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Francis "Frank" McAvennie (born 22 November 1959 in Glasgowmarker) is a Scottishmarker former football striker.

Early life

He grew up in Milton and attended St Augustine's Secondary.

Playing career

Early career

McAvennie started his playing career in Scottish Junior League football. His first senior football club was St Mirren.

West Ham United

His strong form in Scotland attracted attention from south of the border, and John Lyall signed him for West Ham United in 1985 and he formed a formidable partnership with young English striker Tony Cottee. In his first season, he helped West Ham to their highest ever final position in English football when they came third. He scored 26 goals, one fewer than the division's top goalscorer Gary Lineker, in the English Football League. That West Ham team became known as The Boys of 86. McAvennie and his team-mates were denied UEFA Cup action for the following season due to the ban on English clubs in European competitions, which had started a year earlier due to the Heysel disastermarker.

However, they were less successful the following season, finishing 15th.

Celtic

In October 1987, he moved back to Scotland with Celtic, for £750,000, helping them win the Scottish Premier League and Scottish Cup double. The Cup Final was particularly memorable for McAvennie as he scored two late goals to beat Dundee United 2-1.

Back to West Ham

McAvennie returned to West Ham United in March 1989 in a £1.2million deal, making him their record signing. According to then Celtic manager Billy McNeill's autobiography, McAvennie wanted to return to London and his model girlfriend Jenny Blyth. McAvennie claims in his autobiography that Celtic were refusing to pay him a signing-on fee. Just before his return to Upton Parkmarker, Celtic had accepted an offer from title chasing Arsenal, whose manager George Graham was looking for a proven goalscorer to partner Alan Smith. However, McAvennie turned down the chance to join Arsenal and happily accepted John Lyall's offer shortly afterwards. While Arsenal cruised to the First Division title, West Ham were relegated to the Second Division.

In any event this second spell in London was not as successful as his previous one. Things got worse for McAvennie and West Ham when the striker suffered a broken leg early in the 1989-90 season, following a challenge by Chris Kamara, which put him out for almost a season. McAvennie recovered for the 1990-91 season, as West Ham won promotion and reached the FA Cup semi-finals, and a year after that he signed off in style at West Ham , scoring a hat-trick in his final match against Nottingham Forest, but West Ham had already been relegated.

Aston Villa

McAvennie then accepted an offer from Ron Atkinson to sign for Aston Villa, but played just three games in the new Premier League alongside Dalian Atkinson before Villa signed Dean Saunders and he lost his place in the team.

Back to Celtic

He was soon on his way back to Celtic, scoring 10 goals in 30 Scottish Premier Division games. However, Celtic were no longer the team they had been in McAvennie's first spell, as Rangers cruised to the league title in 1992-93 and 1993-94. In his second season at Parkhead, McAvennie returned to the English Premier League in a loan deal with Swindon Town which spanned seven league games but failed to produce a single goal as the Wiltshiremarker club headed towards relegation.

Falkirk and St Mirren

He also had a short spell at Falkirk, newly promoted to the Scottish Premier Division for 1994-95, and scoring twice in three games before dropping down a division and signing for his first club St Mirren. He played seven games for St Mirren that season, failing to score, before retiring as a player at the age of 35.

International career

McAvennie was called into the Scotland national team in December 1985 for the World Cup qualifying play-off with Australia. McAvennie scored on his debut in a 2-0 win. He was subsequently called up to the Scotland national team for the 1986 FIFA World Cup, under interim national coach Alex Ferguson following the death of Jock Stein on 10 September 1985.

In popular culture

More recently, he has been parodied regularly on the BBC's football comedy programme Only An Excuse with such catchphrases as "where's the burds?" - the character became so popular that there was a short lived spin-off entitled I, Macca. This derives from McAvennie's popular nickname in Scotland, "Macca".

Frank also has a place on the Saturday morning football show, Soccer AM - where the car park is named after him. During the regular spot where fans and celebrities try to kick a ball through a hole in a target, McAvennie missed; in his frustration he lashed out at the ball, which hit one of the ball boys in the face. The location has been known ever since as the Frank McAvennie Car Park.

Lifestyle

During his playing career he reputedly enjoyed a playboy lifestyle involving drink, drugs and a good number of women.

On 12 January 2009, McAvennie received a four month suspended sentence for affray following an incident in July 2008 in which he headbutted a man in Douglas on the Isle of Man

References




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