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Wilfred McGuinness (born 25 October 1937 in Manchester, England) is an English former football player and manager, who played twice for England in his short playing career. He succeeded Sir Matt Busby as manager of Manchester United in 1969.

Wilf McGuinness
Wilf mcguinness 2013.jpg
McGuinness in 2013
Personal information
Full name Wilfred McGuinness[1]
Date of birth (1937-10-25) 25 October 1937 (age 81)[1]
Place of birth Manchester, England[1]
Playing position Wing half
Youth career
1953–1954 Manchester United
Senior career*
Years Team Apps (Gls)
1954–1959 Manchester United 81 (2)
National team
19??–19?? England Schoolboys
19??–19?? England Youth 4 (?)
19??–19?? England U23 1 (?)
1958–1959 England 2 (0)
Teams managed
1969–1970 Manchester United
1971–1973 Aris Thessaloniki
1973–1975 Panachaiki
1975–1977 York City
1978 Hull City (caretaker)
1989 Bury (caretaker)
* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only

Following his tenure at the Manchester United bench, McGuinness had a four year long stay in Greece, leading Panachaiki through their first appearance in a European competition, the 1973–74 UEFA Cup.

McGuinness' son Paul was Manchester United's U-18 team manager and assistant director of their youth academy for 17- to 21-year-olds.

Playing careerEdit

As a player, he captained Manchester, Lancashire and England at schoolboy level, and signed for Manchester United in January 1953. He made his first team debut against Wolverhampton Wanderers on 8 October 1955, turning 18 later that month. Competition for places was fierce but he played in enough matches to qualify for a medal when United won the league in 1956.

He was still a United player at the time of the Munich air disaster in 1958, but an injury had prevented him from playing so he was not on the plane that crashed. A broken leg in the 1959–60 season finished his playing career when he was only 22, and came just after he had been capped twice at senior level by the England team.

Managerial careerEdit

McGuinness continued to be involved at Manchester United after the end of his playing career, getting heavily involved in coaching, and in 1964, he replaced Jimmy Murphy as reserve team manager, as Murphy left that role after managing the reserve team to a sixth FA Youth Cup triumph. In 1969, McGuinness was promoted from reserve team manager to manager of the first team after Matt Busby retired as manager at the end of the 1968–69 season. Appointed as Busby's successor in June 1969 at the age of 31, at a time when the Manchester United side was in transition and Busby had moved upstairs to become general manager, McGuinness's reign as Manchester United manager was not as successful as United had hoped. But McGuinness did lead United to three cup semi-finals during his reign, one in the FA Cup and two in the League Cup.

McGuinness was sacked in December 1970, after a dramatic comeback which saw United draw 4–4 with Derby County in a league fixture at the Baseball Ground. He returned to his old job as reserve team manager before leaving the club at the end of the season to become manager of Greek side Aris Thessaloniki. Meanwhile, Busby was re-appointed as manager until the end of the season, following McGuinness' dismissal as first team manager, until Frank O'Farrell was named as Manchester United's new manager in June 1971.

Under McGuinness, Aris finished fourth in the 1971–72 Alpha Ethniki season, and ninth a year later, albeit being tied with three teams in sixth position. He took over Panachaiki in 1973, finishing sixth in the Alpha Ethniki his first year while advancing to the UEFA Cup second round in the team's first ever European campaign. Panachaiki finished seventh in the 1974–75 Alpha Ethniki season and parted with McGuinness.

In 1975, McGuinness was hired by York City. On arriving at York, he took over a side which had just recorded its highest-ever league finish, only to take them through two successive relegations before leaving midway through a season which ended with York having to apply for re-election to the Football League. Later he worked as assistant manager and then caretaker manager at Hull City, and was on the coaching staff at Bury F.C., taking over as interim manager prior to the appointment of Sam Ellis in 1989.


Managerial statisticsEdit

Team Nat From To Record
G W D L GF GA GD Win %
Manchester United[2]   4 June 1969 29 December 1970 87 32 32 23 127 121 +6 036.78
Aris Thessaloniki   1971 1973
Panachaiki   1973 1975
York City   February 1975 October 1977


  1. ^ a b c "Wilf McGuinness". Barry Hugman's Footballers. Retrieved 13 February 2018.
  2. ^ "Manchester United Managers: Wilf McGuinness". Retrieved 21 December 2011.