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Bob McGrory
Mcgrory.JPG
Personal information
Full name Robert McGrory
Date of birth 17 October 1891
Place of birth    Bishopton, Renfrewshire, Scotland
Date of death    May 24, 1954 (aged 62)
Place of death    Glasgow, Scotland
Playing position Full-back
Senior career1
Years Club App (Gls)*
c. 1919
c. 1920
1921–35
Dumbarton
Burnley
Stoke City

3
511[1][2]   
Teams managed
1935–1952
c. 1953
Stoke City
Merthyr Tydfil

1 Senior club appearances and goals
counted for the domestic league only.
* Appearances (Goals)

Robert McGrory (17 October 1891–24 May 1954) was a Scottish footballer who played as a defender. After starting his career at Dumbarton, he later moved to the English club Burnley where he made three appearances. In 1921, he moved to First Division side Stoke City where he made 511 appearances as a full-back. He later became a football manager, following his retirement from playing. McGrory spent 17 years at Stoke City as manager, before leaving in 1952.

Contents

Playing career

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Early career

Born in Bishopton, Renfrewshire, Bob McGrory began work as an apprentice joiner on Clydeside. However, he chose to follow a career in football instead and signed a contract with the Scottish side Dumbarton F.C.. He then moved to English side Burnley F.C., where he made three league appearances.[1]

Stoke City

In May 1921, McGrory was signed by Stoke City manager Arthur Shallcross, who at the time were playing in the Football League First Division. McGrory went on to make 511 League and Cup appearances for the club, the majority of these being as a right-back. He was a strong tackling defender, with good positional sense, this combined with his consistency and leadership skills led to him being given the club captaincy. In 1932, at the age of 41, he decided to discontinue his playing career and instead took over as the club's reserve team manager. However, injuries to first-team players meant McGrory was recalled to the senior side by Stoke's manager Tom Mather. In his final season as a player, 1934–35, McGrory featured in all 42 of Stoke's league games. His final appearance came in May 1935, at the age of 43, marking the end of a 14 year spell as a player for Stoke.[1]

Managerial career

Stoke City

Stoke's manager, Tom Mather, decided to leave the club in 1935 to take the same position at Newcastle United. McGrory was appointed as the club's new manager for the 1935–36 season.[3] His first season in charge was a remarkable success as Stoke achieved their highest league finish, fourth in the First Division. McGrory oversaw the development of the club's youngsters, such as Stanley Matthews, Freddie Steele and Neil Franklin. McGrory surprised many supporters when he sold the club's top goalscorer, Tommy Sale, to Blackburn Rovers in March 1936, for the sum of £6,000. However, McGrory had confidence in youngster Freddie Steele, whom he had earmarked as a potential replacement for Sale. Steele went on to score 220 goals during his tenure at the club. He brought Sale back to the club two years later, due to an injury to Steele. The decision paid off as Sale scored 23 times in the 1938–39 season.[1]

After the resumption of the league in 1946–47 (following the Second World War), Stoke mounted a serious title challenge: the club needed a win in their final game of the season to win the First Division title, but a 2–1 defeat to Sheffield United gave the title to Liverpool F.C..[4] McGrory decided to sell Stanley Matthews three games before the end of the 1946–47 season to join Blackpool F.C. for a fee of £11,500.[5][1]

McGrory's side did not come closer to league success than in 1946–47 and he left the club at the end of the 1951–52, following a 20th place finish in the First Division. This marked the end of his 17 year management career at the club,[6] in which he had maintained the club's status in the First Division for 10 seasons.[7] He had managed the club in 192 league games, of which 90 had been victories. He then had a short spell as manager of Welsh side Merthyr Tydfil of the Southern Football League.[3] He remained in close contact with Stoke City following his departure, until his death in Glasgow on 24 May 1954.[1]

References

  1. ^ a b c d e f Matthews, Tony (1997). "McGrory, Robert". A-Z of Stoke City. The Breedon Books Publishing Company Limited. pp. 145–146. ISBN 1 85983 100 1.  
  2. ^ Appearances in League and Cup games. No goal data is available.
  3. ^ a b "Stoke City FC Managers". Stoke City F.C.. http://www.stokecityfc.premiumtv.co.uk/page/Managers/0,,10310,00.html. Retrieved 2007-08-14.  
  4. ^ "Season 1946-47". rsssf.com. http://www.rsssf.com/engpaul/FLA/1946-47.html. Retrieved 2007-08-14.  
  5. ^ "1940-1950 So Near, So Far". Stoke City F.C.. http://www.stokecityfc.premiumtv.co.uk/page/ClubHistoryDetail/0,,10310~401174,00.html. Retrieved 2007-06-24.  
  6. ^ "Stoke City FC League Statistics". Stoke City F.C.. http://www.stokecityfc.premiumtv.co.uk/page/ClubStatistics/0,,10310,00.html. Retrieved 2007-08-14.  
  7. ^ World War II meant the League was suspended for seven years from 1939–46.

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