8 July 2007

Johnny McKenna

Diminutive winger Johnny McKenna had to be versatile, he could still barely use his left foot though...

Name: John McKenna
Born: 6 June 1926, Belfast
Died: October/November 1980, Blackpool
Height: 5.05 ft
Weight: 10.02 st
Position: Winger
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Representative Honours: Ireland: 7 Full Caps (1949-1951), 2 Victory Caps (1945-1946); Irish FA Representative; Irish League: 3 Caps (1948).
Club Honours: (with Linfield) Northern Regional League Champion 1945/46; Irish Cup Winner 1945/46, 1947/48.
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Club Career:
Clubs
Seasons
Signed
Fee
League
FA Cup
Others
Linfield
44/45-47/48
-
-
-
-
-
Huddersfield T.
48/49-56/57
Aug-48
£8,000
134/ 8
-
-
Blackpool
54/55-56/57
Jul-54
-
24/ 2
-
-
Southport
57/58
Jul-57
-
15/ 1
-
-
Wisbech Town
58/59
-
Free
(Southern League)
TOTALS
£8,000
173/11
-
-
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Biography:
Son of a boot-maker, Johnny McKenna, a product of Fane Street School, won two Irish Cups and a 'War-Time' League title while with Linfield. Still a teenager when he played in the Victory Internationals against England and Wales in 1945 and 1946, he later played three times for the Irish League in 1948. Throughout his career he would suffer the same 'problem', although predominantly right-footed, he would find himself employed on the left, forcing him to cut inside. Of the twelve major representative matches he played in, only four were spent at outside-right.

"Fleet-footed and tricky", McKenna transferred to Huddersfield for £8,000 in August 1948 where he played alongside Peter Doherty, making a total of 134 League appearances, mostly in the First Division. Out of the side for the entire of the 1953/54 campaign, he moved to Blackpool in July 1954, but failed to find regular first-team football in a side which also contained Stanley Matthews. His final League football was played in Division Three (North) with Southport during the 1957/58 season.

Though noted for his "pace and very good ball control", McKenna's international career over-lapped with that of a number of accomplished wingers. Davy Cochrane, Johnny Campbell and Norman Lockhart were all there or therabouts at the time of his initial appearances and later the emergence of Billy Bingham and Charlie Tully would ensure his Ireland career did not go beyond seven caps.

In 1958 McKenna signed for non-League Wisbech Town, but his playing days were ended that November. He was involved in a car accident in which he suffered a broken collar bone and six fractured ribs. McKenna settled in Blackpool where he worked as an insurance agent. He died, aged just 54, in November 1980.
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Ireland Cap Details:
01-10-1949 Scotland H L 2-8 WCQ/BC
06-11-1949 England. A L 2-9 WCQ/BC
08-03-1950 Wales... A D 0-0 WCQ/BC
07-10-1950 England. H L 1-4 BC
01-11-1950 Scotland A L 1-6 BC
12-05-1951 France.. H D 2-2 FR
20-11-1951 England. A L 0-2 BC
..
Summary: 7/0. Won 0, Drew 2, Lost 5.

Ireland Representative Appearance Details:
11-08-1948 USA Olympic XI H W 5-0

Summary: 1/0. Won 1, Drew 0, Lost 0.

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