27 December 2006

Danny Hegan

A "pop-star" of the English game in the late-60s and early-70s, Danny Hegan's creative talents were largely tempered by his wayward lifestyle...

Name: Daniel Hegan
Born: 14 June 1943, Coatbridge (Scotland)

Died: August 2015, Birmingham (England)
Height: 5.08 ft
Weight: 10.06 st
Position: Midfielder

Representative Honours: 7 Full Caps (1969-1973).
Club Honours: (with Ipswich) Football League Division Two Champion 1967/68; (with Wolves) UEFA Cup Runner-Up 1971/72.


Club Career:
Clubs
Seasons
Signed
Fee
League
FA Cup
FL Cup
Europe
Other
Bellshill Athletic
-
-
-
(Scottish Junior Football)
Albion Rovers
59/60-61/62
-
-
25(0)/ 4
-
-
-
-
Sunderland
61/62-62/63
Sep-61
£5,000
0(0)/ 0
-
-
-
-
Ipswich Town
63/64-68/69
Jul-63
£10,000
207(0)/34
11(0)/3
12(0)/1
-
10(0)/2
West Bromwich Albion
69/70
May-69
£88,000
13(1)/ 2
-
4(0)/0
-
-
Wolverhampton Wanderers
70/71-73/74
May-70
£27,500
49(4)/ 6
3(0)/0
3(0)/1
8(1)/1
2(0)/0
Sunderland
73/74
Nov-73
£5,000
3(3)/ 0
0(2)/0
-
-
-
Highlands Park
1974
-
Free
(South African NFL)
Partick Thistle
74/75
-
Trial
0(0)/ 0
-
-
-
-
Highlands Park
1975
-
-
(South African NFL)
Coleshill Town
75/76-77/78
-
-
(Midland Combination)
TOTALS
£135,500
297(8)/46
14(2)/3
19(0)/2
8(1)/1
12(0)/2


Biography:
A product of Scottish Junior Football, Danny Hegan began his senior career with hometown Scottish League club, Albion Rovers, signing on his sixteenth birthday. After a little over a season at inside-forward in the Scottish Second Division, he transferred to Sunderland in a £5,000 deal in September 1961. Unable to break into the starting eleven at Roker Park, Hegan moved on to Ipswich in July 1963 for £10,000.

Hegan’s Ipswich career got off to an inauspicious start as his debut finished with a 6-0 defeat by Bolton on the way to relegation. He soon found his feet though, developing into one of the most talented creative players in the Football League, eventually helping them to the Second Division title in 1968. Still rated among Ipswich’s all-time greats, Hegan’s social life began to catch up with him and his form dipped back in the top-flight. After a number of months on the transfer list, Hegan moved to West Brom in a player plus cash deal worth £88,000 in May 1969.

It was while at the Hawthorns that Hegan’s father’s Irish birth was realised, and he was awarded his first cap in the 2-0 defeat to the USSR that cost Northern Ireland a place at the Mexico 1970 World Cup – the match is probably most famous for the non-appearance of George Best prior to the trip to Moscow as he was held back by Manchester United for a League Cup tie. An agreement between the Home Nations limited players eligible through the "father rule" to non-British Championship games only, and it was two years before Hegan won his second cap, in another defeat by the USSR in Moscow.


Aside from the party-going lifestyle, the comparisons between Hegan and Best were obvious; from the mop of hair on his head to the swagger in his play. Hegan was a flair player who loved to play with the ball at his feet. This was an era were such players were actively targeted by opposition defenders, and Hegan suffered his fair share of hard challenges, and like Best he would often react as the red mist descended.

Having failed to make a significant mark at West Brom, where he played more times for the reserves in the Central League than for the first-team in the Football League, Hegan made a cut-price £27,500 move to Wolves in May 1970. Initially slow to settle at Molyneaux, it was only in his second season that Hegan made an impact on the first eleven, scoring with a brilliant chip in the UEFA Cup quarter-final win over Juventus as Wolves marched to the Final, losing out 3-2 on aggregate to Spurs. In May 1972 Terry Neill took advantage of a change in the Home Nations rules, and selected Hegan for all three of the Home Nations ties, including a famous 1-0 win over England at Wembley.

In November 1973 Hegan was sacked by Wolves after disappearing on "another" drinking binge, and he returned to Sunderland for £5,000. Back at Roker Park he played just six times before being released. It proved a sad end to the League career of one of the most gifted midfielders of his generation. Hegan then spent two summers in South Africa with Johannesburg based Highland Park, and later played non-League football with Coleshill before retiring in May 1978. Later Hegan worked as a soccer coach at Butlin’s Holiday Camps, before settling in Birmingham where he worked as a taxi driver, labourer and industrial cleaner.

In 1982 Hegan went public with allegations that Leeds United's Billy Bremner attempted to bribe a Wolves team-mate to fix a match in the 1971/72 title run-in. Bremner successfully sued for £100,000 in libel damages. Only in more recent years, since Bremner’s death, have others seemingly corroborated Hegan’s story.


Hegan passed away in at the age of 72 in August 2015 after a battle with cancer.

Pride of Anglia

Northern Ireland Cap Details:
22-10-1969 USSR.... A L 0-2 WCQ
22-09-1971 USSR.... A L 0-1 ECQ
20-05-1972 Scotland H L 0-2 BC
23-05-1972 England. A W 1-0 BC
27-05-1972 Wales... A D 0-0 BC
18-10-1972 Bulgaria A L 0-3 WCQ
14-02-1973 Cyprus.. A L 0-1 WCQ

Summary: 7/0. Won 1, Drew 1, Lost 5.

1 comment:

kengarrett199 said...

The 'disappearance' of Bestie prior to the vital USSR WC tie was due to Matt Busby's insistence he played in a League Cup tie with Burnley.

Who was Northern Ireland's Greatest World Cup Player & Team? (select up to eleven players)

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