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Willie 'Iam' McFaul

A ‘keeper blessed with superb agility and lightning reflexes, Iam McFaul was cursed by the existence of Pat Jennings…

Name: William Stewart McFaul
Born: 1 October 1943, Coleraine
Height: 5.09½ ft
Weight: 12.00 st
Position: Goalkeeper

Representative Honours: Northern Ireland: 6 Full Caps (1966-1973), 2 Amateur Caps (1962), Junior (1961-1963), Youth (1961).
Club Honours: (with Linfield) Irish League Champion 1965/66; Irish Cup Runner-Up 1965/66; Gold Cup Winner 1963/64, 1965/66; Ulster Cup Winner 1964/65;  City Cup Winner 1963/64; Co. Antrim Shield Winner 1965/66; (with Newcastle) FA Cup Runner-Up 1973/74; Fairs Cup Winner 1968/69; Anglo-Italian Cup Winner 1972/73; Texaco Cup Winner 1973/74, 1974/75.

Club Career:
FA Cup
FL Cup
Newcastle U.


Coaching Career:
Newcastle United Coach 1974-1985
...............................Manager Sep/85-Oct/88
Coleraine Manager Jul/90-Apr/92
Northern Ireland Goalkeeping Coach 1994-1997
Cullybackey Blues manager
Guam Manager 2000-2003
Omagh Town Coach Nov/04-Jun/05
Irish FA Londonderry County Performance Coach Jul/06-??
Norwich City Scout 2008-

Iam McFaul began his career with hometown club Coleraine, who he joined as a 12 year-old. He played a handful of games between the sticks for the Bannsiders in the early 1960s, enough to earn selection for Ireland at youth and amateur level, but was largely forced to play second fiddle to his brother-in-law, Victor Hunter.

The ambitious McFaul sought a move to gain a regular number one spot, and his confidence was boosted when both of the Belfast "Big Two" came calling. It was Linfield that pipped Glentoran to the blonde-stopper's signature and, with Bobby Irvine moving to Stoke, he established himself in the firstteam at Windsor Park straight away. It was a time of transition for Linfield as they endured a couple of comparatively barren seasons, but McFauls stock continued to rise.

McFaul was included in the panel for Northern Ireland's Under-23 match against Wales in February 1964, but he took up what would become a familiar position: Pat Jennings' reserve. From then on he was a regular member of the senior panel for a decade, but with scant reward for his dedication. He made his international debut as a substitute (Northern Ireland's second ever) for Jennings as World Cup winners England visited Belfast to record a 2-0 win in October 1966. That was his first of just six senior caps.

1966 had proved a terrific year for McFaul and Linfield as they claimed successes in the League, Gold Cup and Co. Antrim Shield, though were denied an Irish Cup win after a 2-0 final defeat by Glentoran at the Oval. He played in much of Linfield's run in the European Cup, but prior to the quarter-final ties against CSKA Sofia he was transferred.

Newcastle United had been keen on signing McFaul dating back to his time with Coleraine, but the youngster had been too much of a home-bird to take up the opportunity. They continued to keep an eye on him though, and impressive performances in Europe, against England for Northern Ireland and in a friendly match between the Magpies and Linfield (despite a 6-0 defeat) convinced them to put in another offer.

McFaul's £8,000 move saw him tread a path followed by Alf McMichael and Dick Keith in the previous few decades. However, by the time he arrived at St James' Park the only Ulsterman on the books was the young Dave Craig. McFaul walked straight into the Newcastle firstteam, making his Division One debut in a 2-0 home defeat by Liverpool on 12 November, though he was sidelined when regular custodian Gordon Marshall recovered from a broken leg.

It was in the 1968/69 season that McFaul established himself as Newcastle's number one. He missed just one league game and played in every match of their run to the the Fairs Cup final. In the final Ujpest Dozsa were defeated 6-2 on aggregate. The final win was not as routine as the scoreline might suggest, for Newcastle, leading 3-0 from the first leg found themselves 2-0 down at half-time of the return in Budapest. It could've been even worse but for four "miraculous" saves from McFaul. Newcastle steadied the ship in the second half, and when they made it 1-2 on the night, the Hungarians faded and the Magpies turned the match on its head.

Through the early-70s McFaul added winner's medals from the Texaco Cup and Anglo-Italian Cup, but a "major" honour eluded him. The closest he came was in the 1974 FA Cup final, but he could do nothing to halt a rampant Liverpool in a 3-0 defeat at Wembley. Two years earlier the FA Cup also brought some ignominy, as he was part of the team famously defeated by non-league Hereford in the third round.

McFaul retired as a player in 1975, immediately joining the Newcastle coaching staff. In 1985 he was appointed manager, and helped develop some incredibly gifted players such as Paul Gascoigne, Peter Beardsley and Chris Waddle. He also signed a youngster called Michael O'Neill from Coleraine. However, at the time the Magpies were a selling club and when the big name players were sold-off they weren't adequately replaced and the team struggled. McFaul was sacked early in a 1988/89 season that would see his team of the past 22 years relegated.

Since leaving Newcastle, McFaul has enjoyed a varied coaching career. He had an unhappy spell as manager back at Coleraine; fulfilled a number of roles for the Irish FA; managed the tiny Guam national team; was coach at Omagh Town when they were dissolved in 2005; and most recently has scouted for Norwich City.

Linfield Article

Northern Ireland Cap Details:
22-10-1966 England. H L 0-2 ECQ sub
25-04-1970 Wales... A L 0-1 BC
11-11-1970 Spain... A L 0-3 ECQ
22-09-1971 USSR.... A L 0-1 ECQ
08-05-1973 Cyprus.. H W 3-0 WCQ
26-09-1973 Bulgaria H D 0-0 WCQ

Summary: 5(1)/0. Won 1, Drew 1, Lost 4.

Northern Ireland Amateur Caps:
17-02-1962 Scotland A D 0-0
29-09-1962 England. A L 2-3

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


Anonymous said…
great goalie, very underrated. Not by me!