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Willie Donachie

Willie Donachie
Norwich Career: 1981-1982 (14 appearances)
Current Club: Accrington Stanley (Coach) / Montserrat (National Manager)
Date of Birth: 05/10/1951
Nationality: Scottish


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 in 1995.

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. “I’d 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. There’s a lot of fear in football – with managers and coaches thinking that you’re after their job – but that’s 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 Paul Murray.

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 Blyth Spartans.

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

In June 2017, he joined Accrington Stanley's Academy as Technical Skills Lead Coach. He will deliver technical sessions and assist in coach development with U9-13 groups and coach the U16s

In 2018, Donachie was appointed national team manager for the Carribean nation of Montserrat ahead of the CONCACAF Nations League. They are 202nd in FIFA's World Rankings.

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