OCT 01] THE JIM BROWN COLUMN
City's Managers :
1984 - APRIL 1986]
Don Mackay was a little known
coach who was thrust into the manager’s chair when Bobby
Gould was sacked at Christmas 1984.
kept City up against all the odds in his first season but
resigned near the end of the following season with the club once
again hurtling down the relegation shute.
Born in the Partick area of
Glasgow on 19 March 1940 he had an undistinguished playing
career as a goalkeeper with Forfar Athletic, Dundee United and
His coaching career started at
Bristol City in the mid 1970s, where he befriended Bobby Gould,
before he was appointed manager at Dundee. In his first season
at Dens Park Mackay won promotion to the Premier League and
inspired an exciting League Cup run which only ended in defeat
in the final against their Tayside rivals, United.
Mackay stayed at Dundee until
1983 before taking up a position with Danish club Norlesundby
for a short period. Then in September 1984 his old friend Gould
tempted him back to England as his assistant at Coventry.
Within three months of Mackay
joining the Sky Blues Gould was sacked after a run of miserable
results and Mackay was given the job on a caretaker basis.
The club were 21st in the table
and Mackay had little to lose taking the job. He recruited his
old number 2 from Dundee, Frank Upton, and slowly pulled the Sky
Blues to safety.
Wins at Old Trafford and St James’
Park were major achievements and a good home record boosted the
points total. Having recently splashed out a big fee for Cyrille
Regis there was no money available for wholesale changes but
he made subtle changes and was blessed with a bit more luck than
With three games left City still
had a mountain to climb to avoid the drop. Mackay inspired the
team to win their final three games and stay up, culminating in
a 4-1 home win over the champions Everton on the last Sunday in
There were high hopes for the
following season but Mackay’s tactics were never clear, Regis
was forced to play as a target man and City struggled from the
start. The club’s finances were in a poor state, Terry
Gibson was sold in the January and the proceeds bought Nick
Brazil and Jim
McInally. Unfortunately they were not the players to keep a
desperate City in Division 1.
On 12 April City lost 0-5 at
Anfield to make it eight games without a win and Mackay was
forced to resign the following day. In hindsight he was probably
not a big enough name for City but his outspoken views and
dislike of what he saw as interfering directors did not help his
Chairman John Poynton appointed
George Curtis and John Sillett to succeed Don and they won two
out of the three remaining games to avoid the drop.
After leaving Highfield Road
Mackay assisted in coaching at Ibrox whilst Graeme Souness
completed his commitments with Sampdoria before becoming Rangers’
Mackay then became manager of
Blackburn Rovers in 1987, taking them to the Division 1
play-offs three times and winning the Full Members Cup in 1987.
Mackay was very unfortunate to be sacked after three games of
the 1991-92 season by Rovers new owner Jack Walker. Walker
clearly wanted a big name in charge and hired Kenny Dalglish as
Mackay was appointed manager of
Fulham, ironically by Jimmy Hill, in early 1992 and although
they came close to reaching the play-offs in his first season he
was sacked in March 1994 with relegation looming.
Ham (h) : lost 1-2
(a) : lost 0-5
win over Everton in May 1985 to complete the ultimate
defeat at Anfield which sealed his fate
60 : won 19, drew 11, lost 30
win ratio 31.7%