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John Toshack

John Toshack
John Benjamin Toshack OBE (born 22 March 1949) is a football manager and former player. He is the current manager of the Welsh national football team.

Life and playing career
Born in Cardiff, South Glamorgan, Wales, Toshack started his footballing career with Cardiff City F.C., signing for them as a 16 year old. After four years at Cardiff City, he was signed by Bill Shankly for Liverpool F.C. on the 11 November 1970. Already a full international, Shankly paid £110,000 for the giant striker. Toshack made his debut 3 days later on the 14th in the goalless league draw with Coventry City at Anfield. His first goal came a week later on the 21st in a remarkable Merseyside derby at Anfield. With the game 0-0 at half-time Everton thundered into a 2-0 lead just after the start of the second half. 69 minutes in Steve Heighway pulled a goal back, this seemed to spring the Reds into life, Toshack's goal in the 76th minute completely turned the game around, then when Chris Lawler prodded home the 84th minute winner the fans almost lifted the roof off the Kop. Toshack's goal instantly made him a hit amongst the Anfield faithful, which was a good thing as they had initially voiced their concerns in paying so much for the Welshman.

In 1971 Kevin Keegan joined Liverpool from Scunthorpe United. Toshack and Keegan struck up an almost telepathic partnership with Toshack winning everything in the air and Keegan finishing the knock downs. They were a delight for commentators as their names rolled off the tongue easily, one famous piece of commentary by David Coleman went "Toshack, Keegan, one nil!" Such was their fame, the football magazine Shoot likened them to the comic book crimebusters Batman and Robin even taking a photograph of the pair dressed in the Dynamic Duo's costumes! By the time Keegan left for German side Hamburg SV he had scored exactly 100 goals with a great percentage of them being set up by Toshack.

During his time with Liverpool Toshack scored 96 goals, he was part of the team that won the Football League Championship in 1973, 1976 and 1977, the FA Cup in 1974, and the UEFA Cup in 1973 and 1976. He played for the Welsh national football team at schoolboy, under-23 and full international level earning 40 caps and scoring 12 goals, including a hat trick against Scotland in the 1979 British Home Championship. However, his playing career was blighted by injuries and he was transferred to Swansea City A.F.C. as player-manager in 1978 (he already passed his coaching badge at the age of 18), where he succeeded Harry Griffiths.

Management career
He was an immediate success at the Vetch Field, taking them from the Fourth Division all the way to the First Division in three successive seasons. It was around this time that Toshack received the OBE for his services to football.

In 1984, Toshack was appointed manager of the Portuguese side Sporting Lisbon, but he only lasted one season in the post. His greatest success as a manager has come in Spain, where he managed Real Madrid twice, Real Sociedad three times, Deportivo La Coruna and Real Murcia. He has also managed the Turkish side Beşiktaş J.K., French side AS Saint-Étienne and Italian side Catania. He was appointed manager of Wales for the first time in 1994, but only spent 41 days in the post, resigning after a 3-1 defeat to Norway. Despite this, he was appointed to the post for a second time in November 2004. This was greeted with scepticism by many Welsh fans, as Toshack had often spoken negatively about previous manager Mark Hughes' reign, despite Hughes having taken Wales to within one game of the European Championship. He is good friends with former Wales international and pundit Leighton James.

Toshack is still held in high regard by the supporters of Liverpool and was voted in at No.34 on the official Liverpool Football Club web-site poll 100 Players Who Shook The Kop, in which thousands of fans worldwide voted for their top 10 Liverpool players.

In Spain he is particularly well known for his bizarre 'philosophical' phrases during press conferences, often translating stock phrases into Spanish that only make sense in the original English. Hay más posibilidades de ver a un cerdo volando por encima del Bernabéu ('you're more likely to see a pig flying over the Bernabéu'), and La Liga es el pan y la mantequilla y la nata es la Copa del Rey ('The League is the bread and butter and the Cup is the cream') have been enjoyed by the Spanish press over the years.


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