Frank McAvennie: Wikis


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Frank McAvennie
Personal information
Full name Francis McAvennie
Date of birth 22 November 1959 (1959-11-22) (age 50)
Place of birth    Glasgow, Scotland
Playing position Striker
Youth career
Drumchapel Amateurs
Johnstone Burgh
Senior career1
Years Club App (Gls)*
St. Mirren
West Ham United
West Ham United
Aston Villa
South China
Swindon Town (loan)
St. Mirren
135 (48)
085 (33)
055 (27)
068 (16)
003 0(0)
000 0(0)
00? 0(?)
030 (10)
007 0(0)
000 0(0)
003 0(2)
007 0(0)   
National team
1985–1988 Scotland 005 0(1)

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

Francis "Frank" McAvennie (born 22 November 1959 in Glasgow) is a former Scottish football striker.


Early life

McAvennie grew up in Milton and attended St Augustine's Secondary.

Club career

Early career

McAvennie started his playing career in Scottish Junior League football. He did not move into professional football until he joined St Mirren in 1980, after his 20th birthday.

Before turning professional, he had joined the Territorial Army and later had trials with the British Army but was not accepted for a role with them due to his inability to hit the target during shooting practices. [1]

West Ham United

His strong form in Scotland attracted attention from south of the border, and John Lyall signed him for West Ham United in 1985 and he formed a formidable partnership with young English striker Tony Cottee. In his first season, he helped West Ham to their highest ever final position in English football when they came third. He scored 26 goals, one fewer than the division's top goalscorer Gary Lineker, in the English Football League. That West Ham team became known as The Boys of 86. They came just four points off winning what would had been the first (and to date the only) top division title of their history.

Unfortunately, McAvennie and his team-mates were denied UEFA Cup action for the following season due to the ban on English clubs in European competitions, which had started a year earlier due to the Heysel disaster.

However, they were less successful the following season, finishing 15th, as McAvennie scored just seven goals from 36 games. [2]


He played eight games for the Hammers in 1987-88, failing to score, before he moved to Celtic for £750,000 on 2 October 1987. He helped them win the Scottish Premier League and Scottish Cup double. The Cup Final was particularly memorable for McAvennie as he scored two late goals to beat Dundee United 2-1.

He also recaptured his goalscoring form in the league while at Parkhead, managing 15 goals in 1987-88 and a further 12 in 1988-89. [3]

Back to West Ham

McAvennie returned to West Ham United in March 1989 in a £1.2million deal, making him their record signing. According to then Celtic manager Billy McNeill's autobiography, McAvennie wanted to return to London and his model girlfriend Jenny Blyth. McAvennie claims in his autobiography that Celtic were refusing to pay him a signing-on fee. Just before his return to Upton Park, Celtic had accepted an offer from title chasing Arsenal, whose manager George Graham was looking for a proven goalscorer to partner Alan Smith. However, McAvennie turned down the chance to join Arsenal and happily accepted John Lyall's offer shortly afterwards. While Arsenal cruised to the First Division title, West Ham were relegated to the Second Division and McAvennie failed to score a single goal in the remaining nine games of the season.

In any event this second spell in London was not as successful as his previous one. Things got worse for McAvennie and West Ham when the striker suffered a broken leg early in the 1989-90 season, following a challenge by Chris Kamara, which put him out for almost a season.

McAvennie recovered for the 1990-91 season, as West Ham won promotion and reached the FA Cup semi-finals. He played 34 league games and scored 10 goals, now partnering Trevor Morley up front (his previous West Ham strike partner Tony Cottee had departed to Everton in August 1988).

In 1992, he signed off in style at West Ham, scoring a hat-trick in his final match against Nottingham Forest, but West Ham had already been relegated. His tally for that frustrating season was just six goals from 20 league games. [4]

Aston Villa

McAvennie then accepted an offer from Ron Atkinson to sign for Aston Villa, but played just three games in the new Premier League alongside Dalian Atkinson before Villa signed Dean Saunders and he lost his place in the team, lingering in the squad until January 1993 as Villa were challenging for the Premier League title (they finally finished runners-up to Manchester United. McAvennie did not score for Villa. [5]

Back to Celtic

McAvennie returned to Celtic, managed by Liam Brady, in January 1993. He scored nine goals in 19 league games that season,[5] though Celtic could only manage a third place finish as Rangers secured their fifth successive title.

In 1993-94, McAvennie managed just 11 league appearances, scoring once, as he lost his place in the team following Liam Brady's departure and the appointment of Lou Macari as manager. In February 1994, Macari loaned McAvennie to English Premier League strugglers Swindon Town, and he made just seven league appearances and failed to score as the Robins were relegated in bottom place at the end of a season in which they managed a mere five wins and conceded 100 goals. About the only bright spot of his spell at the County Ground came in March when he helped the Robins hold league leaders (and eventual double winners) Manchester United to a 2-2 draw.

Falkirk and St Mirren

He also had a short spell at Falkirk, newly promoted to the Scottish Premier Division for 1994-95, and scoring twice in three games before dropping down a division and signing for his first club St Mirren. He played seven games for St Mirren that season, failing to score, before retiring as a player at the age of 35.

International career

McAvennie was called into the Scotland national team in December 1985 for the World Cup qualifying play-off with Australia. McAvennie scored on his debut in a 2-0 win. He was subsequently called up to the Scotland national team for the 1986 World Cup, under interim national coach Alex Ferguson following the death of Jock Stein on 10 September 1985.

In popular culture

More recently, he has been parodied regularly on the BBC's football comedy programme Only An Excuse with such catchphrases as "where's the burds?" - the character became so popular that there was a short lived spin-off entitled I, Macca. This derives from McAvennie's popular nickname in Scotland, "Macca".

Frank also has a place on the Saturday morning football show, Soccer AM - where the car park is named after him. During the regular spot where fans and celebrities try to kick a ball through a hole in a target, McAvennie missed; in his frustration he lashed out at the ball, which hit one of the ball boys in the face. The location has been known ever since as the Frank McAvennie Car Park.


During his playing career he reputedly enjoyed a playboy lifestyle involving drink, drugs and a good number of women. [6]

On 12 January 2009, McAvennie received a four month suspended sentence for affray following an incident in July 2008 in which he headbutted a man in Douglas on the Isle of Man [7]


  1. ^ Revealed: Football legend Frank McAvennie was rejected by Army because he was bad shot Daily Record, 6 January 2010
  2. ^ Frank McAvennie - West Ham United FC
  3. ^ Frank McAvennie - Celtic FC
  4. ^ Frank McAvennie - West Ham United FC
  5. ^ a b Frank McAvennie - Celtic FC
  6. ^ icNewcastle - Face to face: Frank McAvennie
  7. ^ BBC News

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