- Former Scottish Footballer & Manager
Billy McNeill MBE was born 2 March 1940 is a former Scottish footballer and manager. McNeill, known as Cesar, was arguably the greatest captain of Celtic F.C. His nickname was derived from the actor Cesar Romero, who played the getaway driver in the (original) film Ocean’s Eleven, as McNeill was one of the only Celtic players to own a car at the time.
McNeill was born and brought up a Roman Catholic in Bellshill, North Lanarkshire, of part Irish and part Lithuanian descent.
Celtic signed McNeill from nearby junior team, Blantyre Victoria, in 1957 as a defender.
As captain he went onto win nine Scottish League Championships, seven Scottish Cups and six Scottish League Cups.
He of course also led the team to victory in the European Cup in 1967, as part of the “Lisbon Lions”, and was the first British footballer to hold aloft the European Cup. He retired as a player in 1975 after over 800 appearances for Celtic. He was also capped on 29 occasions for Scotland.
His management career started at Clyde F.C. back in April 1977 before moving to Aberdeen F.C. in June. However, in 1978 he returned to manage Celtic. His five years in charge saw Celtic win three League Championships, one Scottish Cup and one League cup. In 1983 he moved to England to manage Manchester City FC.
In 1986-87, he became one of the few managers to manage two relegated teams in the same season. He started the season as manager of Manchester City but quit in September 1986 to take charge of fellow strugglers Aston Villa FC.
But when Villa were relegated after finishing bottom of the First Division in May 1987, he stood down to make way for Graham Taylor and returned to Celtic. In his first season Celtic won the double of the League Championship and Scottish Cup in the clubs’ centenary year. He won the Scottish Cup the following season, but quit in 1991 after four years as manager. He also served as an interim manager of Hibernian FC.
He also unsuccessfully stood as a candidate for the Scottish Senior Citizens Unity Party in the 2003 election to the Scottish Parliament.
He now lives in Newton Mearns. Billy is a regular at Park Head for Celtic home matches providing corporate hospitality. Billy is a popular figure on the after dinner circuit and will ensure your evening or event is successful as he reflects on his glittering football career at the highest level.