Leeds United F.C. History
Leeds United F.C. History : Foreword
1919-29 - The Twenties
1930-39 - The Thirties
1939-46 - The War Years
1947-49 - Post War Depression
1949-57 - The Reign of King John
1957-63 - From Charles to Revie
1961-75 - The Revie Years
1975-82 - The Downward Spiral
1982-88 - The Dark Years
1988-96 - The Wilko Years
1996-04 - The Rollercoaster Ride
2004-17 - Down Among The Deadmen
100 Greatest LUFC Players Ever
Greatest Leeds United Games
Players' Profiles
Managers' Profiles
Leeds City F.C. History
Leeds City F.C. Player and Manager Profiles
Leeds United/City Statistics
Leeds United/City Captains
Leeds United/City Friendlies and Other Games
Leeds United/City Reserves and Other Teams

McGovern: John Prescott (John)

1974-1975 (Player Details)


Born: Montrose: 28-10-1949

Debut: v Birmingham City (h): 24-08-1974

5’10” 10st 13lb (1974)

McGovern was born in Montrose but moved to Hartlepool when seven and was educated at Henry Smith’s Grammar School, a rugby-playing school. Despite this he soon showed an aptitude for soccer and Played for Central Park FC, who sent him for a trial with Hartlepool United, where Brian Clough was Manager. He was still only fifteen when Clough gave him his chance in the Reserves, and then while still a schoolboy and only just turned sixteen he gave him his first team debut in the Fourth Division on 30th October 1965 in a 3-1 win at Valley Parade against Bradford City. He duly signed professional forms in May 1967. He was part of their team that were promoted from the Fourth Division in 1967-68. No sooner than McGovern had signed his professional forms than Clough and Taylor moved to Derby County. The incoming Manager, Angus McLean, was so hostile to McGovern that he wondered, if it was worth continuing to play football. Len Shackleton made contact with him and told him that Clough still was interested in him, but that it would help if he submitted a transfer request. McGovern made McLean aware of his unhappiness which stemmed from McLean's arrival and hostility. Clough took him to Derby County in September 1968 for £7,500 and the Rams won the Second Division title that season, so McGovern played in all four Divisions of the Football League in only eighteen months, and was still only nineteen. He was at Hartlepool for two seasons and scored five goals in seventy-two League appearances, of which three were as a substitute. At the Baseball Ground he initially played at Outside-Right for the reserves but Peter Taylor saw that he was no involved in the game and switched him to Central-Midfield and he then forced his way into the first-team. He played a key role in Derby’s 1971-72 League Championship success but once more Clough and Taylor moved from his club. Clough had signed a letter of resignation in late 1973 but the supporters and players held protest meetings. Derby Chairman Longson appointed Dave MacKay, a crowd favourite in Clough's place but it was not the end of the matter. To bring the situation to a head MacKay gave the players a piece of paper saying those who wanted to play for him should sign it. McGovern was the first to do so and when challenged by other players he said "I want to play football. I’m not interested in politics.” A message he also conveyed to Clough when he also asked. MacKay adopted different tactics and this involved Bruce Rioch taking McGovern's place in the team. Clough had kept an eye on McGovern's situation and asked him to join him at Brighton but even though Clough promised to make him captain, but McGovern could not countenance playing in the Third Division. However, when Clough took over at Leeds in August 1974 he again approached McGovern, saying that he couldn't promise a first team spot, as Bremner and Giles were irreplaceable geniuses, but he would be their first replacements. As he was no longer first choice at Derby he accepted Clough's offer and did not have long to wait as Bremner was given a lengthy suspension for his part in the Charity Shield sending off with Kevin Keegan. Derby County received a fee of £125,000 which also included the transfer of John O’Hare as the two players followed their Manager. He made one hundred and ninety League appearances for the Rams, including four as substitute, and scored sixteen goals. His only four appearances at Leeds were as replacement for the suspended Bremner. Tarred with the same brush as Clough, Gordon and O’Hare, McGovern endured a miserable seven months at Leeds after joining United during Brian Clough’s brief but turbulent reign as he was never picked again after Clough departed. Clough did not forget McGovern and after being appointed Manager of Nottingham Forest, he returned to Elland Road in February 1975 and signed O'Hare and McGovern for his new club at a reduced fee. McGovern went on to achieve glory with Clough at Nottingham Forest. He enjoyed seven years of success at Forest, much of it as captain, which included European Cup-winners’ medals in 1979 and 1980, a League Championship medal in 1977-78 and League Cup-winners’ medals in 1978 and 1979. He was also a member of the Forest team won the Anglo-Scottish Cup and gained promotion from the Second Division in 1976-77 and won the Charity Shield in 1978 and the UEFA Super Cup in 1979. While with Forest McGovern made two hundred and fifty-three League appearances, including four as a substitute and scored four goals and made many more appearances in their many Cup quests. In July 1982 he joined Bolton Wanderers as Player-Manager but was dismissed in January 1985. He made sixteen League appearances at Burnden Park without scoring. He then played for Horwich RMI, where he finished his playing career before moving to Tenerife to work in Real Estate. He was appointed Assistant Manager and then was promoted to Manager of Chorley in March 1990. In March 1992 he was named as Peter Shilton’s assistant at Plymouth Argyle, but quit after a bust up with his former Forest colleague. In September 1994, he became joint Manager of Rotherham United, with Archie Gemmill, another former teammate, and steered them to victory over Shrewsbury Town in the 1996 Auto Windscreen Shield Final at Wembley. He was also Assistant Manager at Hull City, from November 1998 to April 2000 and Manager of Woking from June 1997 to September 1998 and Ilkeston Town from October 2000 to March 2001. One of his earliest games in charge was the 4-1 FA Cup defeat at Swindon Town but results were reasonable to begin with although inconsistent. However, it soon became apparent that the players were unresponsive to his management style and a series of woeful displays saw Town drop dangerously close to the relegation zone. He was sacked in early March 2001 after the team had gone eight League games without a win. He won two Scottish Under-Twenty-three caps, both while at Derby County,the first coming on 26th January 1972 in a 2-0 win over Wales at Pittodrie, when he was substituted by Denis McQuade of Partick Thistle, who scored the second Scottish goal, direct from a corner, and his second and final appearance on 14th March 1973, at the Vetch Field, Swansea, as Scotland won 2-1, but he was again substituted, this time by Pat McCluskey of Celtic, but with the glut of fine midfielders available to Scotland during his career, such as Billy Bremner, Graeme Souness, Asa Hartford, Don Masson and Archie Gemmill, he never gained a full cap at International level. He is now an after dinner speaker, and a pundit onBBC Radio Nottingham. He continues to coach lads of all ages around the world including workers in the oil fields of Azerbaijan and girls and boys attending summer schools in the USA.

League 40