Lou Macari

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Lou Macari
Personal information
Full name Luigi Macari[1]
Date of birth (1949-06-07) 7 June 1949 (age 73)[2]
Place of birth Edinburgh, Scotland
Position(s) Midfielder
Youth career
1964–1965 Kilmarnock Amateurs
1965–1966 St Michael's Kilwinning
1966–1968 Celtic
Senior career*
Years Team Apps (Gls)
1966–1973 Celtic 58 (26)
1973–1984 Manchester United 329 (78)
1984–1986 Swindon Town 36 (3)
Total 423 (107)
International career
1972 Scotland U23 2 (0)
1972–1978 Scotland 24 (5)
Managerial career
1984–1989 Swindon Town
1989–1990 West Ham United
1991 Birmingham City
1991–1993 Stoke City
1993–1994 Celtic
1994–1997 Stoke City
2000–2002 Huddersfield Town
*Club domestic league appearances and goals

Luigi Macari (born 7 June 1949) is a Scottish former footballer and manager. He began his playing career at Celtic where he was one of the Quality Street Gang, the outstanding reserve team that emerged in the late 1960s that also included Kenny Dalglish and Danny McGrain. He is best known for his time at Manchester United, where he played over 400 games. He helped them win promotion back to the First Division and then played in their FA Cup win of 1977. He then finished his playing career at Swindon Town.

Macari was the manager of Swindon, West Ham United, Birmingham City, Stoke City (two spells), Celtic and Huddersfield Town.[3][4]

Playing career[edit]


Lou Macari was the only child of Margaret and Albert; he was born in Edinburgh, and spent the first year of his life with his family in the village of Newtongrange, before the family moved to London.[5] His father was in the catering industry, and had represented the British Army at football.[6] The family moved to Largs in North Ayrshire when Macari was aged nine.[7] He was spotted playing for Ayrshire county by Celtic, and signed schoolboy forms for the club at the age of 16.[8] He turned professional at the club in 1968, on wages of £15 a week.[9]

Macari quickly became part of the renowned reserve side known as the Quality Street Gang that also included Kenny Dalglish, Danny McGrain and David Hay.[10] In August 1968, Celtic Reserves needed to defeat Partick Thistle Reserves by at least seven goals to win their Reserve League Cup section over Rangers Reserves. Celtic won 12–0, with Macari scoring four goals.[10] Macari scored 91 goals in two seasons for the reserves and in occasional first team games,[10] having broken through into the Celtic first team in 1970.[8] In 1971, he replaced Willie Wallace in the starting line up for the replay of the 1971 Scottish Cup Final, and scored for Celtic in a 2–1 win over Rangers.[11]

Manchester United[edit]

After a promising start to his playing career with Celtic, he moved south of the border in 1973 for £200,000 to sign for Manchester United, where he spent the bulk of his playing career. During his time with Celtic he had scored 57 goals in 100 appearances since making his first team debut in 1970. He won three League titles and two Scottish Cups in his time at Celtic.[12]

His first game for Manchester United came in January 1973 against West Ham United in which he scored a point-saving goal in a 2–2 draw. In 1977, his deflected shot off teammate Jimmy Greenhoff won Manchester United the FA Cup final against Liverpool (and ultimately denied Liverpool the European treble). He made 400 appearances for the club, scoring 98 goals.

Macari's early career at Old Trafford was spent trying to lead an attack that struggled to achieve anything. Relegation to the Second division in 1974 was the low point but Macari blossomed as a midfielder in the following seasons under Tommy Docherty, as United began to win back a large following with attacking football in which Macari enjoyed popularity alongside players such as Gordon Hill, Steve Coppell and the Greenhoff brothers.

Macari helped United win the Second Division title in 1975. They finished third on their return to the top flight and were runners-up in the FA Cup before going one better and lifting the trophy a year later.[8] He was on the losing side in the 1979 final against Arsenal,[8] and also played in a string of European campaigns during the late 1970s and early 1980s.


Macari won two Scotland Under 23 caps in early 1972,[13] before making his debut for the full Scottish national team in May 1972 against Wales.[14] He was a member of the Scotland squad for the 1978 World Cup tournament in Argentina. However, he attracted widespread criticism when it emerged that he had led complaints that the £20,000 bonuses the players would receive if they won the World Cup were too low, then made extra money by selling stories to the press[15] about the disarray and tensions within the Scottish camp. As it turned out, the Scotland team lost their first match to Peru, and drew with Iran. They beat the Netherlands 3–2 but this was insufficient to proceed in the tournament and the Scotland squad returned home without qualifying for the knock-out stage. Macari and his team-mates did not receive the bonuses which were the subject of contention. He won a total of 24 senior caps, scoring five international goals.[16]

Management career[edit]

After leaving Manchester United in 1984, he managed Swindon Town, West Ham United, Stoke City (twice), Celtic, Birmingham City and Huddersfield Town. As a manager Macari insisted upon a strict fitness regime, which included extra sessions in the players' free time and the banning of alcohol in and around the club.[17]

When I took my first management job at Swindon in the old Fourth Division, one of the things I had to adjust to was the fact I was working with players with lesser ability than at Old Trafford. There was a danger of demanding they play like top-flight footballers and then become frustrated with them when they couldn't. But I didn't see any reason why the players at Swindon couldn't be as fit as the players at Manchester United. That was something we worked really hard on, the players accepted it, and we reaped the rewards with promotion in my second season."

— Macari recalls his Swindon days.[18]

Swindon Town[edit]

His successes in management came with two promotions at Swindon Town (Fourth Division champions in 1986 and Third Division play-off winners in 1987). Harry Gregg, Swindon's assistant manager, did not like the style of play implemented by Macari. The divide between Macari and Gregg became more noticeable, so the board chaired by Maurice Earle sacked both of them on Good Friday, 5 April 1985. Macari was then reinstated as manager on 10 April 1985 after a fan-led protest,[19] Swindon then went unbeaten for their next six games, winning, four, and Macari won the Manager of the Month award.[19] The following season, 1985–86 saw Macari collect four Manager of the Month awards as he led Swindon to the Division 4 title with a record-breaking 102-point tally.[19] A second consecutive promotion was achieved in 1987 with a play-off final victory over Gillingham at Selhurst Park.[19] In 1989, Macari was fined £1,000 by the Football Association after he bet on Swindon to lose an FA Cup tie against Newcastle United.[19] In 1992, he was tried and acquitted for tax fraud which took place while he was Swindon's manager; the club's then chairman was found guilty.[20]

West Ham United[edit]

His achievements at Swindon earned Macari a move to West Ham United in 1989–90, becoming the first manager there never to have worked for the club in a previous capacity.[21] Macari was given the job on 3 July 1989.[22] He had a reputation for discipline and tried to change the training and dietary habits of the players.[23] This met with some disapproval within the playing ranks.[23] Macari bought in new recruits in future regular players, Luděk Mikloško,[24] Trevor Morley,[25] Martin Allen,[26] and Ian Bishop.[25] His team struggled to make much headway towards promotion and by the end of 1989 were in tenth place in The Second Division. They were also knocked out of the FA Cup by Torquay United on 6 January 1990 in the Third Round. Shortly after this it emerged that Macari was being investigated for betting irregularities whilst at his former club, Swindon Town.[19] He left on 18 February 1990.[21][22]

Birmingham City[edit]

Macari was appointed as manager at Birmingham City in February 1991. He guided the Blues to a 3–2 victory over Tranmere Rovers in the 1991 Football League Trophy Final.[27]

Stoke City[edit]

On 18 June 1991 Macari was appointed manager at Stoke City. Stoke at the time had just finished in their lowest league position and Macari had the task to turn around the fortunes of the club. He brought in Steve Foley (£50,000 from Swindon Town), Vince Overson (£55,000 from Birmingham City), Ronnie Sinclair (£25,000 from Bristol City) and forward Mark Stein from Oxford United for what turned out to be a bargain £100,000.[3]

Stoke in 1991–92 were in the hunt for automatic promotion all season eventually having to settle for a play-off place where they came up against Stockport County.[3] The first leg at Edgeley Park saw County win 1–0 thanks to a free-kick from Lee Todd after Carl Beeston had been sent-off and in the second leg Stoke went behind in the first minute and despite Stein pulling one back Stoke went out 2–1 on aggregate.[3] Just days after losing to Stockport in the play-offs, they met again in the 1992 Football League Trophy Final where Stoke won 1–0.[27] The 1992–93 season saw Stoke win the Second Division title after amassing 93 points and also went on a club record unbeaten run of 25 games.[28]


In October 1993, Macari left Stoke City and returned to Scotland to manage Celtic.[3] Despite defeating Rangers 2–1 at Ibrox in his first match, his time at Celtic Park was unsuccessful.[29][30] Macari made several moves in the transfer market – none of them particularly successful. Gerry Creaney, one of the few consistent goalscorers at Celtic at that time, was played out of position on the right-wing for several weeks before being sold to Portsmouth for £600,000. Striker Willie Falconer was signed from Sheffield United, right-back Lee Martin and goalkeeper Carl Muggleton came north from England, and in what is considered one of Macari's poorest moves, Andy Payton moved to Barnsley in a part-exchange deal for journeyman striker Wayne Biggins. A miserable 4–2 defeat by Rangers in the New Year fixture at Parkhead left Celtic languishing in the league. An early Scottish Cup exit in January 1994 at Motherwell sealed another dismal season for Celtic.[31] Fergus McCann took over as owner of Celtic in March 1994 and duly sacked Macari three months later.[29]

Return to Stoke City[edit]

Macari returned to Stoke in September 1994. Stoke finished in a mid-table position of 11th in 1994–95 before the partnership of Mike Sheron and Simon Sturridge in 1995–96 produced 29 goals and earned Stoke a place in the play-offs.[4] Stoke's opponents in the play-offs were Martin O'Neill's Leicester City whom Stoke had already beaten twice in the league.[4] The first leg at Filbert Street ended 0–0.[4] In the second leg, Stoke produced a poor performance and Leicester scored the only goal, Garry Parker's left-foot volley ended Stoke's hopes of promotion.[4] The 1996–97 campaign saw Stoke play their final season at the Victoria Ground which ended with a mid-table finish of 12th. Macari announced he was leaving at the end of the season which was a surprise but he was 'stripped of his duties' before he left and later launched a lawsuit against Peter Coates for wrongful dismissal.[4]

Huddersfield Town[edit]

Macari returned to management in 2000 with Huddersfield Town who were in relegation trouble after a poor start to the season. He could not prevent them from being relegated from Division One at the end of the 2000–01 campaign. Macari managed to steady the ship in 2001–02 and lead the club into the Second Division play-offs as the Terriers looked to bounce straight back up. However they were defeated by Brentford in the semi finals. Macari's contract was not renewed for the next season with Huddersfield's board stating his defensive style of football as the reason. This was to be Macari's last managerial role and despite being linked with various positions since has not ventured back into management.


Macari currently lives in Stoke-on-Trent and works as a pundit for MUTV on several shows. He is a regular guest on Match Day Live before Manchester United home and away games. As well as phone-in shows such as Wednesday Night Phone-in he occasionally does punditry for Sky Sports, and also writes regular comment pieces for the Stoke-on-Trent newspaper The Sentinel. He has given several guest talks at Staffordshire University on the Sports Journalism courses. Macari also owns the "Lou Macari Chip Shop" on Chester Road, near Old Trafford. He wrote his autobiography in October 2009 called Football, My Life.

Macari was portrayed by Scottish actor Tony Curran in the 2014 television film Marvellous, based on the life of former Stoke City kitman Neil Baldwin.[32]

Personal life[edit]

His mother died just before the 1978 World Cup in strange circumstances, overdosing on tablets, her son was to find out. "My mum had been on her own, and in the conversation I'd had with her she said she had some friends up there. Putting the pieces together after she died, I just wasn't convinced that the friends were good friends. Some money had gone missing."[33]

His sons Michael and Paul have played professionally with Stoke, when Macari was manager of the club. His youngest son Jonathan died by suicide in 1999 after being released from his contract at Nottingham Forest.[34] Family friend and former manager Dave Bassett said that Jonathan could not handle the pressure of living up to his father's greatness. There was also talk of drugs affecting his son's life and leading to his suicide,[35] but Macari later discounted that theory, admitting that much like the death of his mother, the complete story behind the tragedy may never be known.[33] Years later he said that "money in a young man's pocket is a recipe for disaster and we had that disaster. Only when you go through something like that do you understand the hell of it."[36]

His grandson Lewis plays for Stoke City.[37]

Macari worked with Stoke-on-Trent council to set up The Macari Centre, a street retreat to house the homeless sleeping rough, which opened in February 2016.[38][39] In the COVID-19 pandemic, following the closure of the crowded premises of The Macari Centre, Macari rented a warehouse and filled it with glamping pods for homeless people, giving them socially distanced places of their own and their own individual addresses.[40]

Career statistics[edit]

As a player[edit]



Appearances and goals by club, season and competition
Club Season League FA Cup League Cup Europe Other[A] Total
Division Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals
Celtic 1967–68 Scottish Division One 0 0 0 0 1 0 0 0 0 0 1 0
1968–69 Scottish Division One 1 1 0 0 3 0 0 0 0 0 4 1
1969–70 Scottish Division One 15 7 2 2 0 0 0 0 2 1 19 10
1970–71 Scottish Division One 11 5 1 1 8 5 1 2 0 0 21 13
1971–72 Scottish Division One 20 10 5 5 6 5 8 4 3 1 42 25
1972–73 Scottish Division One 11 3 0 0 6 4 3 2 3 0 23 9
Total 58 26 8 8 24 14 12 8 8 2 110 58
Manchester United 1972–73 First Division 16 5 0 0 0 0 0 0 3 0 19 5
1973–74 First Division 35 5 2 1 1 0 0 0 0 0 38 6
1974–75 Second Division 38 11 2 0 7 7 0 0 0 0 47 18
1975–76 First Division 36 12 6 1 3 2 0 0 0 0 45 15
1976–77 First Division 38 9 7 3 4 1 4 1 0 0 53 14
1977–78 First Division 32 8 4 3 1 0 2 0 1 0 40 11
1978–79 First Division 32 6 5 0 1 0 0 0 0 0 38 6
1979–80 First Division 39 9 2 0 3 0 0 0 0 0 44 9
1980–81 First Division 38 9 2 0 2 0 1 0 0 0 43 9
1981–82 First Division 11 2 2 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 13 2
1982–83 First Division 9 2 1 0 3 0 1 0 0 0 14 2
1983–84 First Division 5 0 1 0 2 0 2 0 0 0 10 0
Total 329 78 34 8 27 10 10 1 4 0 404 97
Swindon Town 1984–85 Fourth Division 27 3 1 0 1 0 0 0 2 1 31 4
1985–86 Fourth Division 9 0 0 0 3 0 0 0 0 0 12 0
Total 36 3 1 0 4 0 0 0 2 1 43 4
Career total 423 107 43 16 55 24 22 9 14 3 557 159
A. ^ The "Other" column constitutes appearances and goals in the Anglo-Italian Cup, Drybrough Cup, FA Charity Shield, Football League Trophy and Glasgow Cup.


Appearances and goals by national team and year
National team Year Apps Goals
Scotland[42] 1972 6 3
1973 4 0
1975 5 0
1977 6 2
1978 3 0
Total 24 5

As a manager[edit]


Managerial record by team and tenure
Team From To Record
P W D L Win %
Swindon Town 23 July 1984 3 July 1989 285 138 67 80 048.4
West Ham United 3 July 1989 18 February 1990 40 15 12 13 037.5
Birmingham City 7 February 1991 18 June 1991 24 12 6 6 050.0
Stoke City 18 June 1991 26 October 1993 138 69 38 31 050.0
Celtic[43] 27 October 1993 14 June 1994 34 12 14 8 035.3
Stoke City 29 September 1994 1 July 1997 151 55 47 49 036.4
Huddersfield Town 16 October 2000 14 June 2002 93 36 29 28 038.7
Total 765 337 213 215 044.1


As a player[edit]

Manchester United

*Shared with Liverpool

As a manager[edit]

Swindon Town
Birmingham City
Stoke City


  • Macari, Lou; Garside, Kevin (2008), Football, My Life, Bantam, ISBN 978-0-593-06108-4
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  2. ^ Lou Macari at the Scottish Football Association
  3. ^ a b c d e Matthews, Tony (1994). The Encyclopaedia of Stoke City. Lion Press. ISBN 0-9524151-0-0.
  4. ^ a b c d e f Lowe, Simon (2000). Stoke City The Modern Era – A Complete Record. Desert Island Books. ISBN 1-874287-39-2.
  5. ^ Macari 2008, p. 7
  6. ^ Macari 2008, p. 8
  7. ^ Macari 2008, p. 9
  8. ^ a b c d e f Burdett, Daniel. "Lou Macari". Stretford End. Retrieved 12 October 2015.
  9. ^ Macari 2008, p. 15
  10. ^ a b c Burns, Will (20 March 2014). "The Quality Street Gang; The greatest Celtic team that never was". World Football Weekly. Retrieved 12 October 2015.
  11. ^ a b c "The Boy in the Picture – Lou Macari". The Celtic Underground. 14 October 2013. Retrieved 12 October 2015.
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  13. ^ "Macari, Lou". FitbaStats. Retrieved 3 November 2015.
  14. ^ "Macari, Lou". FitbaStats. Retrieved 3 November 2015.
  15. ^ Stephen McGinty (30 December 2008). "How our man in Argentina put boot into Ally's World Cup flops". The Scotsman. Retrieved 24 January 2009.
  16. ^ Lou Macari's Scotland record londonhearts.com
  17. ^ Macaari, Lou (9 June 2009). "Lou Macari: Vale fans must be realistic". The Sentinel. Archived from the original on 12 September 2012. Retrieved 9 June 2009.
  18. ^ Macari, Lou (20 July 2010). "Lou Macari: Teams can't be a success unless they are fit for purpose". The Sentinel. Archived from the original on 13 September 2012. Retrieved 20 July 2010.
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  23. ^ a b Sharratt, Ben; Blows, Kirk (2010). Bring me the head of Trevor Brooking : three decades of East End soap opera at West Ham United. Edinburgh: Mainstream. p. 154. ISBN 978-1845966614.
  24. ^ "Ludo: 'we Must Be Mad!'". whufc.com. 19 March 2015. Archived from the original on 28 January 2015. Retrieved 26 September 2016.
  25. ^ a b "MANCHESTER City yesterday signed West Ham's highly rated midfielder Mark Ward". Herald Scotland. 29 December 1989. Retrieved 26 September 2016.
  26. ^ Banks, Robert (1 September 2010). "Stop! Hammer Time". Sabotage Times. Retrieved 26 September 2016.
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  28. ^ "A Less Than 'Spooktacular' Record". Stoke City FC. 31 October 2012. Retrieved 3 November 2015.
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  30. ^ "Celtic – Managers". Soccerbase. Retrieved 28 August 2015.
  31. ^ Traynor, James (30 January 1994). "Scottish Cup: Coyne spins out Celtic – Sport". The Independent. Retrieved 6 August 2013.
  32. ^ McIver, Brian (16 September 2014). "I loved playing Celtic icon Lou Macari in new film.. it made a change to play a human, says Scots actor Tony Curran". Daily Record. Retrieved 12 October 2015.
  33. ^ a b Deveney, Catherine (10 August 2008). "Only a game: Lou Macari talks about the tragedy that changed his world". Scotland on Sunday. Retrieved 20 July 2010.
  34. ^ "Football manager's son found hanged". BBC News. 29 April 1999. Retrieved 24 January 2009.
  35. ^ Aston, Paul (1 October 1999). "'Real world' too much for Macari's son" (reprint). Birmingham Post. The Free Library (Farlex). Retrieved 1 October 2010.
  36. ^ Buckland, Simon (19 October 2008). "Lou Macari faces his son's suicide". The Times. Retrieved 20 July 2010.
  37. ^ O'Hehir, Paul (27 May 2022). "Lewis Macari is from a famous footballing family but wants to make his own name". Irish Mirror.
  38. ^ Ault, Richard (24 November 2017). "What can YOU do to help the homeless in Stoke-on-Trent?". Stoke Sentinel. Retrieved 20 February 2021.
  39. ^ Dickinson, Matt (24 December 2020). "So how did Lou Macari find a home for 43 people?". The Times. Retrieved 24 December 2020.
  40. ^ Hebditch, Jon (17 February 2021). "Celtic legend Lou Macari sets up street of glamping pods at warehouse to help homeless people". The Daily Record. Retrieved 20 February 2021.
  41. ^ a b Lou Macari at the English National Football Archive (subscription required)
  42. ^ "Macari, Lou". National Football Teams. Retrieved 3 November 2015.
  43. ^ "Manager details – Macari, Lou". FitbaStats. Retrieved 3 November 2015.
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  45. ^ "Saturday 13th August 1977 – Charity Shield". MUFC Info. Retrieved 30 October 2015.
  46. ^ "1983 Charity Shield line-up". MUFC Info. Retrieved 31 October 2015.
  47. ^ "League Managers Association – Manager of the Month". League Managers Association. Retrieved 6 July 2009.
  48. ^ a b c d e Macari 2008, p. 352