John Connaughton

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John Connaughton
Personal information
Full name Patrick John Connaughton[1]
Date of birth (1949-09-23) 23 September 1949 (age 67)[2]
Place of birth Wigan, England[3]
Playing position Goalkeeper
Youth career
1965–1966 Manchester United
Senior career*
Years Team Apps (Gls)
1966–1972 Manchester United 3 (0)
1969 Halifax Town (loan) 2 (0)
1971–1972 Torquay United (loan) 22 (0)
1972–1974 Sheffield United 12 (0)
1974–1980 Port Vale 191 (0)
1980–1982 Altrincham 87 (0)
Total 317 (0)
National team
1967–1968 England Youth 3 (0)
* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only.

Patrick John Connaughton (born 23 September 1949) is an English former professional football goalkeeper. He played 387 games in a sixteen-year career. He also represented England at youth level on three occasions.

He began his career at Manchester United, turning professional in 1966, but made just three first team appearances in April 1972. He also played two games on loan at Halifax Town in 1969, and played 25 games on loan at Torquay United in 1971–72. He joined Sheffield United in October 1972 for a £15,000 fee, but only played twelve games for the club before he transferred to Port Vale in May 1974. He established himself in the first team, and made 218 appearances, picking up the club's Player of the Year award in 1974–75. He joined Altrincham in 1980 for an enormously successful two-year spell, picking up championship medals for the Alliance Premier League in 1979–80 and 1980–81, winners medals in the Conference League Cup and Cheshire Senior Cup, and runners-up medals in the Conference League Cup and FA Trophy.

Playing career[edit]

Manchester United[edit]

Connaughton joined the Manchester United groundstaff in January 1965, signing as an apprentice in May the same year. He turned professional in October 1966, but would have to wait almost six years for his United debut, despite playing three games for England youth in 1967 and 1968.[4] In the meantime he was loaned to Halifax Town in September 1969, and to Torquay United from October 1971 to April 1972, both in the Third Division. He played two games for Halifax and 25 games for Torquay.

His Manchester United debut finally came on 4 April 1972 in a First Division game against Sheffield United at Bramall Lane, a 1–1 draw. He played two further games that month, in defeats to Leicester City and Manchester City; the defeat in the Manchester derby came at Old Trafford.[2]

Sheffield United[edit]

He returned to Bramall Lane in October 1972, but this time as a Sheffield United player, costing the "Blades" £15,000. He did not appear in 1972–73, and played only twelve First Division games in 1973–74.

Port Vale[edit]

Connaughton moved on to Third Division side Port Vale in May 1974, where he replaced Alan Boswell. He played 47 games in 1974–75, leaving deputy Reg Edwards to play just twice. For his consistency he was voted Player of the Year by the club's supporters.[5] He missed just one game in 1975–76, with Manchester United loanee David Ryan covering him for a 2–1 defeat at Swindon Town on 17 January.

He then faced stiff competition from a young Trevor Dance, but still managed to play 44 games in 1976–77. Connaughton missed eight games in 1977–78 due to a knee injury, but remained Vale's first team keeper as the club suffered relegation into the Fourth Division. He again suffered with injuries at the start of the 1978–79 season, however he lost his No. 1 jersey to Dance in January 1979, and played just 22 games in 1978–79. He spent much of the 1979–80 season on the bench, and played just nine games. He made 218 total appearances for the "Valiants".[6]

Altrincham[edit]

He joined Altrincham in time to play fifteen league games of the club's Alliance Premier League championship winning 1979–80 season.[4] He also played in the Conference League Cup final defeat to Northwich Victoria.[4] He was an ever-present in 1980–81, as "Alty" retained their league title, and also beat Kettering Town in the Conference League Cup final.[4] He also played in the club's 4–1 defeat to Liverpool at Anfield in the FA Cup Third Round.[4]

"Alty" dropped to eleventh place in 1981–82, though won one last success in the form of the Cheshire Senior Cup final, following a 1–0 win over Runcorn.[4] He also helped the club to the final of the FA Trophy, where they lost 1–0 to Enfield at Wembley Stadium.[4] He also helped the club to another FA Cup run, in which they beat former club Sheffield United and then York City, before being knocked out by Burnley.[4] He retired at the end of the season at the age of 32, due to business commitments; he played a total of 127 games for Altrincham, winning 47 clean sheets.[4]

Style of play[edit]

Altrincham F.C. historian Terry Rowley described Connaughton as an "unfussy, dominant and quietly competent keeper".[4]

Statistics[edit]

  • Sourced from John Connaughton profile at the English National Football Archive (subscription required)
Club Season Division League FA Cup League Cup Other[7] Total
Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals
Halifax Town (loan) 1969–70 Third Division 2 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 2 0
Torquay United (loan) 1971–72 Third Division 22 0 3 0 0 0 0 0 25 0
Manchester United 1966–67 First Division 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
1967–68 First Division 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
1968–69 First Division 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
1969–70 First Division 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
1970–71 First Division 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
1971–72 First Division 3 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 3 0
1972–73 First Division 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
Total 27 0 3 0 0 0 0 0 30 0
Sheffield United 1972–73 First Division 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
1973–74 First Division 12 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 12 0
Total 12 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 12 0
Port Vale 1974–75 Third Division 44 0 2 0 1 0 0 0 47 0
1975–76 Third Division 45 0 3 0 3 0 0 0 51 0
1976–77 Third Division 38 0 4 0 2 0 0 0 44 0
1977–78 Third Division 38 0 4 0 3 0 0 0 45 0
1978–79 Fourth Division 19 0 1 0 2 0 0 0 22 0
1979–80 Fourth Division 7 0 0 0 2 0 0 0 9 0
Total 191 0 14 0 13 0 0 0 218 0
Altrincham 1979–80 Alliance Premier League 15 0 0 0 2 0 1 0 18 0
1980–81 Alliance Premier League 38 0 4 0 7 0 5 0 54 0
1981–82 Alliance Premier League 34 0 5 0 5 0 11 0 55 0
Total 87 0 9 0 14 0 17 0 127 0
Career total 317 0 26 0 27 0 17 0 387 0

Honours[edit]

Individual
with Altrincham

References[edit]

  1. ^ "John Connaughton". Barry Hugman's Footballers. Retrieved 9 March 2017. 
  2. ^ a b "John Patrick Connaughton". aboutmanutd.com. Retrieved 19 October 2011. 
  3. ^ Stats at Neil Brown site
  4. ^ a b c d e f g h i j Rowley, Terry. "Altrincham Football Club Legends Section Twenty Profiles 55–57.". altrinchamfc.co.uk. Retrieved 19 October 2011. 
  5. ^ a b Kent, Jeff (1990). The Valiants' Years: The Story Of Port Vale. Witan Books. p. 305. ISBN 0-9508981-4-7. 
  6. ^ Kent, Jeff (1996). Port Vale Personalities. Witan Books. p. 64. ISBN 0-9529152-0-0. 
  7. ^ Includes other competitive competitions, including the FA Trophy & Cheshire Senior Cup.