost 2–0 in Paris. Givens scored in Sofia, but it was a consolation as Ireland lost 2–1 and subsequently went out of the World Cup places with a 0–0 draw in the final game against Bulgaria at Lansdowne Road.[13]

For the 1980 European Championships, Ireland was drawn in a Group alongside England, Northern Ireland, Bulgaria and Denmark. It was a disappointing campaign for Givens, who, despite scoring against Denmark, was unable to make an impact in a group where Ireland would manage just two wins from eight games.[14]

By the 1982 World Cup, Ireland had acquired a world class team, with Liam Brady, Frank Stapleton, Mark Lawrenson, Chris Hughton, Gerry Daly and others, and there was excitement that this team could not only qualify for the World Cup, they could make some waves there. It was therefore devastating to the team to hear their draw: Belgium, France, Holland, Cyprus. Ireland would end up losing out to France on goal difference, but Givens was no longer the main threat, and Givens last appearance for Ireland was in the 3–2 win at home to France.

Altogether Givens made 56 appearances for the senior team between 1969 and 1982, scoring 19 goals, including a record four goal haul against Turkey, and becoming his country's leading goalscorer for a period. He currently ranks as the joint fourth alltime topscorer for the Irish.[15]

Coaching career[edit]

During 1993 Givens took up the role of a coach at Swiss side Xamax. Four years later he joined up with Arsenal to coach at the club's academy. Givens went on to manage the Republic of Ireland U21 team from 2000 until 2010 when he stepped down.[16][1]



Scores and results list Ireland's goal tally first.
Date Venue Opponent Result Competition Goals (time)
27 May 1969 Away Denmark 0–2 World Cup qualifier
8 June 1969 Home Hungary 1–2 World Cup qualifier 1 (60')
21 September 1969 Home Scotland 1–2 Friendly 1 (11')
7 October 1969 Away Czechoslovakia 3–0 World Cup qualifier
15 October 1969 Home Denmark 1–1 World Cup qualifier 1 (10')
5 November 1969 Away Hungary 0–4 World Cup qualifier
6 May 1970 Home Poland 1–2 Friendly 1 (84')
9 May 1970 Away West Germany 1–2 Friendly
14 October 1970 Home Sweden 1–1 European Championship qualifier
8 December 1970 Away Italy 0–3 European Championship qualifier
10 May 1971 Home Italy 1–2 European Championship qualifier
30 May 1971 Home Austria 1–4 European Championship qualifier
11 June 1972 Neutral Iran 1–2 Friendly 1 (67')
18 June 1972 Neutral Ecuador 3–2 Friendly
25 June 1972 Neutral Portugal 1–2 Friendly
15 November 1972 Home France 2–1 World Cup qualifier
13 May 1973 Away Soviet Union 0–1 World Cup qualifier
16 May 1973 Away Poland 0–2 Friendly
19 May 1973 Away France 1–1 World Cup qualifier
6 June 1973 Away Norway 1–1 Friendly
21 October 1973 Home Poland 1–0 Friendly
5 May 1974 Away Brazil 1–2 Friendly
8 May 1974 Away Uruguay 0–2 Friendly
12 May 1974 Away Chile 2–1 Friendly
30 October 1974 Home Soviet Union 3–0 European Championship qualifier 3 (22', 30', 70')
20 November 1974 Away Turkey 1–1 European Championship qualifier 1 (61')
1 March 1975 Home West Germany B 1–0 Friendly
10 May 1975 Home Switzerland 2–1 European Championship qualifier
18 May 1975 Away Soviet Union 1–2 European Championship qualifier
21 May 1975 Away Switzerland 0–1 European Championship qualifier
29 October 1975 Home Turkey 4–0 European Championship qualifier 4 (25', 28', 34', 88')
24 March 1976 Home Norway 3–0 Friendly
26 May 1976 Away Poland 2–0 Friendly 2 (5', 11')
8 September 1976 Away England 1–1 Friendly
13 October 1976 Away Turkey 3–3 Friendly
17 November 1976 Away France 0–2 World Cup qualifier
9 February 1977 Home Spain 0–1 Friendly
30 March 1977 Home France 1–0 World Cup qualifier
1 June 1977 Away Bulgaria 1–2 World Cup qualifier 1 (66')
12 October 1977 Home Bulgaria 0–0 World Cup Qualifier
21 May 1978 Away Norway 0–0 Friendly
24 May 1978 Away Denmark 3–3 European Championship qualifier
20 September 1978 Home Northern Ireland 0–0 European Championship qualifier
25 October 1978 Home England 1–1 European Championship qualifier
2 May 1979 Home Denmark 2–0 European Championship qualifier 1 (66')
19 May 1979 Away Bulgaria 0–1 European Championship qualifier
22 May 1979 Home West Germany 1–3 Friendly
29 October 1979 Home United States 3–2 Friendly 1 (66')
21 November 1979 Away Northern Ireland 0–1 European Championship qualifier
6 February 1980 Away England 0–2 European Championship qualifier
30 April 1980 Home Switzerland 0–2 European Championship qualifier 1 (12')
16 May 1980 Home Argentina 0–1 Friendly
10 September 1980 Home Netherlands 2–1 World Cup qualifier
15 October 1980 Home Belgium 1–1 World Cup qualifier
19 November 1980 Home Cyprus 6–0 World Cup qualifier
24 February 1981 Home Wales 1–3 Friendly
14 October 1981 Home France 3–2 World Cup qualifier


Neuchâtel Xamax[11]


  1. ^ a b "Givens appointed team coach at Arsenal". Irish Times. 3 June 1997. Retrieved 4 June 2018.
  2. ^ Mamrud, Roberto (12 April 2018). "Ireland – Record International Players". Rec.Sport.Soccer Statistics Foundation. Retrieved 4 June 2018.
  3. ^ a b c "Don Givens". Barry Hugman's Footballers.
  4. ^ "Givens takes the safer route".
  5. ^ "From The Boardroom". Luton
  6. ^ "A Moment In Time – When QPR Almost Won The League". Soccer
  8. ^ "The Don Givens Interview". QPR
  9. ^ "Hamburg 3–2 Xamax".
  10. ^ "HISTORIQUE • PALMARÈS". (in French).
  11. ^ a b "Le grand retour de Don Givens à Neuchâtel". Sport
  12. ^ "FAI History Chapter 16 – Don Givens' golden goals".
  13. ^ "FAI History Chapter 17 – World Cup 1978".
  14. ^ "FAI History Chapter 18 – European Championship 1980".
  15. ^ "Best Irish Football Players Ever: 30–21". Green
  16. ^ "Don Givens steps down as U-21 manager". RTÉ Sport. 24 March 2010. Archived from the original on 27 March 2010. Retrieved 24 March 2010.


  • The Book of Irish Goalscorers by Seán Ryan & Stephen Burke 1987

External links[edit]