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Aidan McCaffery (1974/75 to 1977/78)

Aidan McCaffery
Aidan McCaffery
Bth 30/08/57 Jarrow
P/H/W Centre-Half 5ft 11in
Jnd 09/72 Junior
Pro 01/75
Deb 15/03/75 Ipswich (A) D1
Dep 08/78 Derby £60,000
App/Gls 655

Aidan McCaffery attended St. Joseph’s RC school at Hebburn where he was taught chemistry by a certain Brendan Foster who recommended him to the club. He signed as a junior in 1972 and played for England schools and England Youth, whom he captained on occasion.

He signed professional forms in January 1975, aged 17, and a couple of months later injuries to Howard and Keeley meant he was drafted in to face Ipswich at Portman Road. It was quite a traumatic debut for a young defender as United lost 5-4. However he did well and John Donoghue in the Journal said that he was “as good a defensive prospect as the club have unearthed in recent years”.

He played a couple of times in the following campaign and then won a regular place in the side during the 1976/77 season with Pat Howard moving on and Lee preferring him to John Bird. He was still only nineteen and captain of the England Youth team.

Calm and assured, Irving Nattrass said of him at the time: “For a youngster he is doing a great job, he has the perfect temperament and attitude. But while he has an arrogant streak on the field, he’s the first out of the bath after a game and straight off home. As quiet as a mouse”.

The 1977/78 collapse saw McCaffery dropped by Dinnis and with McGarry not playing him much either he asked for a transfer in February. McGarry explaining that he acceded to his request because David Barton was “younger and bigger”.

Spurs were allegedly watching him and Notts County had a bid accepted by United, but he eventually signed for Derby in August 1978.

Season by Season

pre Toon

1974/75 (2/1)

Jarrow born seventeen year old McCaffery only signed professional forms in January and found himself making his debut a couple of months later in the 5-4 defeat at Portman Road.

1975/76 (3/1)

Played in the last four games of the season. He also represented the England U19 Team.

1976/77 (43/1 - 4)

Held off the challenge of John Bird to partner Geoff Nulty throughout the season. He was captain of the England Youth team and his form was so impressive he almost made it into the England U21 team. Two goals in the home victory over Norwich even had the crowd chanting "Supermac".

1977/78 (19/1 - 1)

Dropped early on in the season with Richard Dinnis stating that: "he has missed Geoff Nulty and is unable to blend with John Bird". He returned but lost his place after the disastrous 2-4 home defeat against Middlesbrough.

Post Toon

Left Derby after two seasons following relegation and joined Bristol Rovers where he stayed for five years and had a spell as captain. He was loaned out to Bristol City and Torquay whilst there. He then had spells at Exeter City, Hartlepool, Whitley Bay and Carlisle where he was also coach of the youth team.


Painting by Piotr