Before Bournemouth’s ascent to the Premier League the club’s history was short on major highlights. But even for those too young to have witnessed it, Ted MacDougall’s nine-goal haul against Margate in the first round of the FA Cup was still considered part of recent AFCB successes – the fact that it occurred in 1971 shows how starved of glory Cherries fans were.
Current Bournemouth club secretary Neil Vacher has collaborated with the inevitably nicknamed “SuperMac” on this book about the life of the Scottish international striker, whose career in the 1970s took him from the south coast to Manchester United and West Ham as well as Norwich, where he was Division One’s top scorer in 1975-76.
It’s clear throughout the book that we are dealing with a different era of football from the manicured pitches and players of the 21st century – players can only afford “pushbikes” at York City, a pub and sports shop are bought in Bournemouth for post-career income and every summer his employers are happy for him to travel to play in South Africa, Australia and the US for extra money.
By his own account MacDougall was a box player never happy when asked to do anything other than goal-hang – but his record of 119 goals in his three full seasons at Bournemouth in the bottom two divisions is still remarkable. Manchester United riskily bought him for the top flight on the back of these scoring feats in 1972 and his failure there for five unhappy months seems to have spurred his wanderings afterwards – never staying at another club for more than three seasons.
Amusingly, during his stay at Old Trafford he is asked to stand at the end of a line of the Scottish playing contingent during a photoshoot for ease of editing him out later – a fairly typical summation of how he was treated by new manager Tommy Docherty and senior players such as Bobby Charlton.
Apart from Bournemouth fans, the obvious market for the book will be Norwich City supporters where he teamed up again with his former Cherries manager John Bond, who surely deserves a book of his own – a flamboyant, forward-thinking character who loved attacking football, Bond is the one man who gets the best from MacDougall. Lawrie McMenemy, the manager at his next club Southampton, generously provides a foreword for the book, despite being depicted as unable to control the big characters in the Saints dressing room (Peter Osgood, Mick Channon and Alan Ball) from constant boozing and allowing the squad themselves to decide what to do for training.
Like a lot of football biographies the same amount of space is given to matches of little consequence (details of pre-, post- and mid-season friendlies abound) and MacDougall’s career after Southampton wound down quickly, although a third of the 300 pages are dedicated to it. Nonetheless, MacDou-GOAL! will be of interest to Bournemouth and Norwich fans who have heard much of the goalscoring feats and want to know more about the legend beyond the scant YouTube highlights.