Lawrie McMenemy

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Lawrie McMenemy
Personal information
Full name Lawrence McMenemy
Date of birth (1936-07-26) 26 July 1936 (age 82)
Place of birth Gateshead, England
Height 6 ft 4 in (1.93 m)
Youth career
Newcastle United
Senior career*
Years Team Apps (Gls)
1959–1961 Gateshead
Teams managed
1964–1967 Bishop Auckland
1968–1971 Doncaster Rovers
1971–1973 Grimsby Town
1973–1985 Southampton
1985–1987 Sunderland
1990–1993 England U21
1998–1999 Northern Ireland
* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only

Lawrence McMenemy[1] MBE (born 26 July 1936) is a retired English football coach, best known for his spell as manager of Southampton, he is rated in the Guinness Book of Records as one of the twenty most successful managers in post-war English football.

Playing career[edit]

McMenemy was born in Gateshead, County Durham. After serving in the Coldstream Guards [1] he started his footballing career with Newcastle United although he never appeared in their first team, before moving to Gateshead in the late 1950s, but McMenemy joined the club after they had left the Football League.[2] An injury ended his career in 1961, but he moved into coaching instead, spending three years in coaching at the club.

Football management[edit]

Bishop Auckland[edit]

In 1964 he was appointed manager of non-league Bishop Auckland and transformed them from a struggling side into Northern League champions and also took them to the third round of the FA Cup.

Sheffield Wednesday & Doncaster Rovers[edit]

McMenemy then moved to Sheffield Wednesday where he spent two years as a coach before he got his big break as manager of Doncaster Rovers where he remained until May 1971, winning the Fourth Division Championship in 1968–69.

Grimsby Town[edit]

He then became manager of Grimsby Town, where he won a Fourth Division championship.[3] In July 1973 he left Blundell Park to become assistant manager at Southampton.


In November 1973, four months after joining the Saints as assistant manager, he was promoted to the role of manager, he was unable to keep them in the First Division that season, but the board kept faith in him to lift the club back out of the Second Division.

In 1976, McMenemy guided Southampton, then in the Second Division, to an FA Cup Final victory over Manchester United, it was widely predicted before the game that United would easily win (one pundit said the score would go into double figures). However Southampton, who were in the Second Division at the time (the current Championship) and had a much older team, put up a stern challenge for United; the only goal of the game was scored by Bobby Stokes with just seven minutes to go, and captain Peter Rodrigues received the FA Cup from the Queen. They were the second club in four seasons to win the FA Cup from outside the First Division of English football after Sunderland in 1973 and only one more side from outside the top flight (West Ham United in 1980) has won the trophy; these are the only instances in the post Second World War era when the trophy has been won by a team outside the top division.

In 1978, the Saints won promotion to the First Division and in 1979 reached the League Cup Final where they lost 3-2 to Nottingham Forest.

McMenemy was linked with the vacant Manchester United manager's job at the end of the 1980-81 season, but he ruled himself out of the running and the job went to Ron Atkinson instead.[4]

McMenemy had signed veteran World Cup winner Alan Ball to aid his side, later adding serving England captain Kevin Keegan when he came home from Germany in 1980. Southampton emerged as title challengers in the 1981-82 season, regularly topping the table, before they finished seventh and the title went to Liverpool. Keegan was sold to Newcastle United that summer, but McMenemy made another big name signing when he captured England goalkeeper Peter Shilton. In 1984, he guided the club to second place in the First Division - their highest ever finish.


He left Southampton on 1 June 1985, after they had finished fifth in the league, but made a return to football five days later when he was named manager of Sunderland, who had just been relegated to the Second Division. At the time he was the highest-paid manager in English football, but his time on Wearside was not a success and he quit in March 1987 - just weeks before Sunderland fell into the Third Division for the first time in their history. A year earlier, they had narrowly avoided a second successive relegation when they had been among the pre-season favourites for promotion, and the best supported side in the Second Division with an average attendance of more than 16,000 - higher than most of the First Division clubs that season.


In July 1990, he ended a three-year break from football when being appointed as assistant manager to England manager Graham Taylor, managing the Under-21 side, and picking out the future talents like Darren Anderton and Steve McManaman. In November 1993, after England failed to qualify for USA 94, Taylor and McMenemy both resigned, they had reached the 1992 European Championships in Sweden, but failed to progress beyond the group stages.

Back to Southampton[edit]

McMenemy soon bounced back however and was offered the new position of Director of Football by Southampton within weeks of leaving his role with the England team. Fans and the local media were delighted when he accepted the role, which made him the first man to be employed as a Director of Football in the English game.[citation needed] In McMenemy's first season back at Southampton, the Saints finished 10th in the Premiership, but it did not last long and in 1997, when Rupert Lowe arrived as the new chairman, neither McMenemy nor then manager Graeme Souness got on with him and promptly resigned, publicly denouncing the new board in the process.

Northern Ireland[edit]

A year later, in 1998 McMenemy was appointed Northern Ireland manager, but he was not successful and he resigned two years later after they failed to qualify for the 2000 European Championships.[5]

Since 2000, McMenemy has concentrated on his role as FA special ambassador, travelling to Afghanistan in 2002 to help set up a national league and liaising with the English team in the Special Olympics.[5]

In July 2006, he was appointed as a non-executive director of Southampton F.C.[5]

Managerial Statistics[edit]

As of 31 October 1999
Team From To Record
G W D L Win %
Doncaster Rovers May 1968 May 1971 146 55 43 48 037.67
Grimsby Town May 1971 July 1973 117 58 26 33 049.57
Southampton November 1973 June 1985 604 255 160 189 042.22
Sunderland June 1985 March 1987 93 28 24 41 030.11
England U21 July 1990 November 1993 12 7 2 3 058.33
Northern Ireland October 1998 October 1999 14 4 3 7 028.57
Total 986 407 258 321 041.28

Media work[edit]

McMenemy has made frequent appearances on TV football panels since 1972 as well as BBC TV's 'Superkids' and TVS's 'Children's Challenge' (two series), he also regularly appeared on TV-am prior to 1990 as their 'football analyst'. He presented BBC Radio's 'Down Your Way' in 1989 and was a summariser for Sky TV News & Eurosport satellite TV until 1990, he currently is in demand as an after-dinner speaker. He has written several books on management motivation, he also writes a regular column in the Southern Daily Echo. He has appeared on the documentary Dream Fans the Spirit of Southampton in 2005, he is also the author of a testimonial in The Future of the NHS.[6] His media work also saw him as a panel member of 5 World Cups as well as TV appearances on This Is Your Life and Parkinson. McMenemy is also the Chairman of the Special Olympics UK.

Personal life[edit]

Married to Anne, eldest son Chris McMenemy former Newcastle United coach, son Sean McMenemy and daughter Alison.[citation needed]

He is related to Harry McMenemy.[7]



  • Awarded the MBE in 2006.[5]
  • Received an honorary MBA from Southampton Solent University.[5]
  • Freedom of the City of Southampton.[5]

As a manager[edit]

Bishop Auckland

  • Northern League Champions & County Cup Winners: 1965[5]

Doncaster Rovers

Grimsby Town



  1. ^ a b "Northern Ireland's Footballing Greats: Managers: Lawrie McMenemy".
  2. ^ "GATESHEAD : 1946/47 - 1959/60". Post War English & Scottish Football League A - Z Player's Transfer Database.
  3. ^ "A sea of 23,000 fans roared on McMenemy's champions of 71". Grimsby Telegraph. 15 May 2010. Archived from the original on 5 May 2013. Retrieved 4 June 2016.
  4. ^ [1]
  5. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m "Lawrie McMenemy". Retrieved 19 April 2015.
  6. ^ Tempest, Michelle (2006). The Future of the NHS. ISBN 1-85811-369-5. Retrieved 13 October 2015.
  7. ^ Harry McMenemy Toon1892 profile


  • Wilson, Jeremy (2006). Southampton’s Cult Heroes. Know The Score Books. ISBN 1-905449-01-1.
  • Javier Igeño Cano (2005). Dream Fans "The Spirit of Southampton DVD. Spanish Saints.

External links[edit]