Tommy Doherty (back) said his biggest regret was leaving Scotland for Manchester United.
Tommy Docherty, who died at the age of 92, will be remembered as one of the great heroes of football.
Known as Doc, he led 12 clubs and the Scottish national team during his illustrious career.
Irrepressible, outspoken and often controversial, he collected a seemingly endless number of anecdotes, jokes and ready-made sentences.
Docherty spent nine years as a player with Preston North End and played for Scotland at the 1958 World Cup in Sweden before embarking on a management career that took him to Portugal and Australia. But he’s probably best remembered for his five-year stint in Manchester United.
Born on the 24th. In April 1928, in the Gorbals area of Glasgow, he told the Daily Telegraph about his difficult upbringing: If you wanted a new pair of shoes, you’d go to the pool barefoot and just hit a pair. I didn’t think it was morally wrong. It was something that had to be done.
His mother, Georgina, was a Charles, but he did not remember his father, Thomas, who worked in an iron foundry.
I don’t remember him taking me in his lap, telling me a story or taking me to the park, Docherty said. I remember my mother crying when the door was knocked loudly to let her know he was dying.
He was hospitalized with pleurisy. They’d give you pills for that.
Leaving Celtic is one of the biggest disappointments
Tommy Doherty (right) captain of Scotland while playing
Docherty began his career in the Shettleston youth team as a rightback and made his debut for Celtic’s youth heroes in the 1-0 home defeat of Rangers in 1947 after leaving the Army.
He left for Preston in 1949 – the year he married his first wife Agnes – after failing to secure a place on the first team, and he said the same many years later: When I was a kid, my only ambition was to play in a green and white sweater. When I was transferred, it was one of the biggest disappointments of my life.
He played in the final of the FA Cup in 1954 and won the first of his 25 caps in Scotland. He played twice in the finals of the 1954 World Cup.
Docherty moved to Arsenal in 1958 where he effectively ended his playing career.
Although he appeared for Chelsea FC a few times after he moved to Stamford Bridge in February 1961, this move allowed him to take his first steps in coaching and management.
He could not prevent the West London club from being relegated to Ligue 1 at the end of the 1961-62 season, but the Blues did manage to get a new promotion at the first attempt.
In the 1964-65 season they won the League Cup with a total victory over Leicester City, but lost the final of the 1967 FA Cup to Tottenham Hotspur.
Docherty left the club to become manager of Rotherham United and memorably said I promised to get Rotherham out of Division 2 – and into Division 3. The former president said: Doc, you’re a man of your word!
Glasweg left Rotherham a year later and went to a dizzying number of clubs to refine his repertoire.
After a period with Queens Park Rangers, Aston Villa and Porto, and a stint as Terry Neill’s assistant coach in Hull City, he became manager of Scotland in 1971, first temporarily and then permanently.
He left Manchester United in December 1972 when Scotland qualified for the 1974 World Cup Final in West Germany.
One of my biggest regrets is that I left my job in Scotland, as he later said.
One love lost, the other won.
Tommy Doherty’s affair with his future wife Mary Brown led to his resignation from Old Trafford.
The Red Devils were relegated to Ligue 2 in 1974, but returned the next season as champion.
After the surprising 1-0 defeat of United in the 1976 FA Cup final against second division Southampton, Docherty led his team again to next year’s FA Cup final, beating the favourites Liverpool 2-1.
However, the celebration did not last long, as he was almost immediately fired for having an affair with the wife of the club’s physiotherapist, Laurie Brown. Docherty later married Mary Brown and they stayed together until his death.
They had two children, Lucy and Grace, while he had four children – Tom, Michael, Peter and Catherine – with Agnes, who died in 2002.
Docherty returned to Derby County management before returning to QPR, where she was discharged, and then reinstated – and discharged again – after only nine days.
He then went to Sydney Olympic, Preston, South Melbourne and again to Sydney in 1983 before becoming coach of the Wolverhampton Wanderers. Altrincham held his last executive position until his retirement at the end of the 1987-88 season.
Docherty went to work as an afternoon announcer and media expert and was recorded in the Scottish Football Hall of Fame in November.
At the press conference he made another joke, but this time he got serious and said: It is something that will be there forever and can never be destroyed.
Doc was a law unto itself.
Tommy Doherty and Lou Macari (center) lift the FA Cup with Manchester United.
Former Scotland and Man Lou Macari attacker on Radio Scotland.
There was no bigger character than Doc in the game, and there hasn’t been one since.
He was funny, he could argue with you, but if you had a heated argument with him, he’d reconcile with you the next day – it didn’t affect your position on the team.
As for the company, I couldn’t have had a better company over the years than Tommy Doc, and believe it or not, that was one of the biggest advantages of his management style. The laughter and jokes in the locker rooms before each match made every player feel relaxed.
He had these wild dreams. When we were demoted, he told everyone in Manchester City we’d be back next year – that’s what happened and it’s not easy.
We went to the FA Cup final at Wembley and we should have defeated Southampton, but we didn’t – we gave up a goal six minutes of time. Back in the dressing room we were discouraged, but he straightened us out and told us we’d be back next year, and the following year we won, defeating Liverpool.
I had Jock Stein, who changed my life, who took me to Celtic when I was a little boy, and then I went to Old Trafford with Doc. He was an entertainer, a law unto himself, and a big guy.