Luigi “Lou” Macari is a Scottish former footballer and football manager. He played for Celtic, Manchester United and Swindon Town and was the manager of Swindon, West Ham United, Birmingham City, Stoke City, Celtic and Huddersfield Town. Lou is best remembered 12 memorable years at Man Utd – but so nearly ended up a Liverpool player.
Lou Macari & Bill Shankly
In 1973 the Scottish striker was courted by Anfield boss Bill Shankly, and was a guest as Liverpool took on Burnley in an FA Cup tie. Coincidentally, United assistant manager Pat Crerand was sat close by, learned of Liverpool’s intentions and persuaded Macari to have talks with United instead. Five days later Macari moved to Old Trafford for £200,000, leaving Shankly to claim that the striker would only have been a substitute at Anfield!
Macari had attracted attention as a young striker with Celtic. In six years with the Glasgow giants, he won two league championships and two Scottish Cups, and played in three League Cup finals. His fee raised a few eyebrows, but he quickly endeared himself to the United faithful by scoring on his debut, in a 2-2 draw with West Ham at Old Trafford.
Second Division Wins
Lou Macari helped United to the Second Division championship (finishing second in the scoring charts with 11); an FA Cup winner’s medal in 1977 and runners-up medals in 1976 and 1979. 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 he left in July 1984 to turn his hand to management.
Lou Macari: Player Manager
Macari’s first role was as player-manager of Swindon Town; which preceded spells at West Ham United, Birmingham City, Stoke City (twice) and Celtic. He also worked as a scout for the Republic of Ireland, and is a regular pundit on MUTV. He is a regular guest on Match Day Live before Manchester United home and away games.
Lou Macari: Speaker
As well as phone-in shows such as Wednesday Night Phone-in he occasionally does punditry for Sky Sports; and also writes regular comment pieces for the Stoke-on-Trent newspaper The Sentinel. He has given several guest talks at Staffordshire University on the Sports Journalism courses. Macari also owns the “Lou Macari Chip Shop” on Chester Road, near Old Trafford. He wrote his autobiography in October 2009 called Football, My Life.
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Matthew Willetts MA is the Director of Comicus who has over 35 years experience in television, film, theatre, and comedy club/cabaret entertainment, working as a performer, screenwriter, producer and agent. He lectured at Southampton Solent University in Comedy, Screenwriting, Television, Theatre & Radio. Matthew can sometimes be seen and heard on TV & Radio and often quoted in the national press and media publications. As well as speaking regularly at festivals and industry conferences, he has been a judge at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival and the Montreux Television Festival.
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