MICK MCCARTHY FACT­FILE

The Football League Paper - - FRONT PAGE - By Chris Dunlavy

McAven­nie waited for McCarthy to clear then caught him with a bru­tal late chal­lenge. Mick went down, the physio came out. McAven­nie waited for the stretcher.

But then McCarthy, red-faced and fu­ri­ous, leapt to his feet.“Son, you’ve just made the big­gest mis­take of your life,” he roared. “I’m the hard­est b*stard in this league, and you’ve just given your­self 88 min­utes to find out why.”

Brute

To this day, the chas­tened Glaswe­gian re­calls the bat­ter­ing he took as the tough­est game of his life.

Yet McCarthy wasn’t all brute force. An Ir­ish in­ter­na­tional who played in Euro ’88 and the 1990 World Cup, he was de­cent with the ball and an in­tel­li­gent reader of the game.

“Mick im­pressed me as hav­ing ev­ery­thing that a topqual­ity cen­tre-half needs,” said Billy Mc­Neill, his man­ager at both City and Celtic. “Good touch, con­fi­dence and class… as well as what you’d ex­pect from a lad with his height and strength.”

In­deed, it was his all-round Born: Barnsley, 1959 (Age: 53) Play­ing ca­reer: A striker in his youth team days, the 6ft 2ins McCarthy was swiftly con­verted to centr e-half and went on to spend six years at home­town club Bar ns­ley, mak­ing more than 300 ap­pear­ances and win­ning pr omo­tion from Di­vi­sion Four to Di­vi­sion Two. Switched to Man City in 1983 and won pro­mo­tion to the top flight in his first full sea­son but moved to Celtic in 1987 with City head­ing for r el­e­ga­tion. Won the league and cup dou­ble in his first cam­paign, and had his most prolific spell in front of goal, scor­ing eight in 48 games. A switch to Fr ench side Lyon in 1989 didn’t work out and McCarthy r etired in 1992 af­ter two years at Mill­wall. An Ir eland in­ter­na­tional, he won 57 caps and played in both Eur o ’88 and Italia ’90. Man­age­ment ca­reer: Be­came player-man­ager at Mill­wall in 1992, los­ing to Derby in the First Di­vi­sion play-of f semi­fi­nal in 1993-94. Suc­ceeded Jack Charlton as Ir eland man­ager in 1996 but failed to qual­ify for his first two tour na­ments – World Cup France ’98 and Eur o 2000 in Hol­land and Bel­gium. Took Ire­land to the World Cup in 2002 and made the last 16 where they lost to Spain. Joined Sun­der­land in 2003, suf­fer­ing two Pre­mier League rel­e­ga­tions and one pro­mo­tion. Ap­pointed Wolves boss in 2006 and won the Cham­pi­onship ti­tle in 2009, keep­ing them up twice be­for e be­ing sacked in Fe­bru­ary 2012. Ap­pointed man­ager of Ipswich in Novem­ber and won six of his first 11 games in charge. abil­ity that at­tracted fu­ture France coach Ray­mond Domenech, who said he needed “a lit­tle Bri­tish steel” in his Lyon side.

Though it didn’t go well (a 4-1 de­feat to Mar­seille in his first game saw head­lines of ‘De­but Catas­trophique’ in L’Equipe news­pa­per) it was a learn­ing ex­pe­ri­ence that set him up well for man­age­ment. “Their ap­proach to play­ing the game was ob­vi­ously dif­fer­ent to the Bri­tish game,” he re­calls. “It was rare to see them drink­ing any­thing stronger than fruit juice and that really struck me.”

It was also where he picked up a trait he still utilises to­day – at the start of ev­ery train­ing ses­sion, his play­ers greet him with a hand­shake.“It was great for team spirit,” he says. In hind­sight, an out­spo­ken York­shire­man was al­ways go­ing to be a man­ager. “As a youth player I used to get into scrapes with some of the first-team­ers as I was prone to shout my mouth off,” he re­calls. Man­agers no­ticed and he spent most of his ca­reer as a cap­tain.

He is also highly prin­ci­pled. At Wolves, he used to de­mand that his char­ity and com­mu­nity work go un­pub­li­cised in case peo­ple thought he was do­ing it for show.

Wish

And a jour­nal­ist with whom McCarthy had shared many bat­tles was sur­prised when, just 45 min­utes be­fore a game, the then Wolves boss rang to wish him well af­ter a death in the fam­ily.

He has al­ways shown sim­i­lar com­pas­sion with his play­ers, per­haps show­ing why – other than the in­fa­mous spat with Roy Keane – he has never lost a dress­ing room. And why he has man­aged at a World Cup with Ire­land and twice won pro­mo­tion from the Cham­pi­onship, first with Sun­der­land in 2005, then Wolves in 2009.

“I have played un­der a lot of man­agers,” adds Ste­wart. “But Mick is the best. I have huge ad­mi­ra­tion for him and he has a way about him that com­mands re­spect. His man-man­age­ment skills are ex­cel­lent.”

EIRE WE GO: McCarthy in ac­tion for Repub­lic of Ire­land in 1988

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