Neil McDonald (footballer)

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Neil McDonald
McDonald as a coach with West Ham United in 2012
Personal information
Full nameNeil Raymond McDonald
Date of birth (1965-11-02) 2 November 1965 (age 55)
Place of birth Wallsend, England
Position(s) Right back, Midfielder
Youth career
Wallsend Boys Club
Carlisle United
Senior career*
1983–1988 Newcastle United 180 (24)
1988–1991 Everton 90 (4)
1991–1994 Oldham Athletic 21 (1)
1994–1995 Bolton Wanderers 6 (0)
1995–1998 Preston North End 34 (0)
National team
1986–1987 England U21 5 (0)
Teams managed
2000–2005 Bolton Wanderers Reserves
2006–2007 Carlisle United
2007 Östersunds FK
2009 Blackburn Rovers (caretaker)
2015–2016 Blackpool
2017–2018 Limerick
* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only

Neil Raymond McDonald (born 2 November 1965 in Wallsend, North Tyneside) is a football manager, coach and former player, in the right back and midfield positions. [1]


During his career he played for the England under 21 team. As a manager, he has been in charge at Carlisle United and Östersunds FK. On 18 December 2008 he was appointed Assistant Manager of Blackburn Rovers, and was sacked on 13 December 2010 along with manager Sam Allardyce. On 1 June 2011, Allardyce announced McDonald as his assistant manager at West Ham United. On 2 June 2015, McDonald was appointed as manager of Blackpool on a rolling one-year contract, leaving the post on 18 May 2016.

He was previously assistant manager of English League One side Scunthorpe United.

Playing career

McDonald started his playing career at his local youth team Wallsend Boys Club before joining Carlisle United as a schoolboy, where he represented England at schoolboy level. He then joined Newcastle United as an apprentice where he went on to play over 200 league and cup games. He also was an England Youth and England under 21 international while at St. James'.

McDonald then joined Everton, for £525,000, in the summer of 1988. At Everton he played in the 1989 FA Cup Final against local rivals Liverpool. Everton lost the game 3–2.

McDonald's Everton career lasted 3 years with McDonald playing over 100 league and cup games. Memorable moments, apart from the 1989 FA Cup final appearance, were being part of the Everton side that topped the First Division in the late autumn of 1989 (though they were unable to sustain their title challenge in the long run and finished sixth) and being voted club player of the year for the 1990–91 season. [2]

In October 1991 he joined Oldham Athletic, newly promoted to the top tier, for £500,000. He stayed there for three seasons, overseeing two successful battles against relegation before they were finally relegated from the FA Premier League in 1994. He also helped them reach the FA Cup semi finals in 1994, and they were 1–0 up against Manchester United in extra time at Wembley when a late equaliser from Mark Hughes forced a replay and put Oldham's dreams of a first ever FA Cup final appearance on ice. A few days later they were crushed 4–1 in the replay and McDonald was robbed of yet another chance of FA Cup glory.

After Oldham's relegation, he signed for Bolton Wanderers and helped them win promotion to the FA Premier League as Division One playoff winners in 1994–95, as well as reaching the Football League Cup final where they lost 2–1 to Liverpool. He was out of action for the most part of his time with Bolton with a broken ankle. but returned in time for their end of season Play Off, firstly he was sent off in their semi-final defeat against Wolves and then he was subbed at half time in Bolton's Play Off win over Reading at Wembley Stadium.

A £40,000 move took him to Preston North End in November 1995, and he remained at Deepdale until his retirement from playing at the end of the 1998–99 season. In his first season at Preston, they won promotion as Division Three champions, and by the time of his retirement three years later, they had qualified for the Division Two playoffs. Although they lost out that season, they won promotion a year later as champions. He ended his playing career at Preston a year after the appointment of David Moyes (later manager of McDonald's former club Everton) as manager.

Coaching career

McDonald was a coach at several teams. His first coaching job was with Preston North End he started this in 1997 as a player/coach and taking the coaching role on a full-time basis in 1998. Then in the year 2000 he joined Sam Allardyce's backroom staff at Bolton Wanderers as first-team coach and earning his UEFA Pro Licence while at The Reebok. He joined Crystal Palace in 2005 to become Iain Dowie's assistant.

He subsequently became Carlisle United manager in summer 2006, [3] following Paul Simpson's departure to Preston North End.

McDonald had a winning start in his first competitive match as manager, beating Doncaster Rovers 1–0 on 5 August 2006 at Brunton Park in League One. The team finished the season in 8th place, Carlisle's highest league placing in 20 years. McDonald was sacked from his post as Carlisle United manager on 13 August 2007, a statement on the club's website read "The board of Carlisle United regret to say that they have lost confidence in Neil McDonald and are terminating his contract forthwith." [4]

On 11 September 2007 he took over as manager of Swedish club Östersunds FK, [5] managing the team for a five-week period, during which he saved the club from relegation.

In November 2007 he joined Lincoln City, where former Newcastle teammate Peter Jackson had previously been appointed manager, as his assistant. [6] This appointment didn't last long however, as a few months later in February 2008, McDonald was appointed as head coach under Gary McAllister at Leeds United.

On 18 December 2008 he was reunited with Sam Allardyce at Blackburn Rovers, as assistant manager. On 21 November 2009 it was announced that McDonald would take charge of three Blackburn Rovers matches against Bolton Wanderers, Fulham and Stoke City during which time manager Sam Allardyce would be undergoing heart surgery. He also took charge of a fourth match in the Football League Cup in which Rovers played league leaders Chelsea for a place in the semi-finals. Rovers won the game after a penalty shootout after a 3–3 draw. On 13 December 2010 McDonald was sacked by Blackburn's new owners along with Allardyce. Following his appointment as manager, on 1 June 2011, Allardyce announced McDonald as his assistant manager at West Ham United. [7]

On 2 June 2015 he was announced as manager of Blackpool. [8] Following Blackpool's relegation to League Two, McDonald left his role as Blackpool manager. [9]

On 24 October 2016, McDonald was appointed as assistant head coach at Hull City. [10] He left the club in January 2017, following the sacking of head coach Mike Phelan. [11]

McDonald was announced as the new manager of League of Ireland Premier Division club Limerick F.C. on 18 May 2017. [12]

On 4 January 2018, McDonald joined Scunthorpe United to become Graham Alexander's assistant. [13]

On 30 May 2018, McDonald joined Swindon Town as assistant manager to Phil Brown. [14]

On 12 November 2018, McDonald was sacked as assistant manager at Swindon Town [15]

On 1 October 2019, McDonald joined indian club Hyderabad in ISL as assistant manager to Phil Brown. [16] On 11 January 2020, Phil Brown and McDonald was sacked by Hyderabad for poor performance of the newly formed club. [17]

19 May 2021 appointed assistant coach to Matt Taylor at Walsall FC

Managerial stats

Updated 4 January 2018. [18] [19] [20]
Carlisle United Flag of England.svg 17 June 200613 August 200751191418037.25
Östersund Flag of Sweden.svg 11 September 200713 October 20075221040.00
Blackpool Flag of England.svg 2 June 201518 May 201650131027026.00
Limerick Flag of Ireland.svg 18 May 20174 January 20182610511038.46

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  1. "League Managers Association - NEIL McDONALD". Retrieved 17 February 2020.
  2. "Neil McDonald — Everton FC —". Retrieved 1 June 2011.
  3. "McDonald appointed Carlisle boss". BBC Sport. 29 June 2006. Retrieved 28 September 2006.
  4. "Carlisle dismiss manager McDonald". BBC Sport. 13 August 2007. Retrieved 13 August 2007.
  5. "Ex-Magpie Lands Swedish Post". Newcastle United official website. 11 September 2007. Retrieved 11 September 2007.[ permanent dead link ]
  6. "McDonald is new Lincoln assistant". BBC Sport. 6 November 2007. Retrieved 6 November 2007.
  7. "Hammers welcome Big Sam". ITN. 1 June 2011. Archived from the original on 26 September 2011. Retrieved 1 June 2011.
  8. "McDonald Appointed Blackpool Manager". Blackpool F.C. Retrieved 2 June 2015.
  9. "Neil McDonald: Blackpool part company with boss after League One relegation". BBC Sport. Retrieved 19 May 2016.
  10. "Hull City: Neil McDonald named assistant coach". BBC Sport. Retrieved 24 October 2016.
  11. "Tigers Confirm Coaching Staff Departures". Hull City A.F.C. 4 January 2017. Archived from the original on 4 January 2017. Retrieved 4 January 2017.
  12. Mackey, Liam (17 May 2017). "Neil McDonald is Limerick FC's new boss". Irish Examiner. Retrieved 12 August 2018.
  13. "Neil McDonald joins the Iron as assistant manager" . Retrieved 4 January 2018.
  14. "Neil McDonald: Swindon Town appoint new number two to manager Phil Brown". BBC Sport. 30 May 2018. Retrieved 12 August 2018.
  16. "ISL 2019-20: Hyderabad FC sack Phil Brown". 11 January 2020. Retrieved 21 February 2020.
  17. "Hyderabad FC sack coach Phil Brown". The Week. Retrieved 21 February 2020.
  18. "Carlisle United matches". Soccerway. 5 January 2017. Retrieved 5 January 2017.
  19. "Östersunds matches". Soccerway. 5 January 2017. Retrieved 5 January 2017.
  20. "Blackpool matches". Soccerway. 5 January 2017. Retrieved 5 January 2017.