Billy McNeill. RIP 1940-2019

Discussion in 'TalkCeltic News' started by Luke Kelly, Apr 23, 2019.

By Luke Kelly on Apr 23, 2019 at 10:53 AM
  1. Luke Kelly Gold Member Gold Member News Writer

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    The Celtic family and the footballing world has woken today to the devastating news that our Legendary captain, one-club player, former manager and honourary Club Ambassador - William "Billy" McNeill - has passed away after a lengthy period of ill health at the age of 79.

    Tributes are pouring in from across the globe as we mourn of the loss of someone who wasn't simply a player, but embodied everything that Celtic was, and who gave the majority of his life in service to this club and to it's people.



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    As a life-long supporter, Billy began his professional association with the club in 1957 as a player and remained at the club until he retired in 1975, having made 790 appearances for the Hoops - none of which came as a substitute! McNeill scored 34 goals in this time, with his most famous being the winner in the 1965 Scottish Cup final, and the winning goal against Vojvodina in the semi-final of the 1967 European Cup that lead us to the final...

    The man who had been given the moniker of "Cesar" - after the actor Cesar Romero - was more like a Ceaser to the club. The man who hailed from Lithuanian descent was nothing but a statuesque emperor in the Celtic defence. Like the legendary leader he was, it was McNeil's finest moment as along with the rest of the men who would later be dubbed the "Lisbon Lions" as Bhoys in Green and White roared to European success on THAT day in Lisbon on the 25th May 1967 as Celtic beat Inter Milan 2-1 to become the first Scottish team (and British team) to secure European glory.


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    A further European Cup final in 1970 ended in heartbreak for Cesar and Co, as well as two later European semi-cup finals in 72' and 74'. Billy was awarded an MBE in 1974 for his achievements


    McNeill's success as a Celtic player did not end there, with multiple league domestic wins and Scottish domestic cups, with his final win coming as McNeill's playing career came to an end as he lead the Hoops for one final time to win the Scottish Cup in 1975.

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    Big Billy began his managerial career with a short spell with Celtic's under 16's, then with Clyde and onto Aberdeen, but Cesar was once again to come home, as he was appointed Celtic manager, succeeding the one and only former boss Jock Stein alongside his dear friend and colleague (fellow Lisbon Lion) John Clark as his assistant. In that first season as manager, McNeill had again lead his beloved Celtic to an emphatic League success as Celtic secured it with a 4-2 win over the great enemy (Rangers) on a day that many Celtic fans have came to know as the day that "10 men won the league!"


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    A further scottish Cup would be captured, then with back-to-back league successes in 1981 and 1982, McNeill's relationship with the board grew tentative and he left in 1983 to manage Manchester City and then Aston Villa with mixed success and, unfortunately, failure.

    Celtic was never too far away for Billy though, as he would once again be brought back to his spiritual home as he became manager for the 2nd time in 1987 in the club's Centenary year. In a fairy-tail season for the Celtic family, Billy would lead to Hoops to a memorable League and Scottish Cup double in one of the most incredible years in the club's history.


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    Billy's professional career with Celtic as manager ended in 1991, and it was also the end of Billy's career in coaching/management as he retired with the end of his Celtic career.

    Billy the supporter had returned, and spent the majority of his time being seen on matchdays supporting the club and mixing his fellow supporters, along with performing several media duties. Although Billy still remained unhappy about the manner at which his professional capacity had ended with Celtic, he was still one of us, and remained one of us.

    Billy had a short tenure at Hibs as football development manager, and took charge of the team for one game in 1998 after Jim Duffy had been sacked, but left the club at the end of the 1997-1998 season (the season famous for Celtic fans as the one where we Stopped the TEN!)

    Billy received the award as Glasgow's Sportsman of the Millenium in 1999, and then in 2002 he was voted as Celtic's Greatest Ever Captain by the Celtic support.

    In 2003, Billy and former on-the-pitch foe, but friend ex-Rangers player Eric Caddow stood as candidates for the Scottish Senior Citizens Unity Party in the Scottish Parliament elections, he was then awarded an honourary degree from the University of Glasgow in 2008 for recognition for outstanding achievement

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    Billy became an honorary Celtic Club Ambassador in 2009 - a role which he continued until ailing health limited him in later years.

    Big Billy received one of his greatest awards in 2015 as the club awarded him a bronze statue at the start of the "Celtic Way" outside Parkhead - a befitting image that depicts him holding aloft the prestigious European Cup in honour of his 1967 triumph


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    Sadly though, Billy's later years in life brought about one of his greatest battles as he fought the debilitating disease, dementia. Billy's wife Liz spoke openly about how the crippling illness was robbing the great leader of his memory.

    Rather befitting, Billy in recent days received a touching award from Spanish Club Athletic Bilbao for his service as a "one club man" in his achievements and loyalty to Celtic


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    If we can offer his wife and family any sort of peace though, is that Billy's life and achievements may have been taken from his memory, but the memories and the legacies that Billy left us all will NEVER be forgotten.

    As Bill Shankly said to Jock Stein when the manager lead Billy and Co to 1967 EC glory - "You're immortal now, Jock" - well, as Billy leaves his mortal body, he is well and truly immortal in every sense of the word.

    To Billy’s wife, Liz, their children, Susan, Paula, Libby, Carol and Martyn, grandchildren and all his many family and friends, we at TalkCeltic offer our sincerest condolences.


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    To you Billy, we give you and your memory our sincerest support, and we can only let you know, thank you, and You'll Never Walk Alone.






    Hail Hail Cesar, and Rest In Peace.

    :shamrock::shamrock::shamrock::shamrock:













































    Club performance League Cup League Cup Continental Total
    Season
    Club League Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals
    Scotland
    League Scottish Cup League Cup Europe Total[19]
    1957–58 Celtic Division One 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
    1958–59 17 0 0 0 6 0 0 0 23 0
    1959–60 19 0 7 0 6 0 0 0 32 0
    1960–61 31 1 8 0 4 0 0 0 43 1
    1961–62 29 1 6 0 6 0 0 0 41 1
    1962–63 28 1 7 0 6 0 1 0 42 1
    1963–64 28 0 4 0 6 0 8 0 46 0
    1964–65 22 0 6 1 6 0 2 0 36 1
    1965–66 25 0 7 0 10 0 7 1 49 1
    1966–67 33 0 6 0 10 2 9 1 58 3
    1967–68 34 5 1 0 10 0 2 0 50* 6†
    1968–69 34 3 7 3 9 0 6 0 56 6
    1969–70 31 5 5 0 10 2 9 0 55 7
    1970–71 31 1 8 1 10 0 5 1 54 3
    1971–72 34 3 6 1 8 0 7 0 55 4
    1972–73 30 1 7 1 10 0 4 0 51 2
    1973–74 30 0 5 0 11 0 7 0 53 0
    1974–75 30 1 4 0 9 0 2 0 45 1
    Total Scotland 486 22 94 7 137 4 69 3 789* 37†
    Career total
    486 22 94 7 137 4 69 3 789* 37†


    * Includes 3 Appearances in the World Club Championship
    † Includes 1 Goal in the World Club Championship

    NB these Totals do not include Glasgow Cup appearances, which at the time was a Senior Trophy

    International appearances
    Scotland national team[20]
    Year
    Apps Goals
    1961 6 0
    1962 2 0
    1963 3 0
    1964 2 0
    1965 6 1
    1966 —
    1967 1 0
    1968 2 0
    1969 4 2
    1970 —
    1971 —
    1972 3 0
    Total 29 3
    International goals


    Team Nat From To Record
    G
    W D L Win %
    Clyde[22] [​IMG] April 1977 June 1977 8 4 3 1 50.00
    Aberdeen [​IMG] June 1977 August 1978 57 37 11 9 64.91
    Celtic [​IMG] August 1978 May 1983 258 165 40 53 63.95
    Manchester City [​IMG] June 1983 September 1986 150 60 41 49 40.00
    Aston Villa [​IMG] September 1986 May 1987 41 9 15 17 21.95
    Celtic [​IMG] May 1987 May 1991 197 108 41 48 54.82
    Total 654 346 140 168 52.91


    Honours
    Player
    Celtic
    Individual
    Manager
    Celtic
    Manchester City
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 23, 2019