Noel Cantwell

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Noel Cantwell
Noel Cantwell.jpg
Personal information
Full name Noel Euchuria Cornelius Cantwell
Date of birth (1932-02-28)28 February 1932
Place of birth Cork, County Cork, Ireland
Date of death 8 September 2005(2005-09-08) (aged 73)
Playing position Full-back
Senior career*
Years Team Apps (Gls)
1949–1950 Western Rovers
1950–1952 Cork Athletic ? (1)
1952–1960 West Ham United 248 (11)
1960–1967 Manchester United 123 (6)
National team
1953–1967 Republic of Ireland 36 (14)
Teams managed
1967–1972 Coventry City
1972 New England Tea Men
1972–1977 Peterborough United
1977–1978 New England Tea Men
1980–1982 Jacksonville Tea Men
1986–1988 Peterborough United
* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only

Noel Euchuria Cornelius Cantwell (28 February 1932 – 8 September 2005) was an Irish soccer player and sometime cricketer born in Cork, County Cork, Ireland. He was educated at the Roman Catholic Presentation Brothers College in Cork.

Club career[edit]

Cantwell played as a full-back for Western Rovers, Cork Athletic, West Ham United and Manchester United.

While at West Ham, he featured in the London XI side that competed in the 1955–58 Inter-Cities Fairs Cup final on 1 May 1958. He captained the Hammers to winning the Division Two championship in the 1957–58 season and thereby leading the club into the top flight for the first time since 1932.

In November 1960, Cantwell joined Manchester United for £29,500 which at the time was a record for a full back.[1] He helped the club win the 1965 and 1967 league titles and captained United when winning the 1963 FA Cup Final – just as his fellow countryman Johnny Carey had done in United's previous FA Cup win 15 years earlier.[2]

He also served as Chairman of the Professional Footballers' Association.

International career[edit]

He won 36 full International caps for the Republic of Ireland (typically playing at left full back and on several occasions at centre forward). He made his debut against Luxembourg in October 1953; his final appearance coming away to Turkey in February 1967.[3] He scored 14 goals including 5 from penalties and also captained the Republic on several occasions including a match against England at Wembley.[4]

International goals[edit]

Scores and results list the Republic of Ireland's goal tally first.[5]
# Date Venue Opponent Score Result Competition
1. 25 November 1956 Dalymount Park, Dublin, Republic of Ireland  West Germany
2. 15 October 1958 Dalymount Park, Dublin, Republic of Ireland  Poland
4. 5 April 1959 Dalymount Park, Dublin, Republic of Ireland  Czechoslovakia
European Nations' Cup qualifying
5. 30 March 1960 Dalymount Park, Dublin, Republic of Ireland  Chile
6. 8 April 1962 Dalymount Park, Dublin, Republic of Ireland  Austria
7. 12 August 1962 Dalymount Park, Dublin, Republic of Ireland  Iceland
European Nations' Cup qualifying
9. 9 June 1963 Dalymount Park, Dublin, Republic of Ireland  Scotland
10. 13 October 1963 Dalymount Park, Dublin, Republic of Ireland  Austria
European Nations' Cup qualifying
12. 25 May 1966 Stade Maurice Dufrasne, Liège, Belgium  Belgium
14. 22 February 1967 19 Mayıs Stadium, Ankara, Turkey  Turkey
European Championship qualifying

Management career[edit]

In his first managerial role at Coventry City he had the onerous task of following Jimmy Hill who had taken the club into the First Division for the first time in their history. Cantwell narrowly kept the Sky Blues in the top in his first two seasons before taking them to a sixth-place finish in 1969–70, earning them qualification for the Inter-Cities Fairs Cup (a year before it was replaced by the UEFA Cup).

He departed from Highfield Road on 12 March 1972 to take charge of the New England Tea Men in the United States of America, but within seven months was back in English football as manager of Peterborough United.

He helped Peterborough win the Fourth Division title in his first full season as manager, before leaving on 10 May 1977 for a second spell with the Tea Men. This time he spent a year in the States.

He returned to Peterborough on 19 November 1986 for a second spell as manager, remaining in this role until he became general manager on 12 July 1988. He was general manager at London Road for a year until he quit football to become licensee of the New Inn at Peterborough, where he remained for 10 years until he retired in 1999. He also was landlord of the Bull and Swan in Stamford, Lincolnshire.

Cricket career[edit]

He also played cricket for Cork Bohemians Cricket Club and Ireland as a left-handed batsman and a right-arm medium bowler. He played five times for Ireland[6] making his debut in what was his sole first-class match[7] versus Scotland at Edinburgh in 1956, scoring 31 and 17.[8] His last match for Ireland was against Lancashire in July 1959.[6]


Cantwell died on 8 September 2005 from cancer aged 73.[9] He left a widow Maggie and two children.[10]

His former teams each held a minute's silence for him before their next matches.[11][12][13]


  1. ^ "Obituary:Noel Cantwell". 26 November 1960. Retrieved 2010-04-28.
  2. ^ "Irish Footballers : Manchester United : players from Republic of Ireland & Northern Ireland : Played for Man Utd". Retrieved 2011-06-24.
  3. ^ "Noel Cantwell dies aged 73". RTÉ.ie. 8 September 2005. Retrieved 2010-04-28.
  4. ^ "Noel Cantwell". 5 June 2009. Retrieved 2010-04-28.
  5. ^ "Noel Cantwell". European Football. Retrieved 15 June 2018.
  6. ^ a b "Noel Euchuria Cornelious Cantwell". Retrieved 2010-04-28.
  7. ^ "The Home of CricketArchive". 30 June 1956. Retrieved 2010-04-28.
  8. ^ "The Home of CricketArchive". 3 July 1956. Retrieved 2010-04-28.
  9. ^ "BBC Sport | Football | Cantwell dies after cancer battle". BBC News. 8 September 2005. Retrieved 2011-06-24.
  10. ^ "Noel Cantwell". Telegraph. 9 September 2005. Retrieved 2011-06-24.
  11. ^ "Peterborough United | News | Latest News | Latest News | Cantwell Funeral To Take Place at Cathedral". Retrieved 2011-06-24.
  12. ^ "United v City gallery | Stockport Express". 12 September 2005. Retrieved 2011-06-24.
  13. ^ "BBC Sport | Football | Premiership | West Ham 4–0 Aston Villa". BBC News. 12 September 2005. Retrieved 2011-06-24.