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PersonalFull Name: Luigi Macari
aka: Lou Macari
Born: 7 June 1949
Birthplace: Edinburgh, Scotland
Signed: 21 July 1966
Left: 18 January 1973 (to Man Utd)
First game: Ayr United 2-0 away League Cup 27 September 1967
Last game: Rangers 1-2 away League 6 January 1973
First goal: Dundee 2-1 away 30 April 1969 league
Last goal: Dundee United 3-1 home 4 November 1972 league
International Caps: 24
International Goals: 5
Manager: October 1993 - June 1994
BiogLou was born in Edinburgh and raised in the Ayrshire seaside resort of Largs - he also spent a year in London. Lou Macari attended St.Michael's Kilwinning school and as he grew up he had two big loves in his life: football and the horses (standard fare) but money was the underlying factor which ended up characterising his decisions in time, many times for the worst. Many like to comment that he was a icon for the successful Scottish Italian community, but Macari himself has underplayed his Italian roots, commenting that his mum and dad were Scottish and that is how he saw his family, it was only due to the name and through his dad's side long past that he had any Italian links.His father did run a cafe in Largs called "Macari's" and then was involved with a pub/disco in Largs called "The Town Tavern" which was mainly financed by Lou.
Luigi 'Lou' Macari was one of the the earliest of the Quality Street gang to make an impression at Celtic Park and by 1970 he had established himself as a regular member of the first team squad. He had an outstanding scoring record for the successful reserve side of the period and, under the tutelage of the great Jock Stein, he carried on his scoring rate with the first eleven.He was a thorn in the side of the opposition defenders as he was always hassling and niggling away for the ball,he also was very good in the air for a small man and had exceptional timing in his leaps and often scored great goals with his head.
In March 1970 he scored a vital goal in the Scottish Cup semi final victory over Dundee at Hampden and was unlucky not to find a place in the team for the final. In 1970/71 he established himself as a first team regular winning league and cup medals, impressing in the 1971 cup final replay win over Rangers when he scored a typically opportunist goal that was to become his trade mark, hooking home a low corner from Bobby Lennox.
In August 1971 he was in the Celtic sides that comprehensively defeated Rangers three times at Ibrox in the space of 28 days. For a small man he was superb in the air and drew comparisons with the great Jimmy Greaves with his knack of calmly scoring goals in a simple fashion. He was also courageous and had a fiery temperament which could come to the fore on occasions. He was capable of playing up front with any combination of player and Lennox, Wallace, Hood, Dalglish and Deans all had productive spells in the team alongside Louie. He was a tremendous favourite with the Celtic supporters with his work rate and goal tally and a happy knack of scoring against Rangers.
The 1971/72 season was Lou's best season for Celtic. He scored 24 goals but many of them were vital efforts such as Hibs 1-0 at Easter Road (October 1971, 40,000), Hearts in the Scottish Cup replay 1-0 (March 1972, 40,000) crowds of a magnitude that the Edinburgh sides will never see again. On March 8th 1972 he was a constant thorn in the flesh of the Ujpest Dosza defence in Budapest in the quarter finals of the European Cup as he scored the winner in Celtic's notable 2-1 win. In the second leg with the tie perilously tied at 2-2 at Parkhead he took a magnificent long pass from George Connelly and beautifully clipped the ball past the despairing keeper to send Celtic through. In the semi finals Celtic were drawn against Inter Milan and the Italian press corps were fascinated with the Scots boy with the Italian background. Unfortunately for Lou Celtic lost out to the negative Italians on penalties.
On May 6th 1972 he was the centre-forward in the Celtic team that annihilated Eddie Turnbull's fine Hibernian side 6-1 at Hampden in the Scottish Cup Final in one of Celtic's greatest ever displays under Jock Stein, Lou scoring twice in the process. That summer he became the only Celtic player ever to be married in St.Patrick's Cathedral in New York when he wed his American wife Dale and this cosmopolitan life style now gave him wander lust to leave the Scottish game. He was still a vital member of the team and still scoring important goals as in the Rangers 3-2 win at Ibrox September 11th 1972, and Aberdeen 3-2 win at Pittodrie October 28th 1972, results that went a long way to winning the 1973 League title.
He was by now making noises of his unrest at Parkhead in public and was a Scottish internationalist, armed with the knowledge of the bigger basic wages being paid by English clubs. Celtic at that time had a policy of rewarding their players for success but paying a far lower basic wage than the big clubs in the South. Tommy Docherty had given Lou his opportunity at international level and he was a huge fan so when the Doc became manager of Manchester United in December 1972 he made Macari his first transfer target. Celtic tired of his attitude and it became clear that he was now causing unrest behind the scenes and on January 18th 1973 he went to Old Trafford for a huge Scottish record fee of £200,000, after 105 appearances and 56 goals for the Bhoys.
Lou Macari was simply the first player in the Celtic ranks to break from the old mould and reflect the new breed of modern footballer, where financial considerations were priority above all else. In fairness, there is nothing wrong about asking for as high a wage as you can get but the old board were financially incompetent and so Macari was never likely to realise his wage demands at Celtic. He did have a family to consider and the wages being offered were around 3-4 times what they were at Celtic. Players in those days did not earn the megabucks as many do now, and so people can sympathise when they asked for higher wages. In time, others followed Macari who set the tone, and Celtic lost a number of our prodigious young players.
If we only could have held onto them with the right mind-frame then we could have potentially achieved so much more. However, despite being a consistent goalscorer Celtic could afford to lose Macari as Jock Stein had a plethora of class strikers to chose from, such as Dalglish, Hood, Lennox and Deans. Dalglish in particular was really coming to the fore at this stage and would eclipse anything that Macari had achieved previously.
For Macari, leaving Celtic was a wrench but he made a mistake by signing for Man Utd rather then Liverpool (whom he turned down) and ended up in mid-table mediocrity when he could have got European Cup medals and the like. He actually drove to Liverpool to see their management and then to Man U the next day to seek out the best deal financially. He wouldn't have been out of place at Liverpool, but money dictated and he chose Man Utd. Liverpool manager Bill Shankly is reputed to have quipped on Macari's decision to snub Liverpool for Man U: "I only wanted him for the reserves anyway".
In 1980 Lou returned to Parkhead wearing the red of Manchester United in Danny McGrain's testimonial and captained the United side that night. Four years later Celtic travelled south to appear in Macari's testimonial when 15,000 vocal Celtic fans took the road South to watch them although some of the more learned of the support voiced their concerns over rewarding a player who had agitated for a move eleven years previously.
Lou Macari played for Celtic in a golden era and his efforts in the hoops (as a player) are generally well remembered by the Celtic fans who cheered him in the green and white.
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Honours with Celtic[...]
Manchester UnitedMacari made his Manchester United League debut v West Ham United on 20th January 1973 and scored in a 2-2 draw. He helped United win the Second Division title in 1975. They finished third on their return to the top flight and were runners-up in the FA Cup before going one better and lifting the trophy a year later. He was on the losing side in the 1979 final. He was never an overly prolific striker, and in the late 1970s Tommy Docherty moved him into a midfield role. The switch greatly improved Macari’s game, but his United career took a turn for the worse when Ron Atkinson replaced Docherty in 1982. The Scot spent the majority of the next two seasons on the United bench, and after 400 appearances and 97 goals he left to turn his hand to management.
Manchester United career stats: Link
International careerMade his debut as a substitute against Wales on 24 May 1972 in a 1-0 win.
He was capped 24 times in total, netting 5 goals.
International career: Link
Management career (Pre-Celtic)After leaving United on 1 July 1984, Macari moved into management with Swindon Town, leading the Wiltshire club to back-to-back promotions in 1986 and 1987.
It was there, however, that Lou went on to battle the whims of tyrannical chairmen at West Ham United, Birmingham City, Stoke City, in his dream job at Celtic, then finally at Huddersfield Town.
Lou only lasted seven months at Upton Park before an even shorter spell at Birmingham City in 1991. Lou Macari replaced Alan Ball at Stoke City when they had reached their lowest league position ever (14th in the 3rd Division). In Lou Macari's first season he took Stoke to the Third Division play-offs, only to be beaten by Stockport County. The following season, 1992-93, with the formation of the Premier Division, saw Stoke in the newly formed Division Two, and Stoke ran away with the title.
With Stoke back in Division One Lou Macari left to manage Celtic (see more details below). He was replaced by Joe Jordan but just after a year Lou Macari had left, he was back in charge at Stoke City. With Lou's return Stoke reached the play-offs losing to Leicester City in the semi-final after a 1-0 defeat at the Victoria ground. Stoke's last season at the Victoria Ground failed to build on the previous season's form, ending in a mid-table position.
Three years after leaving Stoke, he initially took over as caretaker boss at Huddersfield Town in October 2000 from his mate Steve Bruce who resigned from the post before being installed full-time in the November. Macari could not save his new club from relegation at the end of the season. Huddersfield Town's distinctly average performance in season 2001-02, in which they reached the Division Two Play-offs but failed to get promotion, led to Lou Macari losing his job as manager in June 2002.
Celtic FC Manager 1993 - 1994Lou Macari took over the reins at Celtic Park on 27 October 1993. Many may deny it now but he was a bit of a fan's favourite for the role. It was, however, Frank Connor who selected the team for the first match after Macari's appointment, at Ibrox on 30 October 1993, Celtic winning 2-1 against Rangers. After just that first game, Macari turned to Tom Boyd (Celtic full-back) and told him not to run across the half-way line again, which stamped from the start Macari's dour outlook on the game (possibly stemming from the over-cautious methods adopted in the English lower leagues). It wasn't a way to endear either himself to the players or the fans.
Into the job, and Macari never seemed to settle fully in and he would be criticised for not spending enough time at the ground. In addition, his purchases, like those of his two immediate predecessors, did not meet with general approval. In fairness he was limited in his scope for signings (due to the financial turmoil at the time), and two of his oft-quoted signings were Carl Muggleton and Wayne Biggins, both of whom were much lampooned for their names if nothing else. To be fair, Carl Muggleton was actually a good goalkeeper and deserves a bit more respect; Wayne Biggins on the other hand was rubbish but was trying his best. Lack of finances is a fair point but the team still had Boyd, McStay & Collins, so were still far ahead of most of the rest of the league.
On the negative side, the dressing room was little behind him, and stories were open about his poor management skills, esp in training. During a 4-2 loss to Rangers in a New Years day derby, his team talk at half-time was apparently as uninspiring and unhelpful as you can get (we were 3-0 down at that point). Add in that after this defeat that he wasn't around for a week, then it wasn't going to help team morale or recovery. Most players didn't seen to warm to him or his unorthodox training methods, which involved excessively heavy training sessions during the week.
Peter Grant and Charlie Nicholas publicly stated their disillusionment with him, and Frank McAvennie in an interview claimed that Macari is a former manager of his that he wouldn't have minded getting in a fight with. Frank also described him once as "the worst manager in the history of football!" (he played under him twice (once at West Ham & then at Celtic)).
Maybe after having it too easy, being put through the paces by a new manager was a bit hard to adjust to (is that an excuse?). Then again, the biggest problem was simply Macari's inability to handle other people, and his poor record of results speaks for itself.
He survived the takeover of the club by Fergus McCann but not for long. He was sacked on 14 June 1994 after only eight months in the job, and little more than three months after the new regime had gained control of the club. The Chairman stated it was because he did not meet certain contractual obligations (e.g. moving to Glasgow, reporting back to the board etc), but in truth it was an easy route to be able to just remove him any which way possible. Macari in turn stated that he was known for being a workaholic at all his clubs and his family was set to move up to Glasgow in the summer once the school holidays were on. There were disagreements about the hours Macari was putting in, and one story has it that his sacking was done over the phone when he was going to the US for the World Cup, where he later sat down beside Walter Smith (then Rangers manager) to tell him what had just happened.
The whole matter was taken to court by Macari seeking damages for wrongful dismissal, and the judge ruled in favour of the club. However, neither Macari nor McCann came out it at all well, and a subsequent appeal by Macari on the court decision was a further defeat for Macari, but the decision sadly was irrelevant to Macari as around the same time a tragic family event (death of his son) overshadowed any arguments with Celtic.
It was an ignominious end to his whole involvement with Celtic as a manager. In his autobiography, he still says he is a fan which we are happy to see, and we hope him all the best in the future.
Currently Lou is working as a pundit with Sky Sports and MUTV.
Wayne Biggins (Barnsley) £100,000
Carl Muggleton (Leicester)150,000
Lee Martin (Manchester U) £350,000
Willie Falconer (Sheff U) £375,000
Andy Walker (Bolton) £550,000
Gary Holt (The Army!) Free
Justin Whittle (The Army) Free
Total spent: £1,525,000
Andy Payton (Barnsley) £100,000
Gerry Creaney (Portsmouth) £500,000
Wayne Biggins (Stoke) £125,000
Billy Dolan (St.Mirren) Free
Pat Bonner Free
Charlie Nicholas Free
Frank McAvennie Free
Gary Gillespie Free
Dariusz Wdowzcyck Free
Nigel Melly Free
Total brought in: £725,000
| Team |
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Honours as managernone
- Quality Street Gang
- Interviews & Miscellaneous articles on Lou Macari
- Lou Macari -v- Celtic; Press articles on the legal battle
- Macari loses legal battle against Celtic 1998 (BBC)
- Lou Macari loses Court case v Celts again 1999 (BBC)
- Miscellaneous articles on Lou Macari
Quotes"A publicity stunt."
Fergus McCann's view on the appointment of Lou Macari by the board he was trying to oust.
"The worst manager in the history of football, absolutely useless. He was never there, always away gambling..... The little dwarf! All the players [at West Ham] were actually thinking of going on strike! He was that poor...When he left I was delighted and never got on you know [with him].... and of course when I went back to Celtic and he then got the job, I was like 'Oh! It's time for me to leave again!'".
Frank McAvennie on Lou Macari who played under him twice (at West Ham & Celtic) (Source: Lostbhoys: 54 podcast)
"It was even worse after Lou Macari arrived as manager. There was a total collapse of the spirit I had been used to inside the dressing room. There were no smiles and not even a "good morning" to be heard. He (Macari) made it perfectly clear that he didn't fancy the team he had inherited and would be bringing in his own players and staff."
Charlie Nicholas on Lou Macari's arrival in 1994 (1995)
"I remember playing in a reserve league cup section with Rangers in it. By the last section game we had to beat Partick Thistle by eight goals to qualify and put Rangers out. Big Jock came into the dressing room and offered us £20 a head if we did it. That was some money for a reserve team bonus and we were all peeing with excitement before we went out to play. I remember Kenny (Dalglish) making a bee-line for the toilet and shouting "Come on, we've got to f****** win this!!" By full time we'd won 12-1 and Big Jock paid out. I think thats when he realised how good we were."
Lou Macari on the old Quality Street group of players in the early 70s (1995)
“Celtic was the biggest job of all for me, but it never got off the ground. It was a job I was never even given an opportunity to get near succeeding at. The conversations I had with Fergus McCann drove me crazy. The lack of support was quite incredible. It was grief all the way. I know Fergus tries to paint a completely different picture, but I worked my socks off at Celtic. I’m sure after I left he did grasp that the way he treated me was outrageous. If I could see him again, I’d leave him in no doubt that I was disgusted by him. I’d have called him a liar to his face. I wasn’t his man because the old board picked me and he wasn’t having that. He’d got rid of the old board’s lawyers and accountants. I was the last man standing. I wasn’t going to stand there screaming in public about how terrible he had been, I thought then it would be a waste of time, but looking back now I should have done it.”
Lou Macari on his time at Celtic under Fergus McCann
"I left Celtic [as a player] because of money - a fiver to be exact. Jock [Stein] wouldn't give me the rise I asked for, so I was off."
Lou Macari on why he left Celtic
"When people tell me that fans want style and entertainment first I don't believe it. Fans want to win. Style's a bonus."
Lou Macari defines his managerial philosophy, and hits the nail on the head why Celtic fans would not have not have liked to keep him on (we like talent & entertainment)
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