Tommy Docherty

More clubs than... you know the rest

Player Biography
Full name: Thomas Henderson Docherty
Date of birth: April 24, 1928
Clubs played for: Celtic, Preston, Arsenal, Chelsea
Clubs managed: Chelsea, Rotherham, QPR, Aston Villa, Porto, Scotland, Manchester United, Derby, Sydney Olympic, Preston, South Melbourne, Wolves, Altrincham
Jimmy Greaves and Tommy Docherty, 1961
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Jimmy Greaves and Tommy Docherty, 1961 Bill Shankly and Tommy Docherty Tommy Docherty and Matt Busby, 1962 Tommy Docherty, Graham Moore and Matt Busby, 1963 Tommy Docherty, Alex Stepney and Matt Busby, 1966 Jimmy Hill, Tommy Docherty and Derek Healey George Graham, Tommy Docherty and Tommy Baldwin, 1966 Tommy Docherty and Billy Wright, 1966 Tommy Docherty, 1967 Tommy Docherty, 1967 Tommy Docherty, 1967 Denis Law, Tommy Docherty and David Sadler, 1972 Tommy Docherty and Jim McCalliog, 1974 FA Cup final, 1976 Tommy Docherty and Stuart Pearson, 1977 FA Cup final, 1977
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Club Career

Tommy Docherty began his career with his boyhood heroes, Celtic, but found first-team opportunities at Parkhead hard to come by. He made just nine senior appearances for the club before moving south to Preston in November 1949.

It was at Deepdale where he made his name, playing more than 300 league games in nine years. Stints at Arsenal and a brief period with Chelsea followed prior to his retirement in 1962.

Club Stats

Years Clubs App Goals
1947-49 Celtic 9 3
1949-58 Preston 323 5
1958-61 Arsenal 83 1
1961-62 Chelsea 4 0

International Career

Docherty won 25 caps for Scotland in an international career that spanned eight years. He was in the squad for the 1958 World Cup in Sweden, defying the orders of Preston not to travel to the finals - a decision that resulted in his departure from Deepdale.

International Career Stats

Years Clubs App Goals
1951-59 Scotland 25 1

Managerial Career

The Doc quit his post as Scotland boss to take over at Old Trafford in December 1972, so beginning a colourful five-year stay during which time United were relegated to the Second Division, promoted back to the First and won the FA Cup in 1977. That was to be his last significant act as United boss; he was sacked shortly afterwards when news of his relationship with physio Laurie Brown's wife became public. He had several jobs after that, including spells in Australia, before ending his managerial career at Altrincham in 1988.

Key Games

Chelsea 3-2 Leicester (League Cup final 1st leg, March 15, 1965)

This was Chelsea's first trophy for 10 years, and Docherty's first as a manager. Even though they lost centre-half Alan Young to injury in the 13th minute - this is in the days before substitutes, remember - the Blues won the match at Stamford Bridge 3-2, with goals from Eddie McCreadie, Bobby Tambling and Terry Venables. That gave them an advantage to defend in the second leg at Filbert Street three weeks later and they did so successfully, earning a 0-0 draw to seal the silverware.

Wolves 2-3 Manchester United (FA Cup quarter-final replay, March 9, 1976)

United had lost just once in 18 matches before this 6th round tie but, after drawing the first game 1-1 at Old Trafford, it looked as though their best chance of reaching the final had gone. And when they found themselves 2-0 down after 21 minutes in the replay, it certainly seemed that way. But Tommy Docherty's young side fought back in spectacular style to draw level with goals from Stuart Pearson and Brian Greenhoff, paving the way for Sammy McIlroy's injury-time winner.

Manchester United 2-1 Liverpool (FA Cup final, May 21, 1977)

Manchester United were very much the underdogs against a Liverpool side that had already won the League title and were hoping the FA Cup would be the second trophy in a Treble haul, with the European Cup Final to come the following week. Instead, Jimmy Greenhoff scored United's decisive second goal to give them a 2-1 win, after Jimmy Case had cancelled out Stuart Pearson's opener.


Club Competition Year
Preston Second Division Championship 1950-51
Chelsea (as manager) League Cup 1965
Manchester United (as manager) FA Cup 1977
Second Division Championship 1974-75

Did You Know...?

Tommy Docherty was the first Aston Villa manager appointed by Doug Ellis, in December 1968. He lasted 13 months in the job.

On his appointment as Altrincham manager in September 1987, Tommy Docherty stated that they were the "Manchester United of non-league football."

Never shy of a soundbite, Docherty once memorably wrote John Barnes off as a player who "gets injured appearing on A Question of Sport".

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From the back pages

Players Fight Against 'Slavery' Published: January 11, 1961

First Division news story

Chelsea 3-2 Leicester Published: March 16, 1965

League Cup final 1st leg match report

Doc Bans His Son Published: August 19, 1974

He's not allowed to see United play away

Doc's Match Of The Day Published: January 27, 1975

Second Division news story

Southampton 0-1 Manchester United Published: April 7, 1975

Second Division match report

Wolves 2-3 Manchester United Published: March 10, 1976

FA Cup quarter-final replay match report

United Up For Cup Published: May 21, 1977

FA Cup final preview

Manchester United 2-1 Liverpool Published: May 23, 1977

FA Cup final match report

Mad United Published: May 23, 1977

FA Cup final news story

Doc To Quit United Published: June 20, 1977

First Division news story

Doc Put In Dock Published: May 6, 1985

Derek Dougan blames Tommy Docherty for Wolves' relegation

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