Treble-winning football boss Jim McLaughlin given freedom of city

Jim McLaughlin with former pla Image copyright DCSDC
Image caption Jim McLaughlin with players from the treble winning Derry City team, Felix Healy, Paul "Storky" Carlyle, Liam Coyle, Paul Hegarty and Jack Keay

The only football manager to win all of Ireland's domestic trophies in a single season has received the freedom of the city of Derry.

Jim McLaughlin, 78, guided Derry City, his hometown club, to an unequalled treble of League, League Cup and FAI Cup in 1989.

The former Derry, Shamrock Rovers and Dundalk manager was honoured at the city's Guildhall on Wednesday night.

His son, Paul, described the award as a "huge honour".

"He has won plenty of honours through football, but this is something very different. We are so proud, it is very humbling," he said.

He said his father, who now lives with dementia, remains a "very down to earth man" despite his footballing success.

The former Derry City boss is widely regarded as one of the greatest managers in Irish football.

Image caption As a player, Jim McLaughlin scored six goals in 12 matches for Northern Ireland

Mayor of Derry and Strabane, Michaela Boyle, said McLaughlin was "dearly loved and respected" by the people of Derry.

"He has been a strong advocate of the sport and it is fitting that this event is held to coincide with the 30th anniversary of Derry City winning the treble," the Mayor added.

Born close to Derry City's Brandywell stadium, Jim McLaughlin had an unsurpassed record in management.

His Dundalk team did the double, his Shamrock Rovers team did the double twice, before his Derry City team did the treble.

Under McLaughlin, Dundalk was unbeaten at home in European competition against PSV Eindhoven, Glasgow Celtic, Hadjuk Split, Oporto and Spurs.

Image caption McLaughlin's achievements as Derry City manager have never been equalled

Former Northern Ireland international Liam Coyle, who played in the all conquering side of 1989, made his Derry debut as a teenager under McLaughlin.

He scored a hat trick.

"When you talk to all the players who played for him, you would not hear anyone who has a bad word to say about him," the ex international striker said.

"For all that he achieved, his humility was one of his greatest strengths."

Widely thought of as one of the League of Ireland's greatest players, Coyle said he would not have flourished had it not been for the influence of his Derry manager.

"Jim didn't shout and roar at people, but he was very clever at getting into people's minds," Coyle said.

"He sorted me out, made me realise it could have passed me by very quickly if I had not knuckled down and put a bit of work into it when I was 19 or 20. He was very good to me, especially when I was younger."

As a player, McLaughlin donned the Derry City jersey, before moving on to Birmingham City, Swansea City, Shrewsbury Town and Peterborough United.

Image copyright Derry Journal
Image caption Liam Coyle (far left) was among members of the 1989 Derry City treble winning team managed by Jim McLaughlin

He famously scored at Anfield's Kop end in the FA Cup quarter final in 1964, as Swansea knocked out Liverpool.

At international level, he won 12 caps for Northern Ireland, and scored six international goals.

The former Derry manager joins a select list of people to have received the freedom of Derry.

Notable recipients include John Hume, Winston Churchill, and former Catholic and Church of Ireland bishops, Edward Daly and James Mehaffey.

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