Mark McGhee

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Mark McGhee
Mark McGhee (cropped).jpg
Personal information
Full nameMark Edward McGhee [1]
Date of birth (1957-05-25) 25 May 1957 (age 63)
Place of birth Glasgow, Scotland
Position(s) Striker
Club information
Current team
Stockport County (Assistant Manager)
Senior career*
1975–1977 Greenock Morton 64 (37)
1977–1979 Newcastle United 28 (5)
1979–1984 Aberdeen 164 (63)
1984–1985 Hamburger SV 30 (7)
1985–1989 Celtic 88 (27)
1989–1991 Newcastle United 67 (24)
1991 IK Brage 3 (2)
1991–1993 Reading 45 (7)
National team
1983–1984 Scotland 4 (2)
Teams managed
1991–1994 Reading
1994–1995 Leicester City
1995–1998 Wolverhampton Wanderers
2000–2003 Millwall
2003–2006 Brighton & Hove Albion
2007–2009 Motherwell
2009–2010 Aberdeen
2012 Bristol Rovers
2013–2017 Scotland (assistant coach)
2015–2017 Motherwell
2017–2018 Barnet
2019 Eastbourne Borough (caretaker)
2021– Stockport County (Assistant Manager)
* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only

Mark Edward McGhee (born 25 May 1957) is a Scottish professional football player and coach, who is assistant manager of Stockport County. McGhee started his career at Greenock Morton in 1975 and had spells at clubs including Newcastle United, Aberdeen, Hamburg, Celtic, IK Brage and Reading. McGhee was part of the Aberdeen side which won the 1983 European Cup Winners' Cup and 1983 UEFA Super Cup, as well as three Scottish league titles. McGhee has since managed several clubs in both England and Scotland, including Reading, Millwall, Aberdeen and Brighton & Hove Albion.


Playing career

McGhee began his professional career in 1975 at Morton, where he developed into a very promising centre forward. In December 1977 he moved to England, signing for Newcastle United. Despite an encouraging start at St James' Park, managerial changes at the club saw McGhee fall down the pecking order. McGhee returned north in March 1979 as Alex Ferguson's first major signing for Aberdeen. [2]

He made his début for The Dons on 1 April 1979 against former club Morton. This would be the start of the most successful part of McGhee's playing career. He won his first major honour the following season when Aberdeen won the Scottish Premier Division, the first time in 15 years that a club outwith the Old Firm had finished Scottish Champions. At Aberdeen McGhee went on to win a further league title in 1984 as well as a hat-trick of successive Scottish Cup wins from 1982 to 1984. He was also part of the Aberdeen side that defeated Real Madrid 2-1 (aet.) in the final of the European Cup Winners' Cup in 1983, with his cross from the left setting up John Hewitt to score the winning goal. McGhee also won the European Super Cup the following season, with him scoring against Hamburg in the second leg at Pittodrie. During his time at Aberdeen, he also won the Scottish PFA Players' Player of the Year in 1982. [2]

McGhee moved to Germany in the summer of 1984, with Hamburg paying Aberdeen a transfer fee of £330,000. [3] His time there was not a success, primarily due to injuries, and McGhee moved back to Scotland 16 months later after scoring only 12 goals to join Celtic in a £170,000 deal. [3] [4] McGhee won a further Scottish Premier Division title in 1986 as Celtic pipped Hearts on goal difference. [2] The following year saw McGhee struggle at Parkhead through injury and the inability to displace Mo Johnston and Brian McClair from the starting line-up. [5] However, the departure of several Celtic players in the summer of 1987 gave McGhee a new lease of life at Celtic Park [5] and he won a League and Scottish Cup double in the club's Centenary Season. [2] He won a further Scottish Cup in 1989 [6] and was Celtic's top scorer that season, also finishing joint top scorer in the Scottish Premier Division alongside Aberdeen's Charlie Nicholas. [7]

McGhee joined Newcastle United for a second time in 1989. He quickly forged a successful partnership up front with Micky Quinn, and their goals saw Newcastle come close to gaining promotion to the First Division (the top-tier in England at that time), finishing third in the Second Division. [8] McGhee and Quinn were less prolific the following season, and the arrival of Ossie Ardiles as manager in March 1991 saw McGhee dropped from the team. [4]

A brief spell in Sweden at IK Brage followed before McGhee joined Reading as player-manager in May 1991. [4] He finally retired from playing in 1993 due to injury.

During his playing career, McGhee also won four caps and scored two goals for the Scotland national football team. [9]

Management career


McGhee's management career began as player-manager at third tier Reading in 1991, succeeding Ian Porterfield, after being recommended for the post by his ex-manager Alex Ferguson. He officially retired as a player in 1993 and won the Division Two title with the Royals the following season and quickly adapted to the second flight during the next campaign, taking the team as high as second place by December 1994.

Leicester City

This spotlighted him as an up-and-coming young manager and he was offered the chance to move to Premier League Leicester City. His move in December 1994 came despite having agreed to a long-term contract to remain at Reading. However, he joined with the Foxes adrift in the relegation zone and was unable to keep them up, finishing second bottom.

He remained at Filbert Street post-relegation and set about launching a promotion campaign but did not see the season out after being approached by Wolverhampton Wanderers. He left to take control at Wolves in December 1995, less than 12 months after arriving at Leicester.

Wolverhampton Wanderers

McGhee moved to Wolves on 13 December 1995, taking his assistant Colin Lee along with him, following the sacking of Graham Taylor. The club's hopes of promotion lay in tatters at the time after just five wins from their previous 21 games, and his first game saw another loss, as they went down 1-0 to Port Vale at Molineux.

He quickly added midfielders Simon Osborn and Steve Corica and tried to implement a more passing game than the direct tactics of his predecessor. The team enjoyed a strong start to 1996, and had lifted themselves to the verge of the play-offs by March. However, their early season form returned in the final months and they failed to win any of their final eight fixtures, ending in 20th, just three points clear of relegation, marking their lowest finish since returning to the division in 1989.

McGhee was given further funds to invest in the summer and brought in Iwan Roberts to boost the attack. The 1996–97 season duly saw them launch a promotion campaign, with ambitions of an automatic spot. However, a poor string of results in the final ten games, allowed surprise package Barnsley to snatch second place behind runaway champions Bolton Wanderers, condemning Wolves to the play-offs. McGhee saw his team concede two late goals in a 3–1 defeat at Crystal Palace in their semi final tie, which ultimately cost them the chance of reaching the Premier League, despite a 2–1 victory in the return leg.

His failure to reach the top flight prompted a tirade from Wolves owner Sir Jack Hayward, who stated that he would no longer be "the golden tit", supplying the club with endless finance. He cut McGhee's spending power and also dismissed his own son Jonathan as chairman, who had been instrumental in bringing McGhee to the club, thus undermining his job security.[ citation needed ]

The 1997–98 season saw the club largely outside the play-off places, ending in ninth. McGhee's high point of the campaign was their FA Cup run which saw them make the semi finals for the first time since 1981, and marked his best Cup run as a manager. However, his Wembley dream was dashed by Arsenal (double winners that season) as they edged past the Midlanders 1–0 at Villa Park.

The following season started well for McGhee as he won his opening four games, but the following twelve brought just two victories. This prompted Wolves to fire him on 5 November 1998. His assistant Colin Lee took over the reins on a temporary basis, later made permanent.

He managed a total of 156 competitive games for Wolves; 64 of them were won, 38 drawn and 54 lost. [10]


On 6 July 2000, McGhee joined Coventry City, who were at the time managed by Gordon Strachan, as a scout. [11] After only two months he was appointed manager at Millwall who were playing in the third tier in September 2000, replacing the duo of Keith Stevens and Alan McLeary. McGhee swiftly won the Division Two title in his first season and led the club to the Division One play-offs in the following campaign. Here, he suffered more play-off agony as the club lost to a last minute Birmingham City goal to deny them a place in the final.

The 2002–03 season saw McGhee take the club to ninth, falling eight points short of another play-off finish. The next season saw things take a downward turn as his relationship with chairman Theo Paphitis strained and players began to be sold. McGhee left The New Den on 15 October 2003, following a 0–1 home defeat to Preston North End. [12]


McGhee was appointed manager of Brighton on 28 October 2003, just 13 days after leaving Millwall. He inherited the team left by Steve Coppell, who had moved to Reading. Brighton had been relegated to League One the previous season, but McGhee managed to regain promotion to the Championship in his first season as they won the play-offs, after beating Bristol City 1–0 in the final. He managed to keep the club in the Championship the following season in 2004–05, finishing 20th, their highest league position in 14 years.

However, he led the club to relegation the following season, when they were finally mathematically condemned at home by Sheffield Wednesday. McGhee was sacked as Brighton manager on 8 September 2006 after nearly three years with the club, following three consecutive defeats in the 2006–07 season. [13]


In 2006, he was linked with the vacant managerial post at Irish club Bohemians [14] and in February 2007 was reported to have applied for the manager's position at Swansea City. [15] However, on 18 June 2007, he was appointed new manager of Motherwell and to be assisted by Scott Leitch. [16]

McGhee transformed Motherwell from a team that just avoided relegation in the 2006–07 Scottish Premier League to finishing third in the 2007–08 Scottish Premier League, which meant that Motherwell qualified for the 2008–09 UEFA Cup. This was the first time in 13 years that Motherwell had qualified for European competition. Pundits believed this was due to the fluent, attacking style of football that McGhee had introduced. [17] Gordon Strachan, a longtime friend and former teammate of McGhee, recommended him for the then-vacant Scotland job in November 2007. However, despite making the shortlist of candidates, he eventually missed out on the post to George Burley. His sensitive handling of the death of club captain Phil O'Donnell, who collapsed on the pitch during a game with Dundee United and never regained consciousness, enhanced his profile within the club and the wider community.

On 23 May 2008, Hearts made an official approach to Motherwell asking them permission to speak to McGhee about making him their new manager, which Motherwell refused. [18] It was reported that McGhee wanted a meeting with Vladimir Romanov to seek reassurances about team selection and squad control at Hearts before moving. McGhee was expected to move, [19] but McGhee changed his mind before flying to Lithuania to meet with Romanov. [20]


On 12 June 2009, McGhee was confirmed as the new manager of Aberdeen. [21] His first competitive match in charge resulted in a 5–1 home defeat by Czech team Sigma Olomouc in the UEFA Europa League. [22] Aberdeen lost the return leg 3–0, resulting in an 8–1 aggregate defeat, [23] which is Aberdeen's heaviest defeat in UEFA competition. [24] After another poor result against First Division side Raith Rovers in February, McGhee said he was spat at by Aberdeen supporters. [25]

On 6 November 2010, Aberdeen fell to a humiliating 9–0 defeat at the hands of Celtic, which set a new club record defeat. [24] McGhee did not apologise for the performance, much to the ire of the fans. [26] McGhee had previously stated to the press "Go and look me up on Wikipedia. I've got a track record". [27] It was announced days later that McGhee had been given a vote of confidence to continue as manager. After further poor results, however, McGhee was sacked on 1 December. [28] The club were second bottom of the SPL and only avoided last place on goal difference. [29] His tenure ended with McGhee being statistically the second least successful Aberdeen manager, only ahead of Alex Miller, with just 17 wins from 62 matches (27.42%). [24]

Bristol Rovers

On 18 January 2012, McGhee was appointed manager of Bristol Rovers on a two-and-a-half-year contract. His first competitive match in charge was an away game at Cheltenham Town, where a 2–0 victory was secured for Bristol Rovers. [30] He presided over an upturn in form for Bristol Rovers which saw them go from relegation contenders to finishing in mid-table, including beating Burton Albion and Accrington Stanley 7–1 [31] and 5–1 [32] respectively in the final two home games of the season.

The following season, Rovers were expected to be amongst the contenders for promotion, but they struggled for form and were instead again in a relegation battle. On 15 December 2012, following a 4–1 loss to York City McGhee was sacked as manager with Bristol Rovers second from bottom of League Two. [33]

Scotland assistant

McGhee joined the coaching staff of the Scotland national side on 18 January 2013, as assistant to his close friend Gordon Strachan. [34] Upon his appointment, McGhee said his new job could revive his career following two managerial failures and expressed his delight of his new job. [35] McGhee said that he hoped to continue in the role on a part-time basis after being appointed Motherwell manager in October 2015. [36]

Motherwell (second spell)

McGhee was appointed manager of Motherwell for a second time on 13 October 2015. [37] He took the club from second bottom in the league to fourth place in early April. McGhee won the SPFL manager of the month award for March 2016. [38] Heavy defeats by Aberdeen (7–2) and Dundee (5–1) in February 2017 led to fan protests against McGhee. [39] This poor run of form and dissatisfaction with the team's performance resulted in McGhee leaving the club on 28 February 2017, with Motherwell three points above the automatic relegation spot. [40] [41]


On 13 November 2017, McGhee was appointed manager of League Two club Barnet. [42] Two months later, Graham Westley took over as Head Coach with McGhee moving to a "head of technical" role at the club. [43] On 19 March, McGhee was dismissed from this role. [44]

Eastbourne Borough

On 19 February 2019, McGhee agreed to take over at Eastbourne Borough until the end of the 2018/19 season in an interim position after the club had recently sacked their former manager Jamie Howell. [45] McGhee left the club at the end of the season after the appointment of Lee Bradbury. [46]

Stockport County

On 27 January 2021, McGhee joined National League side Stockport County as joint-assistant manager with Dave Conlon, assisting Simon Rusk who replaced long serving manager Jim Gannon. [47]

Managerial statistics

As of match played 27 April 2019[ citation needed ]
Managerial record by team and tenure
Reading 10 May 199114 December 1994183795153043.2
Leicester City 14 December 19947 December 199551161421031.4
Wolverhampton Wanderers 13 December 19955 November 1998159653955040.9
Millwall 25 September 200015 October 2003163753949046.0
Brighton & Hove Albion 28 October 20038 September 2006139403861028.8
Motherwell 18 June 200712 June 200988351736039.8
Aberdeen 12 June 20091 December 201062171332027.4
Bristol Rovers 18 January 201215 December 201245121221026.7
Motherwell 13 October 201528 February 201762221030035.5
Barnet 13 November 201715 January 201811308027.3
Eastbourne Borough (Caretaker)19 February 20197 May 201911146009.1


As a Player

Greenock Morton
1977–78 (second tier)
1979–80, 1983–84
1981–82, 1982–83, 1983–84
1985–86, 1987–88
1987–88, 1988–89

As a Manager


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  46. Many Thanks Mark
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