McCartney John Image 1 Portsmouth (Manager) 1924

McCartney John Image 1 Portsmouth (Manager) 1924


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A native of Glasgow, John McCartney began as a full back with Cartvale at the age of 18 in 1884, later playing for Glasgow Thistle in 1885. In 1886 he joined Glasgow Rangers, staying for two years and making 11 first team appearances in 1886-87 before joining Cowlairs in 1888.

In 1893 he joined Second Division Newton Heath (now Manchester United), making his Football League debut at Burton Wanderers in September 1894 and playing 21 times, scoring once, before joining Luton Town in 1895. He helped Luton gain election to the Football League and played in Luton’s first ever League match on 4th September 1897, a 1-1 draw away to Leicester Fosse. He played 30 times that season, leaving at the end of it to join Barnsley. He scored 4 goals in 70 appearances for Barnsley before retiring in April 1901 to become Barnsley’s secretary-manager. He left Barnsley in May 1904 and returned to Scotland to manage St Mirren, guiding The Buddies to the 1908 Scottish Cup Final, where they lost 5-1 to Celtic.

In 1910 he left to take over as manager of Heart of Midlothian, where he remained until his resignation in October 1919. His spell in Edinburgh encompassed the club’s rise to the top of the Scottish League with a group of exciting young players he brought in, and the decimation of that team after they enlisted together to fight in the First World War, with several killed and others wounded. The closest he came to silverware was in the 1919 Victory Cup where Hearts were defeated in the Final by his old club St Mirren.

In May 1920, he was appointed manager of Portsmouth. He guided Portsmouth from Division Three (South) to the First Division, winning the Third Division (South) Championship in 1924, and finishing Second Division runners up in 1927, but resigned due to ill health in May 1927 before he could manage Pompey in the top flight. In September 1927 he returned to management with Luton Town, but with his health declining further, he resigned in December 1929 and retired from football.

McCartney also authored two booklets documenting Scottish footballers in The Great War and those from Hearts who perished.






Additional information

Weight 0.25 kg
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