The Heights of Heaven, Sky Fly, Clyde FC, Willie Cunningham and Sir Alex

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The new season has just started and the World Cup in Russia is a few weeks behind us, going back in the Leicester City history is always fun and we are heading back to 1958

A certain Pele makes his breakthrough with Brazil wins the World Cup as a teenager, very simular to what Mbappe did for France this time, but that is not really the story.

This story is about the first footballer to ever represent Leicester City in a World Cup. Willie Cunningham did so in Sweden this year playing for Northern Ireland.

Leicester City was at the time a top flight team and had just avoided relegation with only one point, ending 18, with a number of clubs on 33 points.

Scotland also made it to the World Cup this year, and a number of players from the club Clyde got the chance to travel. Clyde were at the time a team to count.

The little club had just won the Scottish League Cup and reached the Semi’s of the FA Cup. Three players, Haddock, Coyle and Robertson were included in the World Cup
squad.

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Two other known names were Dave Mackay and Tommy Docherty who both later were legendary players and managers in the English top flight.

A very young Alex Ferguson were in 1958 on amateur forms with the Glasgow club Queens Park, and had just started his fantastic career in football.

Despite not being very recognised at this time and never ever being capped himself, this 1958 World Cup became special in many ways for Sir Alex, since Willie Cunningham played and later became very important for Ferguson.

Cunningham played alongside more known players such as Danny Blanchflower (Tottenham) and Harry Gregg (Man Utd), and played a good touremant seeing Northern Ireland qualified for the knock out stages.

Cunningham returned to Leicester City for the next season but left for Dunfirmline Athletic in 1960, and later became their manager.

Cunningham signed Sir Alex from St Johnstone, and scored a great amount of goals and was a real hit. 66 league goals in 89 games was a grand ratio by Ferguson.

Sir Alex continued playing and scoring goals and had a spell at Rangers as the top of his playing career. Cunningham continued as a coach and was later in charge at Falkirk and St Mirren.

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Cunningham, now in charge of Falkirk, signed Ferguson for a 2nd time and Sir Alex continued to hammer in goals.

Later when Cunningham called it a day with St Mirren, they year was 1974, he recomended Ferguson for the job. Sir Alex had just started his manager career and was in charge of East Stirlingshire.

Sir Alex took over from Willie Cunningham and stayed with St Mirren from 1974 to 1978, when he was appointed manager at Aberdeen.

So it’s nice to see that former Leicester City World Cup hero Willie Cunningham is also one who had a great impact on the career of the player and manager Sir Alex Ferguson.

We all know that Sir Alex reached the “heights of heaven” in the game, but also Willie Cunningham and Clyde FC had their “sky fly” in football.

Sources:
Wikipedia, Scotland World Cup 1958
Wikipedia, Sir Alex Ferguson
Wikipedia, Willie Cunningham
Wikipedia, Clyde FC

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