Former Preston North End player and manager Tommy Docherty has passed away, aged 92

Former Preston North End player and manager Tommy Docherty has died the age of 92, his family have announced.

Thursday, 31st December 2020, 5:18 pm
Updated Thursday, 31st December 2020, 5:32 pm
Tommy Docherty (left) in action for Preston North End

As a player, Docherty joined North End from Celtic in 1949, signed as a replacement for Bill Shankly.

He made 323 league appearances for the club - one of only 18 players in the PNE '300 club' - scoring five goals.

'The Doc' also played in 26 FA Cup ties for the Lilywhites. He stayed at Deepdale until 1958 when he signed for Arsenal.

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Tommy Docherty (left) with his great friend Sir Tom Finney

Docherty was the last surviving member of the PNE side which reached the 1954 FA Cup Final, where they were beaten 3-2 by West Bromwich Albion.

He was an ever-present in the 1950/51 season when the Lilywhites won the Second Division title, earning their return to the top flight after two seasons away.

Two seasons later, Docherty missed only one league game as North End were runners-up to Arsenal for the First Division title, missing out only on goal average.

He was capped 25 times by Scotland, playing at the 1958 World Cup

Tommy Docherty is welcomed back to Deepdale by Sir Tom Finney - and watched by the board - after being named Preston North End manager in June 1981

The Scotsman was to return to Deepdale for an ill-fated spell as manager in 1981. It is fair to say his playing days at PNE will be remembered better than his time as boss.

He succeeded Nobby Stiles in June 1981 after North End had been relegated from the Second Division.

PNE called for 'the Doc' from Australia where he was managing Sydney Olympic.

Part of the deal to bring him back saw Sydney Olympic fly in to play a friendly at Deepdale.

Docherty only lasted in the job until December 4 that year, winning just three of his 17 league games in charge.

North End remained a club close to Docherty's heart though, attending sportsman's dinners in the city and always willing to talk about his time at Deepdale.

He was close to Sir Tom Finney who was a team-mate throughout his time as a Preston player and someone Doc described as the best player he had ever played with.

Sir Tom was club president when Docherty was appointed PNE manager.

North End were one of 12 clubs Docherty managed, with him also having a spell in charge of Scotland.

He was best known for his five years in charge of Manchester United between 1972 and 1977, United winning the FA Cup in 1977 after beating Liverpool 2-1 at Wembley.

Docherty passed away on New Year's Eve at his home in the North West after a long illness.

A family spokesperson said in a statement released to the PA news agency: "Tommy passed away peacefully surrounded by his family at home.

"He was a much-loved husband, father and papa and will be terribly missed.

"We ask that our privacy be respected at this time. There will be no further comment."

North End posted a tribute on Twitter to Docherty.

It read: "Everyone at Preston North End is deeply saddened to learn of the passing of our former player and manager Tommy Docherty, who made over 300 appearances for the club.

"Our thoughts are with Tommy's loved ones at this sad time."

Also on Twitter, Manchester United posted: "We are deeply saddened by the passing of Tommy Docherty, who led us to FA Cup victory in 1977 with a thrilling, attacking team in the best traditions of Manchester United. Everyone at the club sends sincere condolences to Tommy's loved ones."

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