The Story of Danny McLennan: Scottish Football’s Greatest Loss


If the man from Stirling was to walk down
any street in Scotland, not one person would know who he was. To thousands of others in different corners
of the earth, he was ‘Mr Danny’ and a respected leader. Danny McLennan managed all over the world,
to places where those with fainter hearts might have feared to tread. A man who’s love for football and adventure
led him to skip country to country, becoming the manager of: the Philippines, Mauritius
(twice), Zimbabwe, Iran, Bahrain, Iraq, Malawi, Jordan, Fiji and Libya. Along the way taking on challenges at club
level at posts in Africa, Scandinavia, the Middle East, and India. Born in Stirling in 1925, Danny started out
as a 17-year-old defender with Rangers but would shortly drop down the leagues to play
for the likes of Falkirk, East Fife, Dundee and Berwick Rangers. At East Fife he won the Scottish League Cup
in 1953. Four years later he became the player-manager
of Berwick Rangers; before hanging up his playing boots in 1959. In 1961, McLennan applied for the Dunfermline
managerial position – losing out to the emerging Jock Stein. He became manager at Stirling Albion. Bottom of the Second Division and on the verge
of bankruptcy, he quickly helped them to promotion and in 1962, for the first time in their history,
to the semi-finals of the League Cup. Yet boardroom changes saw him surprisingly
sacked. He wanted away from Scottish football. The new adventure was about to begin. In 1963, through the British consul, he landed
the job as national coach of the Philippines. A year-long contract but high levels of crime
made it difficult for McLennan to settle or have his family over. After a year stint at the Philippines with
the national side, he went on to manage the national team, Mauritius. Later on, in 1968, Sir Stanley Rous, the FIFA
President, helped McLennan land the Zimbabwe post – a position he held for five years. With Zimbabwe, in 1970, he almost achieved
World Cup qualification, but lost each time in the play-offs. His popularity reached top heights that his
name was used in an advertising campaign slogan in Africa which instructed, “Drink Pepsi,
Danny Does…”. He would move on to be Iran national team
boss in 1973. Again, surroundings restricted activity to
daily life. Spies and informers followed his every move
as westerners were deemed as strangers to the country. Despite this, he played a major role in shaping
and developing footballers. In fact, McLennan knew all the players that
would go on to play against Scotland at the Argentina World Cup in 1978, even writing
to Ally MacLeod and gave him information on all of the players, though it is not known
if MacLeod acknowledged this advice. A year later Danny was managing the country
of Bahrain for a short spell before leaving to manage the Iraq national team job. He formed a close friendship with Ammo Baba:
Iraq’s finest ever footballer. Saddam Hussein, although not then installed
as Iraqi president, was already making his presence felt. McLennan said that before we played Bahrain
in the final play-off (of the 1976 Gulf Cup), Saddam said he was going to give each player
a new house if they won. It clearly unsettled them. They would lose the final 4-2 in extra-time. McLennan spent 1978 coaching the Norwegian
side, Kongsvinger, and then moved to Jordan when Danny took charge of the country’s
national side. Two years later, he went to Saudi Arabia,
in 1980, accepting the job with a leading club side. Even though he enjoyed new experiences in
different countries while managing club teams, to Danny they were simply just a stop gap
until a job in international football became available. He then went to Malawi for a year in 1984
having one of his proudest managerial moments. McLennan took them into the African Nations
Cup finals for the first time, had it not been for a blatantly rigged game between Nigeria
and Algeria, to ensure that both teams qualified, Malawi might have progressed further. The family moved back to Jordan and then Malta
for Danny to manage club sides, the Mauritius job (for a second spell) between 1986-1988,
two years with the Kenya Breweries club in Kenya and then the same spell in charge of
National side of Fiji. At the age of 67, McLennan agreed to manage
Libya in 1992. A pivotal time for the nation’s football
as matches were cancelled because of the Lockerbie bombing in 1988. Two UN Security Council Resolutions were passed
to impose sanctions against Libya. McLennan’s team were not allowed to play
anyone. When 70 years old, he took over at Churchill
Brothers Club in Goa, India, for four years, before leaving to take up a managerial post
in Tanzania. However, the climate was unsafe. Robberies, gang crime made life hell, the
McLennans spent a year there before returning for a second time to Churchill Brothers. After a while they returned to Scotland in
Crail, Fife. Unfortunately, in the midst of planning a
trip to Mauritius, Danny suffered a massive stroke and died a week later at the age of
79 on 11th May 2004. Danny McLennan was a forward-thinking, free
spirit before his time. A man who gained huge respect in every country
he set up as a temporary home. A visionary that, undoubtedly, was a loss
to Scottish football.

100 thoughts on “The Story of Danny McLennan: Scottish Football’s Greatest Loss

  1. Thank you guys so much for these amazing videos. I watch so many different things on YouTube, so my algorithm must be all over the place. However every new Tifo video ALWAYS gets the first spot on my home page. Keep up the good work.

  2. Tifo is a very well read team. You don't get this kind of video on the mainstream broadcasters. Keep it up, lads.

  3. What a wonderful video. Christ, I love the way you unearth such amazing figures, who've helped mold football to what it is today.
    Please keep these kinds of videos up, the depth and quality are unassailable!

  4. Speaking of shifting through jobs, can you explain what's & why they're so similar about the merry-go-round manager of relegation zone that they start a term well but eventually grossly mess up & get sacked? Particularly Englishmen.

  5. I really enjoy these videos, but I have a minor criticism, maybe you should use the flag that was used at the time, not the modern one. For example you used the post Iranian revolution flag for Iran, while they were still using the Pahlavi dynasty flag until 1979

  6. Hey Tifo! Can u make a video on top footballers who went bankrupt? I think it would be great…after recently hearing that Ronaldinho has become bankrupt.

  7. Honestly, watching Tifo really does expand my mind! If it wasn't for them, I wouldn't have known half of what they've covered!

  8. This has really changed my mind on Journeymen footballers and coaches, I’d always considered them to just be getting a gig wherever they can but maybe for a lot of them it’s more about using football as a means to explore the world. Fantastic video

  9. oh man ! this channel is so special ! amazing stuff !! all of you should get the highest jobs of sky sports or BT ! then their viewers will increase instantly by millions !

  10. The UK embassy in the Philippines often offers national team gigs to unwanted British managers. Philippines national team have had 4 British managers dating from 1961 (excluding England ex-captain Terry Butcher who walked out before managing a single match).

  11. I know you guys make tons of videos and get requests every day but I would loveeee to see a brief history of the rivalry between Boca and River plate since they are making history by playing against each other in a final for the libertadores.

  12. One week you mention the likes of Madrid' & Milan then the next week it could be East Fife or Brechin' this a real football page for real football fans ⚽ as a Scotsman & a Glasgow Rangers fan 🔴 🇬🇧 🔵 keep up the G8 work Tifo please 👍

  13. Yo, the History series is great but, can we have a couple of more uplifting stories to balance out all the saddish and sweet and sour ones we got lately?

  14. lol he's basically like those backpackers that travel the world and pay for it doing local jobs where ever they are, his local jobs were managing the local team ^_^ What a legend.

    Never heard of him before, but that's not the first time that's happened for me on this channel.

    BUUUUT…What was his tactical approach? Did it change team to team or did he have a set way of playing? Or is this stuff just far too hard to research? I suspect it is lol

  15. I was very young and I remember him from when he was managing Churchill Brothers during his second spell in India. I didn't know do much about him. Thank you, Tifo!

  16. I'm sorry but how is this a good video? They have just narrated the person's Wikipedia section on managed teams year-by-year with one or two sentences for each occasion. I mean, we don't know why he gained respect, or why was he ahead of his time, or why he prefers international team managing, what kind of football philosophy/tradition he identified with, etc. This is a bad video with almost no insight on a (clearly interesting) person's career and life.

  17. Scottish football's second greatest loss was when Scott Arfield chose Canada over Scotland.

    It's third greatest loss was when Ian Cathro was let go from Hearts.

    Rubbish gags aside, this upload is as consistent as expected from this most excellent channel.

  18. Amazing videos!
    I discovered this channel like a week ago and I’ve watched all the videos man!
    Could you please make a video about the tactics of Guardiola’s Barça?
    Thanks!

  19. Amazing content. Other football channels seem to only concentrate on PL and international careers that are common knowledge to real football fans. This content is very refreshing. Love this channel.

  20. Its good to see this. I didnt know he went to the philippines. I just wanted my country to not be a 1 sided sport country. We only focus only basketball which is just unfair to others.

    I actually believe abot rumuours that the spanish colonized us. They taught us football but after the spanish colonization the americans came to us. Theyve introduced basketball instead because it is believed they were absolute shit back then

  21. Thanks

    I am from Iraq

    People in my country still love this coach

    Older people remember him well after more than 43 years of training for Iraq

    They consider him the best foreign coach who has ever trained the Iraqi team

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