Mick McCarthy

For other people with the same name, see Michael McCarthy (disambiguation).
Mick McCarthy

A man wearing a black waterproof jacket, with the Wolverhampton Wanderers logo on the left side

McCarthy managing Wolverhampton Wanderers in 2011
Personal information
Full name Michael Joseph McCarthy
Date of birth (1959-02-07) 7 February 1959
Place of birth Barnsley, England
Height 6 ft 2 in (1.88 m)
Playing position Defender
Club information
Current team
Ipswich Town (manager)
Senior career*
Years Team Apps (Gls)
1977–1983 Barnsley 272 (7)
1983–1987 Manchester City 140 (2)
1987–1989 Celtic 48 (8)
1989–1990 Lyon 10 (1)
1990Millwall (loan) 6 (0)
1990–1992 Millwall 29 (2)
Total 505 (20)
National team
1979 Republic of Ireland U23 1 (1)
1984–1992 Republic of Ireland 57 (2)
Teams managed
1992–1996 Millwall
1996–2002 Republic of Ireland
2003–2006 Sunderland
2006–2012 Wolverhampton Wanderers
2012– Ipswich Town

* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only.

Michael Joseph 'Mick' McCarthy (born 7 February 1959) is a professional football manager, pundit and former player who is the current manager of Ipswich Town. Born in Barnsley, England with an Irish father, he played for the Republic of Ireland on 57 occasions scoring 2 goals.

McCarthy began his playing career at Barnsley in 1977, and he later had spells at Manchester City, Celtic, Lyon, and finally Millwall, retiring in 1992.

He went on to manage Millwall, and then the Republic of Ireland. He guided Ireland to the knockout stage of the 2002 FIFA World Cup in South Korea and Japan. He later managed Sunderland, and then Wolverhampton Wanderers. He has also worked as a television pundit and commentator, most recently for the BBC.

Playing career


Born in Barnsley, Yorkshire, McCarthy made his league debut for then-Fourth Division Barnsley on 20 August 1977 in a 4–0 win over Rochdale. He spent two years in the basement league, before the club won promotion. Two years later, the team again went up to the (old) Division 2. A strong central defender, he was a virtual ever-present for his hometown club, but departed in December 1983 for fellow Division 2 club Manchester City.

The Maine Road club won promotion in McCarthy's first full season and he finally had the chance to play at the highest level. His first season in the top flight was steady enough as the club reached midtable, but relegation struck the following year. McCarthy himself would not face the drop though as he moved to Celtic in May 1987.

He picked up his first silverware at the Scottish club as they won the league and cup double in his first season. The following season McCarthy again won a Scottish Cup winners medal, although the club had to settle for third place in the league.

McCarthy again moved onto a new country, as he joined Lyon in July 1989. However, things did not work out for the defender in France and, feeling his international chances were being harmed, he returned to England on loan with top flight Millwall in March 1990. Despite the London side suffering relegation during his loan period, McCarthy impressed enough to earn a move and he was signed permanently in May 1990 for £200,000. His appearances in the next two seasons were often limited by injuries and he effectively retired from playing when he took over as manager of the club in 1992.


McCarthy was eligible for the Republic of Ireland because his father, Charles, was Irish. Making his international debut in a goalless friendly against Poland on 23 May 1984, McCarthy soon became a first-choice player and featured in all three of Ireland's games at Euro '88. He went on to become captain, leading to the nickname "Captain Fantastic", as per the title of his autobiography.

The highlight of McCarthy's international career was the second-round penalty shoot-out win over Romania in the 1990 World Cup finals. This led to a crunch tie with hosts Italy in the quarter-final, where Ireland's first ever appearance in the finals came to an end, losing 1–0. McCarthy was the player who committed the most fouls in the 1990 tournament.

In total, McCarthy won 57 caps for the Republic of Ireland; scoring two goals, one against Yugoslavia in April 1988, the other against the United States in May 1992.

International goals

Scores and results list Republic of Ireland's goal tally first.
# Date Venue Opponent Score Result Competition
1. 27 April 1988 Lansdowne Road, Dublin  Yugoslavia 1–0 2–0 Friendly
2. 30 May 1992 Robert F. Kennedy Memorial Stadium, Washington  United States 1–0 1–3 1992 U.S. Cup

Management career


McCarthy became player-manager at Millwall in March 1992, succeeding Bruce Rioch. In his first full season (1992–93), he was still registered as a player, but made only one further appearance (in the Anglo-Italian Cup), before he became solely a manager.

He took the club to the play-offs in 1993–94 after a strong third-place finish, but they lost out to Derby County in the semi finals. During the 1995–96 season, McCarthy became the prime candidate for the vacant Republic of Ireland manager's job, after the resignation of Jack Charlton. After a protracted period of speculation, McCarthy was officially appointed on 5 February 1996, two days after his resignation at the club. Despite sitting a comfortable 14 points clear from the relegation zone at the time of his departure, Millwall would go on to suffer the drop (by virtue of goals scored) after McCarthy's departure.

His disastrous loan signings of the grossly underachieving Russian internationals Sergei Yuran and Vassili Kulkov from Spartak Moscow, who each received a £150,000 signing-on fee and were being paid five times the wage of the rest of the first team, would later be cited as one of the main reasons Millwall were eventually relegated under Jimmy Nicholl, although it cannot be proven.[1]

Republic of Ireland

In February 1996, McCarthy became the new manager of the Republic of Ireland football team following the resignation of Jack Charlton. McCarthy's first game in charge of the Republic of Ireland team was a friendly international against Russia on 27 March 1996 which finished in a 0–2 defeat. After two narrow failures to qualify for the 1998 World Cup and Euro 2000, McCarthy took the nation to the 2002 World Cup held in Korea and Japan after a 2–1 play-off aggregate win against Iran.[2] However, their tournament was overshadowed by a very public and bitter spat between McCarthy and the team's star player Roy Keane, who was sent home without having kicked a ball on the eve of the tournament. The conflict occurred after Keane had questioned the quality of the preparations and facilities the team were using.[3]

Despite this furore, McCarthy's team reached the second round but were eliminated by Spain in a penalty shoot-out (after having already missed and scored a penalty in normal time), thus fractionally missing out on a quarter-final place. Indeed, the narrowness of the elimination meant Ireland were the ninth best performers at the World Cup, and the fifth best among European teams in the competition. In spite of this, the Keane issue remained, with the proportion of blame undecided. Many in Ireland sided with Keane — particularly following a televised interview in which details of poor preparation were revealed — and demanded McCarthy's resignation both during and after the tournament. An independent inquiry into the organisation's handling of the squad's preparation later commissioned by the FAI created a damning report, leading to general secretary Brendan Menton tendering his resignation.[4]

Criticism of McCarthy in the media became increasingly intense after a poor start to Ireland's qualifying campaign for Euro 2004. In particular, his persistence with several players and tactics that some perceived to be inadequate did him damage, as did a 4–2 away defeat to Russia and a 2–1 home defeat to Switzerland. Under mounting pressure, McCarthy resigned from the post on 5 November 2002.[5] During his 68 games in charge, the Republic of Ireland won 29, drew 20 and lost 19.[6]


On 12 March 2003, he was appointed manager of struggling Sunderland as an immediate replacement for Howard Wilkinson, who was sacked after six successive Premiership defeats left the club facing near-certain relegation.[7] McCarthy could not stop Sunderland's slide, and the Black Cats were relegated at the end of the season.

However, he largely escaped blame for the relegation and was retained as manager. The following season, McCarthy took Sunderland to the First Division promotion play-offs, but lost in a penalty shoot-out to Crystal Palace after Palace had scored a stoppage-time equaliser.

McCarthy completed the turnaround of the club in the 2004–05 season. The Black Cats returned to the Premiership as Football League Championship champions, amassing an impressive 94 points.

Life in the Premiership was much tougher for McCarthy though, as he was unable to spend much to strengthen the team. After a poor season and with the club 16 points from safety with only 10 games remaining, he was dismissed on 6 March 2006.[8] In an ironic postscript, Sunderland eventually appointed Roy Keane as their next permanent manager.

Wolverhampton Wanderers

On 21 July 2006, McCarthy was appointed manager at Championship side Wolverhampton Wanderers,[9] replacing Glenn Hoddle who had departed a fortnight before. The Midlands club faced an uncertain future after having to sell the majority of their first-team players, though despite this situation, McCarthy promised Premier League football at Molineux within three seasons. From this awkward position, McCarthy managed to collect together a team from the club's youth ranks, and some lower league signings, and free transfers. Despite the lack of expectations, the team managed to make the promotion play-offs in McCarthy's first season, but it was third time unlucky for McCarthy in them as the team lost out to local rivals West Bromwich Albion over two legs, losing 3–2 at Molineux and 1–0 at The Hawthorns.

In the 2007–08 season he took the club to within a single placing of a successive play-off finish, ending seventh, losing the coveted sixth place to Watford by a goal difference of only one (although another goal would have been required to overcome Watford's superior goals scored record). The campaign had also seen him linked with the international positions of South Korea and his previous post as Republic of Ireland manager.[10]

The 2008–09 season started well for McCarthy as he won the August Championship Manager of the Month Award, after seeing his side reach the top of the table,[11] eventually going on to match Wolves' record start to a season (equaling the 1949–50 season). Wolves maintained their position at the top of the table over the following months, and McCarthy again scooped the Manager of the Month Award for November.[12] After maintaining top spot since October, McCarthy's Wolves secured promotion to the Premier League by beating QPR 1–0 on 18 April 2009. The following week McCarthy clinched his second Championship as a manager after a 1–1 draw at his hometown club Barnsley. He won the Championship Manager of the Season Award at the conclusion of the campaign, his side having led the table for 42 of 46 games.

The following season, McCarthy kept Wolves in the Premier League, his first success at this level in three attempts. The club assured safety with two games to spare, eventually finishing 15th, their best league finish since 1979–80, and their first ever survival in the modern Premier League. However, in the process of keeping the team in the top division, Wolves and McCarthy were fined £25,000 for fielding a weakened team for a fixture at Manchester United and thus breaking the Premier League rule E20. The Premier League also stated that the club had failed to fulfil its obligations to the league and other clubs in the utmost good faith and was therefore in breach of Rule B13.[13]

The club's second consecutive top flight campaign was a dramatic one. The team spent the majority of the campaign mired in the relegation zone, yet managed to defeat the likes of Manchester City F.C.,[14] Manchester United,[15] Liverpool[16] and Chelsea.[17] A final day loss to Blackburn put them in danger of relegation, but results elsewhere meant they narrowly survived in 17th place, one point ahead of relegated Birmingham and Blackpool.[18] This gave McCarthy the distinction of being the first Wolves manager in thirty years to maintain the club's top flight position for two successive seasons.

The 2011–12 season began well for McCarthy and, at one stage, his team topped the Premier League after beginning with two wins.[19] However, results tailed off and by January they had once again entered the relegation zone after nine games without victory. That same season Wolves sold £15,000,000 worth of players and with the board allowing McCarthy to spend just £12,000,000 it seemed inevitable when McCarthy was sacked as Wolves manager on 13 February 2012[20] after a run of poor results, including a 5–1 home defeat to local rivals West Bromwich Albion. At the time of his dismissal, he was the 7th longest-serving current manager in English league football, having spent 5 years and 207 days at Wolves.

McCarthy cut short his holiday to Portugal to enter talks with new Nottingham Forest owners the Al-Hasawi family. It was confirmed on 15 July 2012 that new Nottingham Forest owners were in talks with McCarthy and he could be named as the new manager within days.[21] Despite being in talks with Nottingham Forest McCarthy rejected them, due to him wanting a job in the Premier League.[22]

Ipswich Town

On 1 November 2012, McCarthy was appointed manager at Championship side Ipswich Town[23] on a two and a half year contract.[24] McCarthy's appointment came in the wake of Paul Jewell's dismissal via mutual consent. McCarthy won his first match in charge as Ipswich manager on 3 November 2012, away at Birmingham, 0–1. This broke a 12 match winless run[25] in the league, 13 matches in all competitions. McCarthy guided Ipswich past Burnley on 10 November – the first home win since March after a late DJ Campbell winner. The match ended 2–1.[26] With a win against Nottingham Forest in late November, his sixth game in charge, McCarthy had successfully guided Ipswich out of the relegation zone.[27] McCarthy's Ipswich stopped Millwall's 13-match unbeaten run with a 3–0 home win on 8 December. On 2 February 2013, McCarthy's assistant Terry Connor took charge of a 4–0 rout of Middlesbrough while McCarthy was ill. McCarthy then guided Ipswich to safety, finally finishing in 14th place. Prior to the 2013–14 season, McCarthy had signed 10 new players. McCarthy's first full season in charge of Ipswich ended with the club finishing in 9th place.

On 30 June 2014 Mick McCarthy and Terry Connor agreed a new three-year deal with Ipswich.[28] The following season he led the club to their first appearance in the Championship playoffs in ten years with a sixth-placed finish, before losing out to rivals Norwich City in the semi-finals.

During the 2015/16 season McCarthy and assistant Terry Connor renewed their contracts for a further two seasons, with the option to extend until 2020. McCarthy led Ipswich to a 7th-place finish in his third full season at Portman Road.

Career statistics


Club performance League Cup League Cup Continental Total
Season Club League Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals
England League FA Cup League Cup Europe Total
1977–78Barnsley[29]Fourth Division461202100502
1979–80Third Division441204000501
1981–82Second Division421108100512
1983–84Manchester City[29]Second Division241100000251
1985–86First Division380403000450
Scotland League Scottish Cup League Cup Europe Total
1987–88CelticScottish Premier League223603000313
France League Coupe de France Coupe de la Ligue Europe Total
1989–90Olympique LyonnaisDivision 1101000000101
England League FA Cup League Cup Europe Total
1989–90Millwall[29]First Division6000000060
1990–91Second Division120000000120
Country England 447112403840050915
Scotland 4881106040638
France 101000000101
Total 505203504444058824



Republic of Ireland national team

Managerial statistics

As of match played 3 December 2016
Managerial record by team and tenure
Team From To Record Ref
Millwall 18 March 1992 4 February 1996 203 74 70 59 36.5 [31]
Republic of Ireland 1 March 1996 5 November 2002 68 29 20 19 42.6 [6][31]
Sunderland 12 March 2003 6 March 2006 147 63 26 58 42.9 [31]
Wolverhampton Wanderers 21 July 2006 13 February 2012 270 104 66 100 38.5 [31]
Ipswich Town 1 November 2012 Present 205 81 59 65 39.5 [24][31]
Total 892 351 241 300 39.3





Wolverhampton Wanderers



  1. Bethel, Chris; Millwall Football Club 1940–2001 Tempus Publishing Ltd, 2001, p.122; ISBN 0-7524-2187-5
  2. "Iran 1 – 0 Ireland (agg: 1 – 2)". Guardian. 15 November 2001. Retrieved 18 October 2013.
  3. "Keane v McCarthy: blow-by-blow" news.BBC.co.uk (Sport), 28 May 2002 (Retrieved: 19 August 2009)
  4. "Menton quits following damning FAI report" RTÉ.ie, 12 November 2002 (Retrieved: 19 August 2009)
  5. "McCarthy quits Republic" news.BBC.co.uk (Sport), 6 November 2002 (Retrieved: 19 August 2009)
  6. 1 2 "Mick McCarthy – Irish Soccer Manager". Soccer Ireland. Retrieved 22 January 2016.
  7. "McCarthy unveiled as Sunderland boss" news.BBC.co.uk (Sport), 12 March 2003 (Retrieved: 19 August 2009)
  8. "Sunderland sack manager McCarthy" news.BBC.co.uk (Sport), 6 March 2006 (Retrieved: 19 August 2009)
  9. "McCarthy named new Wolves manager" news.BBC.co.uk (Sport), 21 July 2006 (Retrieved: 19 August 2009)
  10. "McCarthy rules out Korea position" news.BBC.co.uk (Sport), 5 December 2007 (Retrieved: 19 August 2009)
  11. "Wolves boss scoops monthly award" news.BBC.co.uk (Sport), 4 September 2008 (Retrieved: 19 August 2009)
  12. "McCarthy is top Championship boss" news.BBC.co.uk (Sport), 4 December 2008 (Retrieved: 19 August 2009)
  13. "Wolves hit with suspended £25,000 fine for fielding weakened team at Manchester United". Daily Mail. London. 18 February 2010. Retrieved 27 October 2010.
  14. "Wolverhampton 2–1 Man City". BBC Sport. 30 October 2010.
  15. "Wolverhampton 2–1 Man Utd". BBC Sport. 5 February 2011.
  16. "Liverpool 0–1 Wolverhampton". BBC Sport. 29 December 2010.
  17. "Wolverhampton 0–1 Chelsea". BBC Sport. 5 January 2011.
  18. Lyon, Sam (22 May 2011). "Premier League D-Day as it happened". BBC Sport.
  19. "Wolverhampton 2–0 Fulham". BBC Sport. 21 August 2011.
  20. "Wolves sack manager Mick McCarthy". BBC News. 13 February 2012. Retrieved 13 February 2012.
  21. http://www.dailystar.co.uk/football/view/262457/Mick-McCarthy-set-for-Nottingham-Forest/?
  22. "Ex-Wolves boss McCarthy rejected Forest job in hope of Premier League offer". Daily Mail. London.
  23. "Ipswich look to McCarthy as Jewell replacement". FFO. Retrieved 1 November 2012.
  24. 1 2 "Mick McCarthy: Ipswich Town appoint ex-Wolves boss". BBC Sport. 1 November 2012. Retrieved 22 January 2016.
  25. http://espnfc.com/us/en/report/344027/report.html?soccernet=true&cc=5901
  26. http://www.twtd.co.uk/ipswich-town-news/21844/town-2-1-burnley
  27. http://www.twtd.co.uk/ipswich-town-news/21976/mccarthy-out-of-bottom-three-but-job-still-tough
  28. http://www.itfc.co.uk/news/article/boss-signs-new-deal-1706714.aspx
  29. 1 2 3 "McCarthy, MJ (Mick)", English National Football Archive
  30. "Mick McCarthy". National Football Teams. Retrieved 13 February 2012.
  31. 1 2 3 4 5 "Managers: Mick McCarthy". Soccerbase. Centurycom. Retrieved 9 June 2016.
  32. "McCarthy wins top RTÉ Sporting award". RTÉ Sport. 4 January 2002. Retrieved 4 January 2002.
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