A postscript to this mini-series on great players you never saw by going on a tangent and looking at two great managers probably unknown to the rest of you.

Today’s subject is about two men who managed Celtic and between them won everything. These two gentlemen are a large part of the club’s history and are now legends:

Willie Maley and Jimmy McGrory
Willie Maley and Jimmy McGrory

Willie Maley began at the club as a player until in 1987 he was appointed, at just 29 years old, as Secretary-Manager. Thus becoming the first manager of Celtic FC and in his first season won the League title.

Maley never worked with his players in training, he watched games from the directors’ box and never indulged in team talks or spoke to his players at half-time or post-match. Maley would not even announce the team: players learned if they were in or out through reading the line-up in the newspaper.

Willie created a new policy of recruiting youngsters from local teams and with these kids he they won six league titles in a row between 1905 and 1910 and won the first Scottish League and Scottish Cup doubles.

When they grew old, Maley built a second team which won four titles in succession between 1914 and 1917 and set what is still the UK record for an unbeaten run in professional football – played 62 games, winning 49 and 13 drawn. Celtic continued to gather trophies throughout the 1920s and in the mid-1930s Maley built his third great team, featuring Jimmy McGrory among them.

Willie Maley was the longest serving manager at Celtic. In his 43 years as manager, he won 16 league titles, 14 Scottish Cups, 14 Glasgow Cups and 19 Glasgow Charity Cups.

There was a tribute song done by David Cameron (not that Tory twit) about Maley:

» David Cameron – Willy Maley Song

– A visual representation of that song:

Jimmy McGrory had a long distinguished career as a player before taking the reigns as manager. He was signed by Maley to Celtic as a 17 year old in 1922 and between then and 1937, he scored 397 league goals for the club. Over the course of his career, he amassed 550 goals in first-class matches, including 410 goals in 408 league games, making him the most prolific scorer in British football history.

After leaving Celtic, he joined Kilmarnock as manager, before returning to manage Celtic in 1945. He held this position for nearly 20 years. As boss he won the League Championship twice, two Scottish FA Cups, and the Scottish League Cup twice in two consecutive years.

One of these League Cup wins became a notable moment in Celtic’s history when in the 1957 League Cup Final they beat Rangers 7-1. Their biggest win other the other Glasgow team and one never repeated.

Because it was sunny and because of a film that was big in the cinemas that year, the final became to be known as the Hampden In The Sun final and there was a song composed about that day:

1957 Scottish League Cup Final programme » Unknown – Hampden In The Sun

This entry was suggested by and thanks once again to The Vinyl Villain.

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