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Billy McNeill


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Billy McNeill passed away on Monday. Cesar was some footballer, but like others didn’t quite make the same positive impression as a manager (or at least as a manager with us).

Billy lifted the European Cup as captain of Celtic’s Lisbon Lions in 1967. He made 822 appearances for Celtic and was a one club footballer playing for them from 1957 until 1975. He won 29 Scotland caps. He managed Celtic from 1978-83 and again from 1987-91.

He won the League title 9 times with Celtic as a player and 4 times as their manager. He won the Scottish Cup 7 times as a player with Celtic and 3 times as a manager, picking up the League Cup 6 times as a player and once as manager.

He joined us as manager in September 1986, having left Manchester City to do so (who he won promotion with 2 seasons earlier). Both teams were relegated at the end of that season.

Billy will not be remembered for what he did as a manager at Villa Park, but he was undoubtably a very good captain and footballer. He had suffered from dementia for several years before passing away yesterday aged 79. My thoughts are with his family at this sad time. RIP Billy.

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First game I ever went to was Man City v Villa that season. They had 2 goals disallowed and we won 2-2 ;) So the first manager I ever saw live. Still remember 9/10 yr old me with my glass of pop in the supporters bar at Maine Road. My uncle was a season ticket holder up there and all the talk was of McNeill leaving them for us and there was much sympathy towards Gary Shaw from them. Always be the guy who got us relegated to me though.

But enough of being rubbish here. Being the first British player to lift the European Cup is some epitaph.


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