Willie McAndrew 1947
Following the tragically early death of Sandy Archibald in November 1946, the directors of Dunfermline Athletic thought long and hard about a successor to a man many considered irreplaceable. They finally settled on the hugely experienced Hamilton Accies manager Willie McAndrew but the number of weeks it took to appoint him was barely exceeded by the number of games he lasted in charge.
McAndrew's career began with Queen's Park in 1907 before he turned professional three years later with Clyde, whose approach led Queen's Park to make an official complaint. Their demand for protection from predatory rivals saw the League decide that they had the right to retain their amateur players until 30th April each year, a rule that is still in place today.
A talented half-back, McAndrew was chosen to represent the Scottish League against the Southern League in October 1911 and later that season played in Clyde's Scottish Cup Final defeat by Celtic.During the First World War he was taken prisoner while serving with the Glasgow Highlanders but continued to play after his demobilisation, moving on to Third Lanark in March 1920.
The following year he was selected for the SFA's unofficial tour of North America when, in just under nine weeks, the Scottish Select team played nineteen matches in Canada and six in the USA. McAndrew appeared in around twenty of these, scoring four goals, alongside Dunfermline's Andy Wilson, Jimmy Gordon, John Low and Tom Maxwell. The legendary Wilson played in every one of them, scoring an incredible 62 goals in the process!
McAndrew's first taste of management came in 1925 when he took over at Hamilton Accies and remarkably successful he proved, remaining in the post for 21 years. In 1934/35 he led the club to arguably its finest season, a fourth place finish in the old First Division complemented by only its second Scottish Cup Final appearance, a 2-1 defeat by Rangers.
Despite being responsible for bringing many of the Accies' greatest players to the club, he missed out on what could have been his best signing ever. Matt Busby had spotted Townhill's Billy Liddell playing for Lochgelly Violet and recommended him to McAndrew but Liddell's father, determined that Billy would not follow him down the pit, insisted that he had a career to fall back on. The Accies boss wasn't in a position to find him part-time work so Liddell ended up joining Liverpool instead and the rest is history.
The Athletic Board should perhaps have taken heed of the fact that Hamilton were plummeting towards relegation but McAndrew took over at Dunfermline on 13th February 1947 on a salary of £500 per annum plus the free tenancy of a house in Shamrock Street. The final half-dozen matches of the season produced mixed results, a couple of home wins offset by four away defeats, including the record 10-0 thrashing at Dundee.
During the summer he brought in several new players, mostly defenders, including goalkeeper Jimmy Michie and half-backs Dougie Roberts and Andy Whyte. However, the early part of the1947/48 season saw no real turnaround in fortunes and following a 6-1 League Cup defeat at Stark's Park on 30th August, McAndrew was asked to resign. His six-month tenure saw him oversee only twelve matches, eight of them defeats, the lowest number of any manager in the club's history.
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