TODAY |

Ex-Man United, Scotland manager Tommy Docherty dies, aged 92

Tommy Docherty, one of soccer's great characters who managed Manchester United and Scotland, has died. He was 92.

Tommy Docherty. Source: Associated Press

Affectionately known as "The Doc", he died on Thursday after a long illness.

“Tommy passed away peacefully surrounded by his family at home," a family statement said. “He was a much-loved husband, father and papa and will be terribly missed. We ask that our privacy be respected at this time."

Docherty spent most of his playing career — nine years — at Preston before joining Arsenal and then Chelsea. He played 25 times for Scotland.

He went on to manage 12 clubs, also including Chelsea, Aston Villa and Derby. But he was best known for his five-year spell at Manchester United, overseeing an FA Cup final win over Bob Paisley’s Liverpool in 1977.

Man United said in a statement on Twitter: “We are deeply saddened by the passing of Tommy Docherty, who led us to FA Cup victory in 1977 with a thrilling, attacking team in the best traditions of Manchester United."

Scottish Football Association president Rod Petrie said on the organisation’s website: “Football has lost a tremendous personality in Tommy Docherty. He was tenacious on the park and a great leader off it.

“Tommy was a regular in the Scotland side in the 1950s that qualified for two World Cups, and his record as Scotland manager was impressive, albeit cut short by his decision to take the Manchester United job."

Born in the Gorbals district of Glasgow in 1928, Docherty once said in a Daily Telegraph interview of his tough upbringing: “If you wanted a new pair of shoes you went down the swimming baths in bare feet and just nicked a pair. I didn’t think it was morally wrong. It was the thing to do.”

His time at Preston included an appearance in the 1954 FA Cup final. Although he made a few appearances for Chelsea after moving to Stamford Bridge in February 1961, the switch brought about his first step into coaching and management.

He was unable to prevent the west London club being relegated from the top flight at the end of the 1961-62 season, but the Blues bounced back at the first attempt.

In 1964-65 Chelsea won the League Cup with an aggregate victory over Leicester, but lost the 1967 FA Cup final to Tottenham.

A Chelsea club statement on Twitter read: “Tommy was a legend of our game and our thoughts are with his family and close friends at this time.”

The Glaswegian left to become manager of unfashionable Rotherham and memorably said: “I promised I would take Rotherham out of the Second Division — and I took them into the Third."

In December 1972, with Scotland on its way to the 1974 World Cup finals in West Germany, he quit to take over at Manchester United.

“One of my biggest regrets was leaving the Scotland job when I did,” he later said.

The Red Devils were relegated to the Second Division in 1974, but stormed back the next season as champions. After surprisingly losing the 1976 FA Cup final 1-0 to second-tier Southampton, Docherty led United to the FA Cup final again the following year when it beat Liverpool 2-1.

However, celebrations did not last as he was almost immediately fired for having an affair with the wife of club physiotherapist Laurie Brown.

Docherty later married Mary Brown and they remained together until his death. They had two children, Lucy and Grace, while he had four children — Tom, Michael, Peter and Catherine — with his first wife Agnes, who died in 2002.

Docherty was inducted into the Scottish Football Hall of Fame in November 2013.