Goal! The Ted MacDougall Story
Neil Vachter & Ted MacDougall
Pitch Publishing 2018
Paperback 381pp £12.99
A player who scored 308 times in 617 matches is entitled to a soubriquet and “Super Mac” was certainly appropriately applied to Ted MacDougall as he racked up the goals in the 1960s and 70s.
His was a career that saw him succeed at nearly every level and club. Whether as part of a striking duo, as with Phil Boyer at Bournemouth and Norwich, or operating more alone, he invariably delivered the goods. Ironically his first three seasons as a league player saw York twice have to apply for re-election to the Fourth Division, and Bournemouth relegated. However, after that his “jinx effect” disappeared and he became part of the Cherries’ promotion line up and scored goals at a rapid pace in the Third Division. From 1970 to 1972 his record was 96 goals in 102 games, including nine in one match in the FA Cup. The 70s was a period when top flight clubs had no problems in signing players from further down the league and Manchester United paid £195,000 to take him to Old Trafford. The title of the chapter in his book is “Nightmare at the Theatre of Dreams” and that sums it up. Signed by Frank O’Farrell and jettisoned by Tommy Docherty after 26 games, MacDougall then moved to another club where he became a legend - Norwich City. Taking off from before he reclaimed his reputation as one of the country’s top strikers and maintained it after further moves to Southampton and back to Bournemouth.
He makes no bones about what he saw as his role in the team: to score goals. The concept of a workhorse, covering the pitch is not one that sits easily, but he relished learning about how to do his job better. When John Bond, manager at Bournemouth, said that he had the best striker in the land, Bond made it clear that the rest of the team had the responsibility to get the ball to Ted. Then, after hours honing movement, finding space and working on angles, Mac would more often than not put the ball in the net. Despite his time at a “top club” not working out he maintained a fantastic strike rate in teams with so-called less able players. In all four divisions he appeared near, if not at, the top of the goal scorer charts. Whilst capped just six times by Scotland he still managed three goals, a 50% strike rate that mirrors his total career.
Super Mac is now long retired, but he is not short of opinions on the modern game. Like many former centre forwards he regrets the “softening” of the game, with defenders not allowed to make rugged challenges and almost yearns for the return of Gordon McQueen and his like! There’s a continuing relationship with several of his former clubs despite him now living in the USA. Returns to Portsmouth, York, Norwich and, of course, Bournemouth, prompt him to offer a perspective on their stories between his time and more recently.