Frank O'Farrell

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Frank O'Farrell
Personal information
Full name Francis O'Farrell
Date of birth (1927-10-09) 9 October 1927 (age 90)
Place of birth Cork, Ireland
Playing position Wing half
Senior career*
Years Team Apps (Gls)
19??–1948 Cork United ? (?)
1948–1956 West Ham United 197 (6)
1956–1961 Preston North End 118 (3)
1961 Weymouth ? (?)
National team
1952–1959 Republic of Ireland 9 (2[1])
Teams managed
1961–1965 Weymouth
1965–1968 Torquay United
1968–1971 Leicester City
1971–1972 Manchester United
1973–1974 Cardiff City
1974–1976 Iran
1976–1977 Torquay United
1980 Al-Shaab
1981–1982 Torquay United
* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only

Francis "Frank" O'Farrell (born 9 October 1927) is an Irish former football player and manager. O'Farrell played as a wing half for Cork United, West Ham United, Preston North End and Weymouth. He moved into management with Weymouth before moving on to manage Torquay United (three stints), Leicester City, Manchester United, Cardiff City, Iran and Al-Shaab. He played for the Republic of Ireland national football team making nine appearances.


Early career

O'Farrell started his playing career with Cork United, but followed his former Cork teammate, Tommy Moroney to West Ham United in January 1948. A wing-half, O'Farrell took some time to establish himself at Upton Park, finally making his debut for West Ham on 28 September 1950 in a 2–0 defeat of Colchester United in the Essex Professional Cup.[2] His Football League debut followed in November 1950 in a 4–1 defeat away to Notts County. He made 18 league appearances in his first season but became a regular in the 1951–52 and 1952–53 seasons.[2] He played for West Ham in seven seasons and in November 1956, he left for Preston North End in a straight swap deal involving Eddie Lewis. He was still with the Lancashire club when they finished runners-up to Wolverhampton Wanderers in Division One at the end of the 1957–58 season.[3] In the same season O'Farrell's former teammates at West Ham finished as Second Division Champions, securing their promotion to First Division, which he had strived to help achieve.[4]


He retired as a player in 1961 due to injury and in May 1961 became player-manager at Southern League team Weymouth.[5] In May 1965 he became manager of Torquay United, replacing Eric Webber. He took the Gulls to promotion in his first season in charge and followed this with sixth- and seventh-place finishes in Division Three in the following two seasons. While Torquay manager he returned to West Ham to sign three players, John Bond, Ken Brown and Bill Kitchener. In December 1968, he took over Leicester City. Although Leicester were relegated from the First Division at the end of the season, O'Farrell led them to the FA Cup final, which they lost 1–0 to Manchester City at Wembley.

Manchester United

In June 1971, after leading Leicester to promotion and the Second Division title, he took over at Manchester United, but would only last 18 months in the post. His arrival came just three years after United had won the European Cup, but the side had posted eighth-place finishes in the First Division in the previous two seasons before O'Farrell's arrival. A seven-match losing run in the league starting on 1 January 1972, as well as O'Farrell's impersonal approach whereby every player had to schedule an appointment just to see him, did not help morale. Once again, United ended the season in eighth place.[6] After United lost 5–0 to Crystal Palace on 16 December 1972 with Don Rogers scoring twice,[7][8] O'Farrell was sacked after 18 months in the role.[9] He was replaced at Old Trafford by Tommy Docherty.

Cardiff and Iran

He became manager of Cardiff City in November 1973, but in April 1974 quit to take the manager's post with the Iranian national team and lead them to the 1976 Asian Cup. In November 1976, he returned to Torquay United as manager, moving to a position as general manager when Mike Green was appointed as manager in March 1977. He became Torquay manager again in June 1981, once again becoming general manager, this time in June 1982 on the appointment of Bruce Rioch. He worked as general manager until 1983, when he retired from football and continued living in Torquay. In January 2006, O'Farrell was invited to Iran to attend a ceremony in honour of Persepolis F.C. former players, along with Alan Rogers, working in Iran.[10]

International career

O'Farrell won the first of nine full international caps for Ireland against Austria in Vienna on 7 May 1952, in a 6–0 defeat.[11] In his next international game, also against Austria, O'Farrell scored the first of his two international goals as Ireland won 4–0 at Dalymount Park, Dublin.[12][13] His next game saw his second and last international goal, as Ireland lost 5–3 to France in a qualifying game for the 1954 World Cup.[14] He played infrequently over the next six years before making his ninth and last international appearance on 10 May 1959 in a 4–0 defeat by Czechoslovakia at Tehelne Pole Stadion in Bratislava.[15] In 2011 his autobiography All Change at Old Trafford was published.

Career honours

Managerial honours

Torquay United
Leicester City
Cardiff City

Managerial statistics


Team From To Record
G W L D Win %
Torquay United 1 May 1965 31 December 1968 162 76 52 34 46.91
Leicester City 1 December 1968 8 June 1971 114 51 28 35 44.74
Manchester United 8 June 1971 19 December 1972 81 30 27 24 37.04
Cardiff City 13 November 1973 30 April 1974 27 8 10 9 29.63
Iran September 1974 September 1975 15 10 3 2 66.67
Torquay United 28 November 1976 1 March 1977 13 4 7 1 30.77
Al-Shaab 1980 1980 10 6 3 1 60
Torquay United 1 June 1981 30 June 1982 46 14 19 13 30.43


  1. ^ "Frank O'Farrell – International Playing Statistics". 
  2. ^ a b "Welcome to the Wonderful World of West Ham United Statistics Frank O'Farrell". Retrieved 15 September 2012. 
  3. ^ "Preston North End 1957-1958". Archived from the original on 27 April 2014. Retrieved 27 April 2014. 
  4. ^ "DIVISION 2 1957/58". Retrieved 27 April 2014. 
  5. ^ Thomas, David (18 February 2014). "Frank O'Farrell: It was a privilege to have played with Sir Tom Finney". Torquay Herald Express. Torquay. Archived from the original on 27 April 2014. Retrieved 27 April 2014. 
  6. ^ "Manchester United Results 1971-72". Manchester United Fans Site. Archived from the original on 31 January 2013. Retrieved 14 September 2017. 
  7. ^ "Crystal Palace can look to 1990 for inspiration ahead of Manchester United clash". Retrieved 27 April 2014. 
  8. ^ "Football League Division One /1972/73 /Crystal Palace /results". ESPN. Retrieved 27 April 2014. 
  9. ^ Collett, Mike (22 April 2014). "Moyes sacking evokes memories of botched end to Busby era". Reuters. Retrieved 27 April 2014. 
  10. ^ "The Red Resurrection". Archived from the original on 23 June 2007. Retrieved 21 July 2007. 
  11. ^ "Preston North End - Former players association". Retrieved 27 April 2014. 
  12. ^ "Frank O'Farrell". Retrieved 27 April 2014. 
  13. ^ "Republic of Ireland v Austria 25 March 1953". Retrieved 27 April 2014. 
  14. ^ "Republic of Ireland v France, 04 October 1953". Retrieved 27 April 2014. 
  15. ^ "Czechoslovakia v Republic of Ireland, 10 May 1959". Retrieved 27 April 2014. 
  16. ^ "Frank O'Farrell – Iran Career". Retrieved 14 November 2008. 
  17. ^ "United under Frank O'Farrell". Retrieved 4 February 2009. 
  18. ^ "Frank O'Farrell's managerial career". Racing Post. Retrieved 4 February 2009. 

External links

  • Frank O'Farrell management career statistics at Soccerbase
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