Scottish international Willie Donachie spent the majority of
his footballing career at Maine Road and helped Manchester City
to two League Cup finals, winning one and losing the other. A
classy defender, he made his debut in February 1970 and remained
in the City first team for the next decade. He joined Norwich
in September 1981 for £200,000 from American side Portland
Timbers for whom he had made 94 appearances. He failed to displace
Greg Downs in the Norwich side making
only 14 appearances before returning to Portland in March 1982.
He returned from the American North-West to England's equivalent
in November 1982 when he joined Burnley. 60 appearances later
he joined another Lancashire side, Oldham with whom he remained
as player coach in Joe Royle's managerial
setup. He followed Royle to Everton when he became their manager
After a period coaching for Stoke City, Willie rejoined Manchester
City to become Royle's Assistant Manager and has managed the team
during Royle's absence due to a hip replacement operation in October
1998. Willie was linked to a position at Blackburn under their
new manager Brian Kidd but Kidd opted for former United star Brian
McClair to be his assistant.
Over 15 years as partner to Joe Royle ended in May 2001 when Royle
was sacked at Man City. Willie opted to carry on at Maine Road
as First Team Coach under Kevin Keegan's reign. This lasted until
November 2001 when he moved across the Pennines to take up a role
as Terry Yorath's number two at Sheffield Wednesday. He quit Wednesday
the following autumn to take up a role as assistant to Joe Royle
at Ipswich Town.
When Royle departed in May 2006, Donachie expressed his interest
in succeeding his friend as Ipswich manager. When this position
was given to Jim Magilton in June 2006, Donachie left Portman
Road. He joined Millwall as Assistant to manager Nigel Spackman.
When Spackman was sacked in September 2006, Willie took over as
caretaker manager. One of his first acts was to return to Portman
Road to sign Danny Haynes on loan. He
was appointed manager of Millwall on November 22, 2006
Donachie was sacked by Millwall on 7th October 2007 after a poor
start to the 2007/8 season that saw the Lions at the bottom of
League One. Veteran defender Richard Shaw, 39, was pu in temporary
charge, assisted by Colin West.
In the spring of 2008, Willie was appointed coach of the Antigua
and Barbuda national team as they sought to qualify for the 2010
World Cup. Donachie said: Antigua is a poor country with
very basic facilities. Cricket is big but football is massive.
You see the kids playing in the streets still, playing on the
beaches, and always knocking the ball about. Basketball is popular
too but you have to be big and they are not by nature big people
so basketball is for the very few. With football though, anyone
can play - all you need is a ball. It takes me back to myself
growing up in Glasgow when we played in the streets ands parks."
They are also very humble people. The first game I was
involved in coaching there was with the Under 20s. It was on a
pitch with no grass, an astro-turf running track around it and
that is where the players got changed because there were no dressing
rooms.Then the players moved the goals that weighed a ton. It
was just so humbling to see an international team do that, because
even conference players would not get out of bed to do it. So,
I have a lot of respect for them because there are no airs and
graces. A fantastic challenge is so many different ways. It is
like going back in time. They have all the modern contraptions
i-pods, cars but there is still a lot of poverty but they are
religious and respectful. Kids here think they know everything
but in Antigua they still want to learn and are decent people.
His players comprise of hotel workers, builders, carpenters,
gardeners and electricians.
In July 2010, Willie was linked with the reserve team coach position
at Newcastle United. In December 2009 he was appointed Assistant
Director at Newcastle United's academy. In December 2010 he was
promoted to development coach, and then became Reserve Team Manager.
Donachie resigned from his position as Newcastle United's reserve
team manager on 6th February 2014, following allegations that
he hit a player, believed to be Remie Streete after a Under-21
development team defeat to Sunderland.
After coaching in California, he returned to England joining
Northern League side Consett Town as coach whose chairman Frank
Bell he had got to know. I was very impressed with the
set-up at Consett when I was here with Newcastle, and I thought
they were very nice people, said Donachie, who is keen
to return to the professional game. Id been coaching
out in America, and when that came to end I came home to see if
there was anything for me in England. When nothing came up, I
rang Frank and asked if I could help in any way. Theres
a lot of fear in football with managers and coaches thinking
that youre after their job but thats not the
case here. Everybody has been so friendly, which was what made
me think of the club in the first place when I found myself at
a loose end.
Donachie did not stay in non-league football for long, joining
Hartlepool on 23rd October 2014 as assistant manager to new manager
Murray and Donachie were sacked on 6th December 2014 with Hartlepool
bottom of League Two and knocked out of the FA Cup by non-league
In 2015 Willie was appoitned Head Coach for Californian club Temecula FC at the National Premier Soccer League level and will also serve as the Club's Football Advisor