Bournemouth’s struggles have disturbed the tranquillity of Neptune Beach. ‘It’s hard to watch,’ admits Ted MacDougall as he peers through a window to report palm trees swaying in the breeze and a clear sky.
‘I can remember where the club came from and some people seem to think they should be pushing for a place in Europe just because they’ve been in the Premier League for five years. It’s bitterly disappointing.’
At 73, MacDougall lives in Florida, more than 4,000 miles west, but remains closely bound to the Dorset town where his daughter and grandchildren live and where his legend thrives and a stand is named in his honour at the Vitality Stadium.
Bournemouth legend Ted MacDougall says the club are having the best years of their history
MacDougall scored an incredible nine goals in an FA Cup tie against Margate in 1971
MacDougall is a hero at Bournemouth having scored scored 119 goals in 198 league games
He scored 119 goals in 198 league games over two spells at Bournemouth plus another 25 in cup ties including nine in a single match against Margate in the FA Cup.
‘Wet and miserable and the wind was blowing,’ says MacDougall as he recalls his record-breaking feat and the Cup’s transformative power. ‘I went home without thinking it was anything more special than scoring a few goals.
I always scored goals. It’s what I did. I once scored 36 in three games at school but that’s because I was brought up in Widnes and everybody else was playing rugby league.
‘I didn’t realise the nine goals was a record, although the year before when I scored six against Oxford City there was talk about equalling George Best who scored six for Manchester United against Northampton.’
In 1972 MacDougall signed for Manchester United, where he played alongside George Best
MacDougall had been a lower-league sensation since Bill Shankly reluctantly agreed to let him leave Liverpool at the age of 20 to join York City in Division Four. Forty goals in two years in a poor side prompted Bournemouth to invest £10,000 and in 1970-71 he scored 49 goals in 51 games as they won promotion to the third tier under John Bond’s flamboyant leadership.
By the time Margate of the Southern League rolled into Dean Court in November 1971 he was on 19 for the season. He had five more by half-time and nine in an 11-0 win by the time the final whistle ended the misery for Chic Brodie, who later billed himself as the world’s unluckiest goalkeeper.
Born: January 8, 1947
Clubs played for: Liverpool (1966-67), York City (1967-1969), Bournemouth (1969-1972 and 1978-1980), Manchester United (1972-1973), West Ham (1973), Norwich (1973-1976), Southampton (1976-1978), Blackpool (1980-1981)
Not only was Brodie on the wrong end of MacDougall’s triple hat-trick but he had once been hit by a falling crossbar and was in goal for Brentford against Millwall in the mid-60s when he discovered a hand grenade in his net. Police took it away in a bucket of sand but then found it to be a replica thrown by a Millwall supporter.
News of MacDougall’s exploits spread and he returned to training on the Monday to find England World Cup hero Geoff Hurst wanted him to play in a testimonial game for the Europe XI at Upton Park the next evening.
With Bond’s approval he got into his second-hand car and drove to the West End. ‘We met at the Hilton Hotel in Park Lane,’ says MacDougall.
‘There’s me, a Division Three player, with stars like Eusebio, Uwe Seeler, Dave Mackay and Jimmy Greaves, and celebrities hanging around. It was very surreal, like a dream. Upton Park was full and I played for the first half, scored a goal up against Bobby Moore who would become a dear friend. It was the springboard for me. It changed my career.’
Bournemouth fought off interest from Division One clubs by improving MacDougall’s wages and by the time Manchester United manager Frank O’Farrell struck a £200,000 deal in September 1972 the striker was on £150 a week, almost as much as Best and Bobby Charlton. ‘I went there for a rise of £10 a week because they couldn’t give me more than George or Bobby.’
United were struggling, however, O’Farrell was sacked and replaced by Tommy Docherty and the squad was riven by factions of old and new. ‘It was very disappointing but I’m glad I did it,’ says MacDougall. ‘Circumstances weren’t great. They were in transition, George was going AWOL, Charlton and Denis Law were coming to the end and lots of new players were coming in.
‘It was everybody for themselves. But I didn’t have their ability. I could score goals but I needed others to see my runs. Otherwise I might as well have been sitting in the stands.’
Following spells at West Ham, Norwich and Southampton, MacDougall rejoined Bournemouth
Things barely improved when he joined West Ham at a time when Ron Greenwood and Moore were at loggerheads and the camp split between the ‘half a lager lads’, including Moore and MacDougall, and the golfing clan, including Trevor Brooking and Pop Robson.
‘I was a piece of work, in those days, absolutely,’ admits MacDougall. ‘I was very tricky, difficult to handle. I became very single-minded about scoring and about me.
‘There was no such thing as an assist with me. I thought a cyst was something you went to the doctors with. I wasn’t interested in making play or being a good player and at West Ham that was what they did, working on touch in tight areas and appreciation of the others.
‘Ron was good on the game but he couldn’t handle players and I’d had enough of it all because of what went on at United. He wasn’t going to get anything from me without a bit of TLC but that wasn’t his way.’
All of which came to a head in a row with Billy Bonds. It started in a game and rumbled on after with Bonds sitting in the bath complaining about MacDougall’s failure to show for a pass which led to a goal in a 4-1 defeat at Leeds. MacDougall offered to fight him and ‘got his retaliation in first’ by punching Bonds in the chest as the defender stepped out of the bath.
The bust-up at Elland Road accelerated a move to Norwich where he was reunited with his mentor Bond and several former Bournemouth team-mates, including strike partner Phil Boyer, known as Charlie, and the goals flowed again.
‘Charlie did all the running again and I scored all the goals again and I got all the credit again,’ says MacDougall who won his seven Scotland caps while at Carrow Road.
At Southampton he developed an understanding with Peter Osgood and Alan Ball. ‘Ossie called me the magnet because I got so close to him. He’d lay it off and I’d smack it in. Bally would see my run before I did.’
MacDougall finished his playing career at Blackpool, where he played under Alan Ball
After a second spell at Bournemouth, MacDougall played under Ball at Blackpool and served on his staff at Portsmouth before settling in North America, where he has played and coached in various cities. For the last seven years he has been in Florida where he is chief executive of a software company GotSport in Neptune Beach, near Jacksonville.
He keeps a close eye on Bournemouth and knows Eddie Howe’s team could do with a boost when they take on Arsenal in the FA Cup on Monday night, but is keen to remind fans that these are the good times.
‘I was the auctioneer when they pulled the old place down,’ says MacDougall. ‘Trying to raise some money by selling the fixtures and fittings as it was dismantled. People were ripping things out and handing them to me and I was shouting, “Who will give me five pounds for this toilet seat? Think of the people who might have sat on it”.
‘The club has come a long way. It’s a long way from the Winter Gardens, when we were collecting money in buckets to survive. These are the best years of Bournemouth’s history and this has been the most amazing team.
‘I love Eddie to pieces and all those guys. I know what they’ve done and I know what it means to them.’