Friday, 11 June 2010

41 Ian McMahon

Ian is the guy in the white shirt in the middle . The other Dale players are Dave Grant (L) and Keith Hicks (R)

Position : Midfield (started out as a central defender)

Played : 1983-4 to 1985-6

Appearances : 91

Goals : 8

Curiously Jimmy Greenhoff didn't sign anybody from the start of the season until after Christmas when the injury to Bill Williams forced his hand and he brought in Ian, initially on loan, from Oldham where he'd made two League appearances.

Only 19 he wasn't immediately impressive but considering he was replacing the only decent defender we had that wasn't surprising. His most memorable moment as a centre half was in an absolutely abysmal game away at Chester when pint-sized future Dale man Ron Hildersley disposssed him and started moving away with the ball. McMahon then took him out with a fabulously insouciant headbutt for which he was only booked. Perhaps the ref appreciated his style.

Les Chapman saw enough potential to sign him permanently but he started the following season in the reserves. When Vic Halom brought him into the first team it was in midfield and it was soon clear that he was much better in that position. He was short of pace but fierce in the tackle, a decent passer and had a ferocious shot. He scored an absolute screamer to put us 2-1 up at home to eventual champions Chesterfield and was a key player in the much improved Dale side of 1985. Towards the end of the 1985-6 season he suffered a knee injury which no one suspected at the time would end his career but it did. At the end of the 1986-7 season in which he didn't appear at all he announced his retirement.

Halped by the PFA, he went into sports administration and coaching and later turned up at Spotland again as commercial manager for Hornets. He was chief executive at Doncaster Rovers in the period after the infamous Ken Richardson era and wrote a book "The Only Way Is Up" taking much of the credit for the club's revival. He also had a spell as managing director at Hull. He now resides in America ; check him out at
but beware - he does seem to be from the David Hamilton school of self-serving exaggeration !

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