Foxes A to Z, Mich d’Avray, South African with special debut v. Liverpool at Anfield

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Mich d’Avray joined Leicester City on loan from Ipswich Town, and made his debut at Anfield back in February 1987, in a hard fought battle, Leicester City scoring three goals at Anfield, defeat 4-3, d’Avray partnered Alan Smith up, Smith scored two.

A tall striker of massive but largely unrealised scoring potential by the time he arrived for his brief loan spell with Leicester City, Mich had emerged from the shadow of Paul Mariner at Ipswich, yet never convincingly assumed the latter’s goal mantle. He had won two England U.21 caps despite finding himself a regular occupant od the Portman Road sub bench, and while with Leicester City appeared either ill-briefed as to how top play alongside Alan Smith, or simply unable to adapt to such a twin spearhead role.

He subsequently reverted to a deeper lying position at Portman Road, where he took a testimonial before being freed to pick up his career in Holland, unfortunately in a relegation bound NEC Nijmegen side.

After his time in European football, the former pupil of Bobby Robson, made a good career in coaching. He moved back to South Africa, where he to date has had several roles as head coach and assisting at a number of clubs.

Two of his early coaching opportunities came as he were in charge of both the South Africa U.21 team and the Olympic side, as far back as 1994. His first job was as a player/coach with Moroka Swallows.

d’Avray moved on to other South African clubs such as Cape Town Spurs, back in international duty coaching the SA U.23 side for four years. A new change came in 2001 when Mitch took the chance and moved to Australia, taking charge of Perth Glory.

His time at Perth Glory was a very successful one, winning the National Soccer League finals, both in 2003 and 2004. After five years in Australia he returned to South Africa to take charge of Bloemfountein Celtic. A job he held for a year or so, struggling to keep the club floating on the brink of relegation. He moved from head coach to a role “upstairs” and remained at the club for a while.

He has also been in other clubs, one was Ajax Cape Town, the subsidiary of the more famous Dutch champions. He is a traveller of the World of football at many continents and spreading his knowledge based on legacies of former greats.

To make his Leicester City debut at Anfield might have been a highlight for Mich d’Avray who just played three league games. Despite his short stay at Leicester, he had eleven good years with Ipswich Town, where he scored 38 goals in 211 league games.

A fun fact is that fellow South African born Craig Johnston, was the one scoring the last Leicester City goal in that clash at Anfield, an own goal. Johnston as Mich d’Avray, a former England U.21 international with two caps.

If you like to read more about South African soccer and Mich d’Avray, why not follow the website Kick-Off.

FACTFILE: 

  • Full Name: Jean Michel d’Avray
  • Position: Forward
  • Date of Birth: 19.02.1962
  • Birthplace: Johannesburg, South Africa
  • Nation: England
    • U.21 Caps: 2, Debut: 1984 v. Italy
  • Major League Career:
    • 1979-90, Ipswich Town (211/38)
    • 1987, Leicester City (3/0)
    • 1991-92, NEC Nijmegen (28/2)

Links: Pinterest, Wikipedia

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