Football News: Former Liverpool Managers Part 4 - The End Of The Untouchables

 

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Former Liverpool Managers Part 4 - The End Of The Untouchables
Image from: lfcway.com

Former Liverpool Managers - Part 4


Matt McQueen 13th February 1923 - 15th February 1928


Following David Ashworth's shock resignation, just as he was closing in on a second successive title with a Liverpool team that became known as 'the Unouchables', saw the board inundated with applications for the managerial post. Instead they decided to hand the job to one of their own number, a former member of the 'Team of Macs' who became the first former player to manager Liverpool FC.

Matt McQueen was a fairly successful Scottish player, who had 2 Scotland caps to his name, when John McKenna swooped in to recruit him for the first ever LFC team in 1892. McQueen had been in his second spell at Leith Athletic, following a stint at Heart of Midlothian inbetween. His brother Hugh was signed at the same time and the pair were quickly in action for their new team in a 9-0 win over Newtown in the FA Cup 2nd Round.

Matt went on to win 2 Division 2 titles in 1893-4 and 1895-6 as the ultimate utility player, and I do mean ultimate as he played in all 11 positions for Liverpool. Not just the 10 outfield positions but also in goal, almost half of his appearances for the Merseysiders were made as a goalkeeper, despite having won two caps for Scotland as a winger! In fact McQueen holds a record unique in English football, possible world football, of being the only player to win championship winner's medals as both an outfield player and a goalkeeper.

After his retirement from playing, McQueen earned the qualifications to become a referee and continued as a highly respected official until he was appointed to the Liverpool board in 1919. Despite having a number of options to choose from, the board decided to turn to a safe pair of hands to see them through the season after Ashworth's resignation and McQueen was given temporary charge in February 1923, leading Liverpool to the title, despite winning just 1 of the 7 remaining matches.

Sadly we never got to find out if he would have made a good manager, despite him continuing in the role for a further 5 years, as the 60 year old McQueen was in Barnsley on a scouting mission in the following November, where a taxi knocked him over, breaking his leg in the process. The redoubtable McQueen refused to be taken to hospital immediately, instead he was taken to report to LFC Chairman Mr William Robert Williams in Sheffield, despite being in considerable pain, before finally allowing himself to be taken to Sheffield Royal Hospital.

A lengthy hospital stay followed as an infection set in near to the silver plate that had been inserted in his leg. Eventually, in February of 1924, septic poisoning forced doctors to act and his leg was removed above the knee. His health never fully recovered and eventually he had to admit defeat on doctor's orders and retire in February 1928 after leading LFC to a 12th, 4th, 7 and 9th place finish in the seasons he was in charge. However he left Liverpool embroiled in a relegation battle that season when he handed the reigns over to his assistant George Patterson.



While McQueen never again reached the heights of his first season, he did bring in one of the best players ever to play for the club, when he signed South African forward Gordon Hodgson. He was a highly popular man amongst supporters and would usually be found, after his retirement, sat outside his home in 32 Kemlyn Road, which would be in the Kenny Dalglish Stand if the property still existed, resting his artificial leg and greeting the fans as they headed to Anfield to watch the game.

Despite his health problems, Matt McQueen lived to the ripe old age of 81, passing away on 28th September 1944, with his place in English football history assured.

Written by Tris Burke



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