5 May 2007

Eric McManus

Name: Charles Eric McManus
Born: 14 November 1950, Limavady
Height: 6.01 ft
Weight: 12.12 st
Position: Goalkeeper

Representative Honours: Northern Ireland: 2 Amateur Caps (1968), 3 Schoolboy Caps (1966).
Club Honours: (with Coleraine) North West Cup Winner; (with Bradford) Football League Division Three Champion 1984/85.


Club Career:
Teams
Seasons
Signed
Fee
League
FA Cup
FL Cup
Euro
Other
Coleraine
-
Amateur
-
-
-
-
-
Coventry
69/70-71/72
Aug-68
-
6/0
-
-
1/0
-
Notts Co.
71/72-78/79
Apr-71
-
229/0
9/0
13/0
-
14/0
Stoke C.
79/80-81/82
Oct-79
-
4/0
-
-
-
-
Lincoln C.
79/80
Dec-79
Loan
21/0
-
-
-
-
Bradford C.
82/83-85/86
Aug-82
-
113/0
9/0
12/0
-
5/0
Middlesbro'
85/86
Jan-86
Loan
2/0
-
-
-
-
Peterboro’
85/86
Mar-86
Loan
18/0
-
-
-
-
Tranmere
86/87
Aug-86
-
3/0
-
2/0
-
-
Boston U.
86/87
Sep-86
-
9/0
(Football Conference)
1/0
TOTALS
£-
405/0
18/0
27/0
1/0
20/0

Biography:
For a player who spent a large portion of his career plying his trade in the top two divisions of English football not to win a cap for Northern Ireland would normally seem quite surprising. However, the qualifier on this is that Eric McManus was unfortunate to be a goalkeeper, and the players who kept him out of the Northern Ireland team - Pat Jennings, Iam McFaul and Jim Platt - were some of the most outstanding 'keepers of their generation. As such, McManus was little more than an occasional squad member through the late-seventies and early-eighties.

Having won amateur caps while with Coleraine, Eric McManus arrived in the Football League as a teenager with Coventry City. He spent three seasons at Highfield Road, competing with Bill Glazier and David Icke for the number one jersey, but found his chances limited. One of his few appearances in the Coventry first-team was in torrential rain against Bayern Munich in the 1970/71 Fairs Cup. He "could do no right" and ended up on the end of a 6-1 hammering, the heaviest defeat ever suffered by an English club in Europe. It was during this time that he was included in the Northern Ireland Under-23 team for a match against Wales at Wrexham only to be denied a cap as the game was cancelled due to bad weather.

In the spring of 1972 he moved on to Notts County, and within two seasons he had established himself in the first-team. In 1975/76 as Notts County reached the last eight of the League Cup, he suffered the embarrassment of scoring an own goal in the 1-0 defeat by Newcastle. Malcolm McDonald took a long throw which a number of players failed to get their heads to, and the ball sailed into the net as McManus tried to get a hand on it. McManus insisted he hadn't touched it, not forgetting that a goal cannot be scored direct from a throw-in, but the referee believed there had been contact and the goal stood.

McManus' first senior call-up finally arrived in 1977 when he was included in the Northern Ireland squad for a match against West Germany in Cologne. He received several further call-ups in the years that followed when Pat Jennings or Jim Platt were unavailable. In 1979 McManus moved on to Stoke City, then playing in the top flight. Unfortunately he failed to establish himself, and in three seasons at the Victoria Ground he made just four League appearances. Perhaps if he had been featuring more regularly for Stoke he would have been part of the squad that travelled to Spain for the World Cup, but instead Billy Bingham selected Linfield's George Dunlop as Northern Ireland's third goalkeeper.

..
In 1982 he moved on again, this time to a Bradford City side freshly promoted from Division Four. In 1985 he was part of the team that stormed to the Division Three title, and he was in goal on the 11th May 1985, as Bradford where presented with the trophy at Valley Parade. That day was to become one of the most tragic in English football, as a fire engulfed one of the stands, claiming the lives of 56 people.

McManus left Bradford the following season, finishing his playing career with brief spells at Middlesbrough, Peterborough, Tranmere and Boston United in the GM Vauxhall Conference.

On retirement from playing McManus moved into coaching, working as Director of Recruitment with Derby County. He also had a spell coaching with Bromsgrove Rovers, and in 2000 acted as caretaker manager, alongside his role with Derby. Until October 2008 he was on the staff at Walsall, variously fulfilling roles as goalkeeping coach, reserve-team manager and Youth Recruitment Officer.


Northern Ireland Amateur Cap Details:
16-03-1968 Scotland A W 2-0
11-05-1968 Wales... H L 0-1

Summary: 2/0. Won 1, Drew 9, Lost 1.

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