Tommy Docherty

Tommy Docherty

3 stars

  • 20 Years After Dinner Speaking Experience
  • Rich & Varied Career

Thomas Henderson Docherty (born Gorbals, Glasgow on 24 Aug 1928), usually known as Tommy Docherty or “the Doc”, is a Scottish former footballer and football manager.

Tommy Docherty’s football career began when he joined non-League Shettleston Juniors. The turning point in his playing career came in 1946 when he was called up to do National Service in the Highland Infantry.

While completing his National Service, Docherty represented the British Army at football. On demobilisation, Docherty was offered a contract with his beloved Celtic in 1947.

However the young Docherty found first team places hard to come by at Celtic and, in November 1949, after spending just over two years with the Club he’d supported as a boy, he joined PNE. It was at Preston where he enjoyed the most successful period of his playing career, making over 300 League appearances, and appearing in an FA Cup Final in 1954. At Preston he received the first of his 25 full Scotland International Caps.

After defying Preston and travelling to the World Cup finals with Scotland, in Sweden in 1958, he left Deepdale that year to join Arsenal.  It was at Arsenal where he was to finish his serious playing career in 1961.

In February 1961 his dream of becoming a football coach materialised. He was offered the post of player-coach of Chelsea. Less than twelve months later, after the departure of Ted Drake, he took over as Manager.

With Chelsea he achieved promotion to Division One in 1963, he won the League Cup in 1965, and reached the FA Cup Final in 1967 only to end up on the losing side for the second time in his career.

In October that year he resigned, and the following month became manager of Rotherham. He left the club the following year, was appointed manager at QPR, but left after 29 days. He then had the dubious distinction of becoming Doug Ellis ‘ first manager at Aston Villa in December 1968, in which role he survived for 13 months.

On 19 Jan 1970, with Aston Villa bottom of the Second Division, he was sacked. From there he went to FC Porto and lasted 4 months.

On2 July 1971, Docherty was appointed by Hull City as assistant manager to Terry Neill, but on 12 September he was appointed as caretaker manager of Scotland, with the position becoming permanent in November.

In December 1972, Frank O’Farrell was sacked as manager of Man Utd.  The temptation of managing one of Europe’s biggest clubs was too much to resist; Docherty was poached by Manchester United and quit his job with Scotland to take up the role of manager of Manchester United.

Docherty enjoyed his most successful spell as manager, winning the Second Division Championship in 1975 and reaching the FA Cup Final in 1976/1977, winning the latter. Forty-nine days later he was sacked after his affair with the wife of a United physiotherapist Laurie Brown had become public. He was ironically replaced at the Old Trafford by Dave Sexton, who had followed him as Chelsea manager as well!

It was not long before Docherty was back in work, taking the managers job at Derby County in September 1977, where he stayed for two seasons before resigning in April 1979. His time at Derby was marred by controversy off the pitch. On taking over at Derby, Docherty became embroiled in a bitter Court case, suing the ex-Manchester United captain Willie Morgan and Granada television for libel.

The case was eventually dropped with Docherty admitting he had lied in Court. The end of the Court case coincided with the end of Docherty’s managerial career with Derby.

Queens Park Rangers became his next port of call in May 1979. He was sacked almost immediately, then reinstated after just nine days. On taking over at Loftus Road, Rangers had been relegated to the Second Division and Docherty had to lift the team spirits to start the new season.

His reputation kept a lot of big names with the Club and new players such asClive Allen, Tony Currie and Paul Goddard were brought in. Although money was spent, QPR finished the season four points short of promotion to the First Division. In October 1980, he was sacked. He later claimed “I sacked Queens Park Rangers once and they later sacked me twice”.

After a short spell in Australia coaching Sydney Olympic in 1981, his career came full circle and he returned to England in July that year to manage PNE, the place he had spent nine successful years as a player. But he was unable to make his mark and he left after a few months, returning to Australia to manage South Melbourne until the following year.

He also managed Sydney Olympic again in 1983, Wolves(1984 – 1985) and Altrincham (1987 – 1988) before retiring from football.

As a manager Tommy Docherty was nothing if not controversial. He has earned a living for the past 20 years as a media pundit and after-dinner speaker.

Playing Career
Celtic 1947 – 1949 

PNE 1949 – 1958 

Arsenal 1958 – 1961 

Managerial Career
Chelsea 61-67 

Rotherham 67/68 

QPR 68 

Aston Villa 68-70 

FC Porto 70/71 

Hull City 71-72 

Scotland 72 

Man Utd 72-77 

Derby 77-79 

QPR 79-80 

Sydney Olympic 81 

PNE 81-82 

South Melbourne 82-83 

Sydney Olympic 83 

Wolves 84/85 

Altrincham 87-88