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Peter Dermot Doherty (5 June 1913 – 6 April 1990) was a Northern Irishmarker professional football player and manager.

Playing career

Born in Magherafeltmarker, County Londonderry, Doherty began his career with Glentoran in the Irish League. After helping Glentoran to the 1933 Irish Cup, early in the 1933–34 season Doherty joined English club Blackpool, at the age of 19. He scored 29 goals in 89 league appearances over three seasons. He joined Manchester City in February 1936 for a then-club-record of £10,000. This was an exceptionally high transfer fee for the period; it came within £1,000 of the British record. Doherty's Manchester City debut, against Preston North End, was not a successful one. Tightly man marked by Bill Shankly throughout, he failed to make an impact, leading to one catcall from the crowd of "Ten thousand pounds? More like ten thousand cigarette cards". Doherty later described the remainder of his first Manchester City season as "uneventful", but his second was to be anything but.

Manchester City started the 1936–37 season poorly, and were in the bottom half of the table until December. Occasional big wins, including a 6–2 defeat of West Bromwich Albion and a 4–1 defeat of Everton, were mixed with extended barren runs; at one point the club gained just one win in twelve matches. However, Doherty was scoring goals regularly. A goal in a 5–3 Christmas Day loss to Grimsby Town was his twelfth of the season. Christmas proved to be a turning point for the club, as a win against Middlesbrough the following day was the start of a long unbeaten run. By April, City were second in the table, and faced a fixture against Arsenal, league leaders and the dominant club of the period. Doherty scored the first goal in a 2–0 win, and City reached the top of the table. The unbeaten run continued until the end of the season, and City secured their first league championship with a 4–1 win over Sheffield Wednesday. Doherty, with 30 league goals, was the club's leading scorer, helped by a run of eleven goals in seven games as the season drew to a close.

Doherty scored 81 goals in 133 league appearances during his time at Maine Roadmarker. During the Second World War years of 1939–1945, Doherty served in the RAF. He remained registered as a Manchester City player, scoring 60 goals in 89 wartime matches, though wartime games are not generally included in official records. He also guested for numerous clubs across the country: Port Vale, Blackburn Roversmarker, Derby County, Birmingham, Brentford, Grimsby Town, Lincoln City, Liverpool, Manchester United, West Bromwich Albion and Walsall. After the conclusion of the war, he transferred to Derby County, with whom he won the FA Cup, scoring a goal in the final itself. He also went on to play for Huddersfield Town,scoring 33 goals in 83 league appearances.

Management career

He made his final move to Doncaster in 1949, where he assumed the role of player-manager. He later became manager of Northern Ireland (1951-1962), for whom he had sixteen caps as a player. He led the country to the 1958 World Cup, reaching the quarter finals. He also managed Bristol City. Later life saw him become a scout for Liverpool, helping to unearth such talents as Kevin Keegan.

Honours and awards

Doherty won a league championship medal with Manchester City in 1937 and a cup winner's medal with Derby in the 1946 FA Cup Final. His performances earned him the nickname Peter 'the Great' Doherty. He was regarded by the legendary Joe Mercer as the greatest player who ever lived.

He was inducted into the English Football Hall of Fame in 2002.

Following his death in 1990, there is a plaque to mark his birthplace in Magherafeltmarker. It can be found at what is now a local barber's shop.


  1. Ward, The Manchester City Story, p36
  2. Ward, The Manchester City Story, p35
  3. James, Manchester City - The Complete Record, p47

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