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Gordon David Strachan OBE ( ; born 9 February 1957) is a Scottishmarker football manager and former player, currently manager of Championship side Middlesbrough.

Strachan played for Dundee, Aberdeen, Manchester United, Leeds United and finally Coventry City. He also won 50 international caps for Scotland and is a member of the Scotland Football Hall of Famemarker. Strachan was an aggressive, skilful, right-sided midfield player.

Early in his managerial career he had spells with Coventry City and then Southampton in Englandmarker. He was manager of Celtic from 1 June 2005 until 25 May 2009, when he announced his resignation. At Celtic, he won the Scottish Premier League title in three of his four seasons in charge.

He is the father of Craig Strachan and Gavin Strachan, also footballers.

Club career

Born in Edinburghmarker, Strachan started his career at Dundee where he was their youngest ever captain, but it wasn't until he was signed by Aberdeen in November 1977 that he came to prominence. With the famous Aberdeen team of the 1980s, one of the few sides to break the traditional dominance of the Old Firm in Scottish football, he won two Scottish League titles, three Scottish Cups, the European Cup Winners' Cup and the European Super Cup under the management of Alex Ferguson.

In August 1984, Manchester United spent £500,000 to take him to Old Traffordmarker in August. He was initially successful, contributing massively to their FA Cup victory over Everton in 1985, but gradually began to suffer a loss in form and eventually lost his place as a regular first team player.

Leeds United manager Howard Wilkinson came to the rescue in March 1989, when he paid £200,000 for Strachan's services. The transfer fee soon paid dividends as Strachan's strong form resulted in Leeds winning the Second Division title in 1990 and gaining promotion to the First Division after an eight-year exile. The following season he helped Leeds finish fourth in the First Division and Strachan was voted Football Writers' Association Footballer of the Year. A year later, he was instrumental in Leeds overtaking Manchester United to win the 1991–92 League Championship title in the last ever season of the old Football League before the creation of the FA Premier League. Strachan continued to be a competent and regular first-team player as Leeds enjoyed mixed fortunes during their first three seasons of the Premier League, although he was sometimes kept out of the side by back problems.

Gordon Strachan remained at Leeds United until March 1995, when he moved to Coventry City to work as player-coach under new manager Ron Atkinson. Strachan was not a regular first-team player at Highfield Roadmarker, but he helped coach the club's players to a high enough standard to escape relegation from the Premier League in 1995–96.

International career

Strachan had a fruitful International career which included 5 goals. He appeared in two FIFA World Cups — in 1982 and 1986 - and it was in the latter that he scored his most famous International goal, a cross shot against West Germany in Scotland's second match of the tournament in Queretaromarker, Mexico. His celebration was unique and comical too, as he attempted to vault the advertising hoarding, his relatively small height made it difficult if not impossible, so he merely rested his right leg on it as his team-mates joined him in celebrating. This goal gave Scotland a surprise lead against one of the world's top national sides, but they ultimately lost the game 2-1 and failure to beat Uruguay in the final game of the group stages ended their hopes of reaching the last 16.

Management career

Coventry City

When Ron Atkinson became Coventry City's Director of Football in November 1996, Gordon Strachan was promoted to the manager's seat. He finally retired as a player at the end of the season after making his last appearance at the age of 40, at the time a record in the English Premier League. Strachan also helped the Sky Blues pull off perhaps the most unlikely relegation survival in Premier League history. After losing their penultimate league game, it looked as though their 30-year top flight tenancy had come to an end. But thanks to a victory on the final day, a draw for Middlesbrough (who had been deducted 3 points by the FA) and a defeat for Sunderland, they pulled off a miracle survival. Strachan kept Coventry safe from relegation until 2001, when they finally went down after 34 years of top division football. He was sacked shortly after the start of the 2001–02 Division One campaign.


Gordon Strachan returned to management within weeks, taking the manager's job at Premier League strugglers Southampton - who had sacked manager Stuart Gray after a terrible start to their first season at the new St Mary's Stadiummarker. Most pundits had already written them off come Strachan's appointment in October 2001, but he turned round their fortunes and they finished 11th in the Premier League. The Saints progressed further in 2002–03 when they finished eighth and reached the FA Cup final, where they lost 1-0 to Arsenal. But since Arsenal had qualified for the UEFA Champions League, Southampton qualified for the 2003–04 UEFA Cup.

Break from management

In February 2004, Gordon Strachan announced his resignation as Southampton manager. He had earlier announced his intention not to renew his contract when it expired at the end of the 2003–04 season, but resigned even earlier than intended because he wanted to spend time with his family.

Later that year, when Berti Vogts stepped down as Scottish national coach, Strachan was widely tipped to take over; however, the job eventually went to Walter Smith instead. He was even linked with the manager's job at Portsmouth, neighbours of his former club Southampton, but turned down the offer to take over.

Instead Strachan analysed football matches for the media, most notably alongside Adrian Chiles on the BBC's Match of the Day 2. Renowned for his deadpan humour as much as his shrewd tactical awareness, quotes attributed to Strachan have become legendary among football supporters.


Gordon Strachan finally returned to management on 1 June 2005, when he succeeded Martin O'Neill as manager of Celtic in the Scottish Premier League (SPL). For 2005–06, his stated aim was to regain the SPL title from rivals Rangers. He had an embarrassing start to his campaign as Celtic manager, however, losing 5-0 to Slovakianmarker champions Artmedia Bratislava on 27 July 2005 and 3 days later only managing to draw 4-4 with Motherwell in his first SPL match in charge of the Glasgowmarker club. The loss against Artmedia meant that Celtic suffered an early exit from European competition, despite winning the return match 4-0.

After this disastrous start, Celtic started to improve under Strachan, leading the SPL by as much as 20 points despite playing with a defence that came under regular criticism from the media and fans. A low-point was the shock defeat in the third round of the Scottish Cup to First Division Clyde on 8 January 2006. However, the following month his team made history when they beat Dunfermline Athletic 8-1, a record victory margin for the SPL.

Strachan's first season was ultimately successful as he coached Celtic to victory in the Scottish League Cup and, on 5 April 2006 his side clinched the SPL title in record time and with six matches remaining. Reflecting this achievement, Strachan was voted 'manager of the year' by the Scottish Football Writers' Association 8 days later.

The following year Strachan restructured the team and made a series of signings, bringing in players such as Hibernian's Derek Riordan, Chelsea's Jiri Jarosik, Lee Naylor from Wolverhampton Wanderers, Jan Vennegoor of Hesselink from PSV Eindhoven, Thomas Gravesen from Real Madrid and both Paul Hartley and Steven Pressley from Heart of Midlothian. Celtic flourished, and by mid-January 2007 held a 17 point lead in the SPL standings.

Champions League football again returned to Celtic Park as well, the team having automatically qualified for the group stages and being drawn alongside Benfica, FC Copenhagen and Manchester United. Home victories against all three Group F members saw the team progress to the final 16 of the Champions League for the first time since the competition was re-formatted in 1993. Celtic lost the tie, against eventual winners AC Milan in extra time, missing out in a place in the quarter finals.

On 22 April 2007 Strachan guided Celtic to their 41st league championship, and second in succession. A 2–1 victory against Kilmarnock left Celtic 13 points clear of Rangers with four matches remaining. Later that day Strachan was recognised as the inaugural Scottish PFA Manager of the Year for 2007. Celtic then went on to win the SFA Cup, beating Dunfermline.

In the 2007–08 season, Strachan was able to lead Celtic into the last 16 of the Champions League again after beating AC Milan, Benfica and Shaktar Donetsk. However by April there was a lot of criticism from the press and the fans after the 1-0 loss to Aberdeen in the Scottish Cup quarter final and the 1-0 loss to 10 man Motherwell in the league. But he was to prove the critics wrong again and after beating Rangers twice at home, on 22 May 2008, Strachan became only the third ever Celtic manager to guide the club to three consecutive Scottish league titles.

After failing to lead Celtic to another league title in the 2008/09 season, he stepped down as manager on 25 May 2009.


Strachan was appointed manager of Championship team Middlesbrough on 26 October 2009, in succession to Gareth Southgate and signed a four-year contract. His first game in charge was on 31 October where Middlesbrough lost 1–0 to Plymouth Argyle with Adam Johnson missing a penalty.

Management style

Typically playing a traditional 4-4-2 formation, and very occasionally 4-5-1, Strachan is widely known for his rigorous management style, and admits to watching video replays of his club's games two, sometimes three times. He also places great emphasis on player health and fitness, forbidding his players to drink alcohol excessively or regularly, and often giving dietary advice to his players — attributing his own longevity as a player to a strict and somewhat unusual diet involving seaweed. Players such as Scotland international Gary Caldwell have attributed their success at Celtic to lifestyle changes enforced by Strachan.

FIFA/SOS Ambassador for Scotland

Strachan was appointed as the official FIFA/SOS Ambassador for Scotland, joining Wayne Rooney (Ambassador for England), Ruud van Nistelrooy (Netherlands), and fifty others in fund raising for the official 2006 FIFA World Cup Charity.

Personal life

He is the father of Craig Strachan and Gavin Strachan, also footballers.

Career statistics

Managerial statistics




Manchester United:

Leeds United:





  1. Colin Moffat, Kilmarnock 1-2 Celtic, BBC Sport, 22 April 2007
  2. Strachan Quits as manager, The Herald Retrieved 25 May 2009

External links

1974-75 Dundee Division One 1 0
1975-76 Premier Division 23 6
1976-77 Division One 36 7
1977-78 Aberdeen Premier Division 12 2
1978-79 31 5
1979-80 33 10
1980-81 20 6
1981-82 30 7
1982-83 32 12
1983-84 25 13

1984-85 Manchester United First Division 41 15
1985-86 28 5
1986-87 34 4
1987-88 36 8
1988-89 21 1
1988-89 Leeds United Second Division 11 3
1989-90 46 16
1990-91 First Division 34 7
1991-92 36 4
1992-93 Premier League 31 4
1993-94 33 3
1994-95 6 0
1994-95 Coventry City Premier League 5 0
1995-96 12 0
1996-97 9 0
G W D L Win %
Coventry City
5 November 1996
10 September 2001
215 70 56 89 32.55
22 October 2001
13 February 2004
110 39 32 39 35.45
1 June 2005
25 May 2009
182 122 28 32 67.03
26 October 2009
4 0 2 2 0.00

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