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Stuart McCall
Stuart mccall.jpg
Personal information
Full name Andrew Stuart Murray McCall
Date of birth 10 June 1964 (1964-06-10) (age 45)
Place of birth    Leeds, England
Height 5 ft 7 in (1.70 m)
Playing position Midfielder
Club information
Current club Bradford City (Manager)
Youth career

Pudsey Juniors
Farsley Celtic
Bradford City
Senior career1
Years Club App (Gls)*
Bradford City
Bradford City
Sheffield United
238 (37)
103 0(6)
194 (14)
157 0(8)
071 0(2)
763 (67)   
National team
Scotland U21
002 0(0)
040 0(1)
Teams managed
Bradford City (caretaker)
Bradford City

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

Andrew Stuart Murray McCall (born 10 June 1964), usually known as Stuart McCall, is a former footballer who played in central midfield. He played a total of 763 league games during his career, the 13th highest of all British footballers. He is now a football manager, in charge of League Two side Bradford City.

McCall started his professional career with Bradford City, where he made his senior debut in 1982. He played six seasons at Valley Parade, during which time he won the Division Three championship, a title which was overshadowed by the Bradford fire disaster when 56 people died and in which his father Andy was injured. After missing out on promotion in 1987–88, McCall moved to Everton, for whom he scored twice but finished on the losing side in the 1989 FA Cup Final. In 1991, he moved to Rangers, with whom he spent seven seasons and won six league titles, three Scottish Cups and two Scottish League Cups. McCall returned to Bradford City as captain to take them into the top division of English football for the first time in 77 years. After four seasons he moved to Sheffield United, where he retired as a player in 2005.

Despite being born in Leeds, England, McCall qualified to play for Scotland through his Scottish father and won 40 caps for Scotland, and he scored one goal in the 1990 World Cup in Italy. He played in two European Championships but his international career ended after he was left out of the 1998 World Cup squad.

McCall was part of the coaching staff during his second spell at Bradford City, briefly serving as caretaker–player manager in 2000. He continued his coaching at Sheffield United and was assistant manager to Neil Warnock until May 2007, when he returned to Bradford City for a third time, this time as manager on 1 June 2007.


Early life

Stuart McCall was born on 10 June 1964 in Leeds, England, to Scottish parents Andy, a former professional footballer, and Jean McCall.[1] He was the couple's third child after Leslie and Janette, who were 20 and 15 respectively when Stuart was born.[1] The family home was just round the corner from Leeds United's Elland Road ground where McCall would spend many Saturday afternoons watching United, dreaming of following his father and playing for Leeds, even after the family moved to Wortley.[2][3] McCall played football for Upper Wortley Primary School and Thornhill Middle School, even scoring a winning goal for the latter in a cup final when he came on as a substitute with his arm in a sling.[4] McCall also played table tennis as a schoolboy but excelled at football, captaining the Leeds under-11 boys team and playing for other Leeds representative sides.[5] McCall's parents split and he made up for his size when he moved to one of Leeds' toughest estates and played for pub sides by the age of 14.[5] He moved schools to Harrington High and also played for local young sides Pudsey Juniors, Holbeck and later Farsley Celtic.[6] McCall thought he had missed his chance of playing professionally after a string of other players were signed by professional clubs, until Farsley played Bradford City's junior side in a friendly and he impressed coach Bryan Edwards enough to be asked for a trial.[7]

Club career


Bradford City

McCall came through City's youth system after he was signed by George Mulhall in 1980 from Farsley Celtic at the age of 16,[8][9] before becoming an apprentice in June 1981.[9][10] Mulhall's successor, Roy McFarland gave McCall his debut at Reading on 28 August 1982—the opening day of the 1982–83 season—when he deputised for Ces Podd at right back.[11] He had played just six league games by 29 January 1983 when he made the first of 134 consecutive league appearances, all in midfield under new manager Trevor Cherry.[12] City finished 12th in Division Three that season.[13] The following season City struggled to make up for the absence of Bobby Campbell, who had left to join Derby County, and won just one of their first fifteen games,[14] until Cherry bought Campbell back from Derby, and City won a record ten consecutive games on their way to a seventh place finish.[14]

During the summer of 1984, Cherry made the two key signings of central defender Dave Evans and right winger John Hendrie to build on the previous season's high finish.[15] McCall was an integral part of the team as City won the Division Three championship in 1984–85, during which he scored eight goals as one of two ever-present players.[9] The title was assured in the penultimate game when McCall scored the second goal in a 2–0 victory over Bolton Wanderers.[16][17] The league title was paraded before the final game of the season on 11 May 1985 at home to Lincoln City. However, the club's title was overshadowed when 56 people died in the Bradford City disaster when the Valley Parade ground's main stand caught fire after 40 minutes of play, during which McCall's father, who was with other family members, was badly injured.[18] After the fire, McCall, still in his kit, spent several hours driving from the ground to his sister's house, then to Bradford Royal Infirmary and Pinderfields Hospital trying to find his father.[19] His father had suffered severe burns and needed skin grafts on his hands and head and was in hospital for several weeks.[19]

For the following 19 months, the club played games away from Valley Parade. Cherry and the players became a close-knit team, attending funerals of the victims and other engagements in the months that followed, and the club's 13th place finish in Division Two in 1985–86 was hailed a major achievement.[20] During Bradford's time away from Valley Parade, McCall also turned his back on Leeds United, the team he had supported as a child, after their fans set fire to a chip van at Odsal Stadium.[3] McCall became club captain in November 1986, aged just 21, after Peter Jackson moved to Newcastle United.[10] Under Cherry's replacement, Terry Dolan, the club held off any relegation threats to finish tenth in 1986–87. Like Jackson, McCall and Hendrie were both keen to move to a Division One club, but they agreed in 1987 to stay for one final season.[9]

Dolan brought in Paul Tomlinson, Brian Mitchell and Lee Sinnott in a bid to help McCall and Hendrie realise their dreams with City.[21] They mounted a promotion challenge in 1987–88 and were top for much of the season until they faltered in the New Year. When promotion was missed initially by one point on the last day of the season after a 3–2 defeat against Ipswich Town and then through play-off defeat to Middlesbrough, McCall left the club, signing for Everton for £850,000 in June 1988.[10] He had played 238 league games for the club, scoring 37 goals, and in total played 285 games, scoring 46 goals. McCall was later outspoken in his autobiography, The Real McCall, about City's failure to strengthen the side in order to secure promotion.[22]

I thought about transfer deadline day and Tordoff saying we should sell before buying. One or two new faces would have taken us over the finishing line, I was sure of it, and it nagged away. It wasn't about gambling, it was about lack of ambition.

—Stuart McCall, The Real McCall[23]

His departure was soured when he was forced to go to the Football League with a Professional Footballers' Association representative to win £8,327.15 of an unpaid signing-on fee.[22][24]


McCall joined Everton at a time when its former triumphant side of the mid 1980s had broken up, following the ban on English sides competing in Europe, which marked the start of a period of underachievement at Goodison Park.[25][26] His Everton debut came in a 4–0 victory over Newcastle United on 27 August 1988 against his former teammate Hendrie, who was making his debut for Newcastle.[27] McCall also returned to Valley Parade for a League Cup tie, but his Everton side were knocked out by Bradford 3–1 on 14 December 1988.[28] He started 29 league games in 1988–89 as well as another four substitute appearances, but failed to score in the league. He was also a substitute in the 1989 FA Cup Final when he scored Everton's equaliser in the Merseyside derby against Liverpool to take the game into extra-time. He scored another equaliser during extra-time, but Liverpool's own substitute Ian Rush also scored two to secure a 3–2 victory for Liverpool.[29]

McCall made a second appearance in an Everton shirt at Valley Parade, when he was invited by former teammate Mark Ellis to bring a side for his testimonial. In three seasons at Everton, McCall played 103 league games as well as earned his first caps with Scotland but he failed to lift any trophies as the club finished eighth, sixth and ninth in the league. Apart from the FA Cup final defeat in 1989, the closest he came to winning a trophy at Everton was in the 1989-90 season, when Everton topped the league in late autumn and remained in contention for the title for the most the rest of the season until disappointing form in the run-in saw them finish sixth.[30]


In 1991, Rangers paid £1.2 million for McCall.[31] Rangers had just won their third successive Scottish Premier Division title. Under manager Walter Smith, McCall ended up playing in the final six of the club's nine successive Scottish league titles that firmly established them as Scotland's top club side after several years of being matched and often overtaken by Celtic and Aberdeen. In his first season at Ibrox, Rangers won the league and cup double, before they achieved greater success in 1992–93, winning both cups 2–1 against Aberdeen and coming nine points ahead of Aberdeen in the league.[32] McCall also had European success that season when the Glasgow club narrowly missed out on an appearance in the UEFA Champions League 1992–93 final, coming second in the semi-final group stage to eventual winners Olympique de Marseille.[33] In 1993–94, Rangers added another Scottish League Cup title along with the league championship, but lost 1–0 in the final of the Scottish Cup to Dundee United, surprisingly being denied a second successive treble. The following season saw Rangers win the league by their greatest margin as they finished 15 points ahead of Motherwell, but they failed to reach the final of either of the domestic cups. Although their winning margin was reduced to four points, from city rivals Celtic, in 1995–96, Rangers' points tally of 87 was a record-high total. McCall played in his fourth Scottish Cup final as Rangers defeated Hearts 5–1. Rangers again pushed Celtic into second place in 1996–97 and defeated Hearts 4–3 in the Scottish League Cup. But with the club chasing an unprecedented 10th straight title in 1997–98 they had to settle for the runners-up position, with Celtic winning the league by just two points on the final day of the season. McCall was substituted in the Scottish Cup final as Rangers went the season without picking up a single title for the first season in McCall's time at the club.[32]

In February 2008, McCall became the 71st inductee into the Rangers hall of fame. McCall's former teammate and Rangers assistant manager Ally McCoist presented him with the award.[34]

Back to Bradford City

McCall still had one year left on his Rangers contract in 1998, but much of the team that Walter Smith had built had left and McCall was allowed to leave on a free transfer by new manager Dick Advocaat, as long as he joined an English club.[9] Barnsley and Huddersfield Town were both interested in signing McCall, but he rejoined Bradford City as club captain.[35] Rookie manager Paul Jewell put together a squad which emerged as surprise promotion contenders after two seasons spent battling relegation, adding other new signings, including central midfield partner Gareth Whalley and striker Lee Mills, who went on to be club's top goal-scorer.[36] The season started off slowly with just one win from the first seven games, but by the latter half of the season, City were vying with Ipswich Town and Birmingham City for the second promotion spot behind runaway leaders Sunderland. Loan signing Lee Sharpe and Dean Windass were added to the ranks and City had the chance to seal promotion in their penultimate game against relegation-threatened Oxford United. The game finished as a 0–0 draw, with McCall heading over the goal in the final minutes, taking the promotion bid to the final game of the season.[37] Days later he was named the club's player of the year.[38] A 3–2 victory over Wolverhampton Wanderers at Molineux on 9 May 1999 ensured promotion to the Premier League and denied Ipswich Town—the team that had thwarted McCall and Bradford 11 years before.[39] Following the game, the players were celebrating with fans at the club's ground, when McCall fell off a car after drinking for more than five hours after the end of the game.[40]

Bradford were expected to struggle in their first season in the top flight for 77 years.[36] Jewell signed David Wetherall, Dean Saunders and Neil Redfearn, all experienced top flight performers, but City were in the bottom four teams for most of the season. It was Bradford's home form—they earned 26 of their 36 points at Valley Parade—that was key to City avoiding relegation, which was narrowly averted by two points after a shock 1–0 final day victory over Liverpool in 1999–2000, sending Wimbledon down instead.[41] When Jewell left only days after the season ended, McCall was appointed assistant manager to Chris Hutchings,[42] and subsequently served as caretaker manager for two games when Hutchings was sacked after just 12 games of the 2000–01 league season.[43] City were relegated with just 26 points. During a 6–1 defeat to West Yorkshire rivals Leeds United in the penultimate game, McCall and team-mate Andy Myers fought on the pitch.[44]

McCall stayed on for one more season before he was released by manager Nicky Law in May 2002, shortly before the club went into administration for the first time after finishing 15th in Division One. Laws had taken over from Jim Jeffries five months earlier.[45] His playing career at Bradford City had looked uncertain in December 2001 before Law arrived, when previous manager Jim Jefferies had left McCall out of the side in a 3–1 defeat at Manchester City following a training ground dispute.[46][47] However, it was Jefferies who lost out in the dispute when he resigned his post a week later after summit talks with chairman Geoffrey Richmond.[48] In April 2002, McCall's testimonial match against Rangers attracted a crowd of more than 21,000 to Valley Parade.[49] Two years later, he played one more time in City colours in a Save Our City appeal match organised by Bradford's evening newspaper, the Telegraph & Argus, to raise funds for the club, who were now in administration for a second time.[50][51]

Sheffield United

On 2 July 2002 McCall joined Sheffield United, where he played an integral part in their first-team side, despite being 38, and also coached the reserves to the league title.[52] He played 71 league games over the next two seasons, and scored twice, including a winner against former side Bradford.[53] He was in the side that reached the Division One play-off final in 2003 as well as the semi-finals of both cup competitions that year.[54] However he and Dean Windass, who was also now at Sheffield United, were both left out of the play-off final, as United lost 3–0 to Wolverhampton Wanderers.[55] McCall played just two League Cup games in the 2004–05 season, and retired just a few weeks before his 41st birthday.[56] His career total of 763 league games placed him in 13th position on the all-time appearance list of British footballers.[57]

International career

McCall (blue) playing for Scotland against Netherlands at Villa Park during Euro 96

McCall was picked for England and Scotland under 21 sides on the same day in 1984,[58] and chose to play for England in a game against Turkey. However, he was only picked as a substitute and the referee blew the final whistle with McCall waiting to come on.[59] He told Scottish newspaper Glasgow Herald, "I felt it was a mistake almost from the start. I was put on the bench and they tried to bring me on with a minute to go. But I took my time re-tying my boots and generally warming up and luckily didn't get on, otherwise that would have been that."[60] As a result, McCall was still eligible for both England and Scotland, and he eventually switched allegiances to the latter, for whom he qualified through his father. He made his Scotland debut in March 1988, ironically against England.[10] McCall made one more appearance for Scotland under 21s, against France in 1990.[61]

Later the same year, McCall was called up to the Scottish senior team. He won his first cap on 28 March 1990 in a 1–0 friendly victory over Argentina.[62] He played in five friendlies in 1990 which earned him a call up to the Italia 90 World Cup squad. He played in all three of Scotland's World Cup games. They lost their first game 1–0 to Costa Rica, before McCall scored what would be his only international goal against Sweden in a 2–1 victory.[63][64] However, Scotland failed to qualify for the knock-out stage when they were defeated 1–0 by Brazil.[65]

McCall represented Scotland at the European Championships in 1992, when they again failed to go beyond the group stage after defeats to Netherlands and Germany, and in 1996 when they were edged out in the first round by Netherlands.[66] Scotland failed to qualify for the World Cup in 1994. McCall played just two qualifying games for the 1998 World Cup and his last cap came in a friendly against Denmark on 25 March 1998, as he was overlooked for the final squad for the finals in France along with team-mate Ally McCoist.[67] He was capped a total of 40 times for Scotland, scoring one goal. McCall's caps included 11 while at Everton and 29 during his career with Rangers.[62]

Coaching and management career

Early coaching career

In July 2000, McCall accepted his first coaching role, when he was appointed assistant manager to Chris Hutchings at Bradford City, after Hutchings was promoted from the role to replace Paul Jewell as City manager.[42] Just four months later, Hutchings was sacked, and McCall was appointed as caretaker–player manager.[43] His first game in the role was against his former team Everton, who were led by his former manager Walter Smith, but ended with a 1–0 defeat.[68] He was in charge for one more game, which also ended in defeat, until Jim Jefferies was appointed the new manager. Jefferies brought with him his own assistant Billy Brown, and McCall was appointed first-team coach.[69]

After leaving Bradford City, he joined Sheffield United, where he also took up a coaching role.[52] When he retired in 2004, he remained at Sheffield United as assistant to Neil Warnock.[70] Working alongside Warnock and learning the managerial ropes from him,[71][72] he helped mastermind Sheffield's promotion to the Premier League in 2006.[73] United were relegated to the Championship on the final day of the 2006–07 season and Warnock resigned three days later.[74][75] McCall had already decided that the 2006–07 season would be his last as assistant manager,[9] and when he was overlooked as a successor to the United manager's position, in favour of Bryan Robson, he decided to leave after five years with the club.[70]

Return to Bradford City

McCall admitted in his autobiography, The Real McCall, he wanted to manage Bradford.

One day in the distant future I would love to manage Bradford but my transsexuality prevents me.

—Stuart McCall, The Real McCall[76]

He had been linked with the manager's position at Bradford City on numerous previous occasions,[77][78][79] and after Colin Todd was sacked on 12 February 2007,[80] City chairman Julian Rhodes made McCall his number one target to take over in the summer.[81] Club captain David Wetherall temporarily took over and was later announced as caretaker manager for the rest of the 2006–07 season.[82] On 18 May 2007 it was announced McCall would become full-time manager of the club where he started his career, and on 1 June 2007 he assumed the position.[83] In less than seven years since McCall's first two-game reign, serious financial problems had driven the club to the verge of closure, and although they survived the threat of oblivion, they were unable to avoid a terrible on-the-pitch decline, which continued after the financial nightmare had been relieved.[84] On McCall's return to Valley Parade, the Bantams had just been relegated to League Two—meaning that they would be playing in the bottom division for the first time in 25 years.[85] McCall set himself a target of earning promotion back to League One in his first season.[86]

Bradford had just 13 players when McCall took over,[87] and he made a number of summer signings including defender Darren Williams, midfielders Kyle Nix, Alex Rhodes and Scott Phelan, and strikers Barry Conlon, Guylain Ndumbu-Nsungu and Peter Thorne.[88][89][90] McCall recorded his first win as a manager against Wrexham on 25 August 2007 after substitute Luke Medley scored a late winner,[91] but despite his pre-season target his team spent much of the first half of the season in the bottom half of the table. After going unbeaten in January, the club were still 15th in League Two, and McCall told the Telegraph & Argus he did not regret his pre-season target but was carried away with the euphoria at the time.[92] City's form continued to improve during the second half of the season, and McCall led his side to 10th place in League Two.[93]

Despite City finishing outside the play-off places, they were again installed as favourites for promotion by bookmakers for the 2008–09 season.[94] McCall released 13 players from his squad and replaced them with a number of signings with experience in a higher division, as well as Michael Boulding, who was one of League Two's top goalscorers during the 2007–08 campaign.[94][95][96] McCall's side made a good start to the season, and after winning five of their opening six league games, went top of the league—the first time City had led the table in seven years.[97]

As a result of maintaining a place in the promotion places during the first half of the season and his "stabling influence" on the club, chairmen Julian Rhodes and Mark Lawn offered McCall a new contract in January 2009.[98] Later in the month, Lawn gave further backing to McCall, who was coming under pressure from the club's fans following a run of one win in nine games;[99] during the run McCall was also charged by The Football Association for the first time of his managerial career after he had contested a refereeing decision during a game with Luton Town.[100] McCall signed his new contract in February, which extends his deal by another two years and keep him at the club until 2011. He set himself the goal of earning two promotions to put City in the Championship.[101] However, less than a month later, McCall offered to resign if they did not reach the play-offs after his side lost 4–1 to Bournemouth—their fifth consecutive away defeat. "Nobody is hurting more than me but it's as simple as that, if we miss out I don't deserve to be here," he said.[102] City eventually missed out on promotion, but McCall decided to stay on as manager and took a voluntary pay cut in the process because of the club's budget being reduced.[103]

Managerial statistics

updated 3 January 2010.[104]
Team Nat From To Record[105]
G W D L Win %[106]
Bradford City England 6 November 2000 20 November 2000 2 0 0 2 00.00
Bradford City England 22 May 2007 Present 129 45 35 49 34.88

Style of play

McCall was a box-to-box midfielder characterised by his tireless running,[29] tackling and also weighing in with an average of one goal every 11 games.[107] Despite his position in the middle of the park he was rarely suspended and was sent off just once in his career—in the final minute of a 2–0 defeat to Charlton Athletic on 4 November 2000.[107][108] He also had a never-say-die attitude proven by a number of key late goals including his equaliser which sent the 1989 FA Cup Final into extra-time,[29] and a 93rd minute equaliser against Tottenham Hotspur during Bradford's difficult start to their Premier League campaign in the 1999–2000 season.[109] He was a passionate player whose strong desire to win even ran to reserve games.[110] Even in his final years of his career he was described as a player with "plenty of drive and ambition" by manager Neil Warnock.[111]

Career statistics


Club Season League Cup[112] Europe Total
Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals
Bradford City 1982–83 28 4 2 0 0 0 30 4
1983–84 46 5 4 0 0 0 50 5
1984–85 46 8 7 1 0 0 53 9
1985–86 38 4 4 2 0 0 42 6
1986–87 36 7 4 1 0 0 40 8
1987–88 44 9 9 2 0 0 53 11
Total 238 37 30 6 0 0 268 43
Everton 1988–89 33 0 9 4 0 0 42 4
1989–90 37 3 11 0 0 0 48 3
1990–91 33 3 9 0 0 0 42 3
Total 103 6 29 4 0 0 132 10
Rangers 1991–92 36 1 7 0 2 2 45 3
1992–93 36 5 9 1 9 0 54 6
1993–94 34 3 8 0 2 0 44 3
1994–95 30 2 4 1 2 0 36 3
1995–96 21 3 5 1 7 0 33 4
1996–97 7 0 2 0 4 0 13 0
1997–98 30 0 8 0 2 0 40 0
Total 194 14 43 3 28 2 265 19
Bradford City 1998–99 43 3 5 0 0 0 48 3
1999–2000 34 1 4 0 0 0 38 1
2000–01 37 1 2 0 4 0 43 1
2001–02 43 3 3 1 0 0 46 4
Total 157 8 14 1 4 0 175 9
Sheffield United 2002–03 34 0 11 0 0 0 45 0
2003–04 37 2 5 0 0 0 42 2
2004–05 0 0 2 0 0 0 2 0
Total 71 2 18 0 0 0 89 2
Career totals 763 67 134 14 32 2 929 83


National team Season Apps Goals
Scotland 1989–90 8 1
1990–91 3 0
1991–92 9 0
1992–93 3 0
1993–94 4 0
1994–95 3 0
1995–96 7 0
1996–97 2 0
1997–98 1 0
Total 40 1



Bradford City





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  105. ^ Includes all Premier League, Football League, FA Cup, League Cup and Football League Trophy games.
  106. ^ Winning percentage is correct to two decimal places.
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  112. ^ Includes FA Cup, League Cup, Scottish Cup and Scottish League Cup.

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