John Duncan (footballer)

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John Duncan
Personal information
Full name John Pearson Duncan[1]
Date of birth (1949-02-22) 22 February 1949 (age 68)
Place of birth Dundee, Scotland
Playing position Forward
Youth career
Broughty Athletic
Senior career*
Years Team Apps (Gls)
1968–1975 Dundee 121 (64)
1975–1979 Tottenham Hotspur 103 (53)
1979–1981 Derby County 36 (12)
1981–1983 Scunthorpe United 9 (0)
Total 269 (129)
National team
1973 Scottish League XI[2] 1 (2)
Teams managed
1981–1983 Scunthorpe United
1983 Hartlepool United
1983–1987 Chesterfield
1987–1990 Ipswich Town
1993–2000 Chesterfield
2007–2011 Loughborough University
* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only.

John Pearson Duncan (born 22 February 1949 in Dundee) is a Scottish former football player and manager.

Playing career[edit]

He played as a centre-forward for Dundee, Tottenham Hotspur, Derby County, Scunthorpe United and the Scottish Football League.

Management career[edit]

Duncan's first managerial job was at Scunthorpe United. His first season in charge proved to be one to forget, as they finished second-bottom of the Fourth Division and were forced to apply for re-election to the Football League. The following season was a vast improvement however, and Scunthorpe spent much of the season challenging for the Fourth Division title. However, Duncan was controversially sacked in February 1983 after it was alleged that he had spoken to Second Division side Grimsby Town about their manager's job. Scunthorpe eventually achieved promotion that season under succeeding manager Allan Clarke.

Six weeks after being sacked by Scunthorpe, Duncan was invited to become interim manager of Hartlepool United, who were bottom of the Fourth Division. In his two months in charge the club earned enough points to escape bottom place, but their eventual finish of 22nd place wasn't enough to prevent Duncan spending a second successive year watching his club apply for re-election. That summer, Duncan was offered the chance to become the club's permanent manager, but turned it down in favour of the manager's job at Chesterfield, who had just been relegated from the Third Division.

Duncan's first season in charge of the club resulted in only a mid-table finish, but in 1985 he steered the club to the Fourth Division title. The club managed to stay in the Third Division for the next two seasons, even looking like they might challenge for promotion to the Second Division in the early stages of the 1985–86 season. Duncan's achievements with the club were noticed by Ipswich Town, who appointed him as manager in the summer of 1987 following the departure of Bobby Ferguson.

In his first season in charge, Ipswich managed a decent finish but never seriously challenged for promotion. The following season saw an improvement, and they missed out on the play-offs by just three points. Duncan's third season in charge of Ipswich started badly however, and even some good results near the end of the season weren't enough to make any sort of promotion push, leading to Duncan being sacked on 8 May 1990.

After leaving Ipswich Town, Duncan took up a career in schoolteaching in Suffolk before returning to Chesterfield in February 1993, where he achieved Division Three playoff glory in 1995 and reached the F.A Cup semi finals in 1997 losing to Middlesbrough in the replay. This was achieved with impressive victories away to Bolton, and victories at home to Wrexham and (then) Premier League Nottingham Forest before the infamous semi-final tie with Middlesbrough at Old Trafford which ended in a 3–3 draw. Chesterfield even had a contentious goal that was not given by Referee David Elleray; Jonathan Howard took a shot which hit the underside of the crossbar and appeared to cross the line and yet the goal was never given. Had it been awarded as a goal it would have put Chesterfield 3-1 up against 10 man Middlesbrough (after the earlier dismissal of Vladimír Kinder) with just over 20 minutes remaining. As it was, Middlesbrough equalised to make it 2-2 after 90 minutes, and it finished 3-3 after extra time. Jamie Hewitt's last minute equaliser in extra time resulted in Duncan celebrating so wildly he lost his glasses. Chesterfield were defeated in the replay 3–0 at Hillsborough. He was sacked in October 2000 after their relegation back to Division Three.[3] In 2002, he was given a testimonial against Manchester United in his honour.

He spent four seasons managing Loughborough University F.C. from 2007, winning the Midland Combination League Cup in 2008 and the League title and promotion to the Midland Football Alliance in 2009.[4]


  1. ^ "John Duncan". Barry Hugman's Footballers. Retrieved 19 March 2017. 
  2. ^ "John Duncan". London Hearts Supporters' Club. Retrieved 18 December 2011. 
  3. ^ Chesferfield FC Official Web-site, 22 Jun 2008 Archived 4 October 2011 at the Wayback Machine.. Retrieved 23 April 2009.
  4. ^ Loughborough University Football Club website, Staff page Archived 4 November 2011 at the Wayback Machine.

External links[edit]