A prolific striker, who knew his way about the six yard box, John Duncan averaged approximately a goal every other game in his career that spanned Scotland and England over nearly 15 years before going on to have success in management.
Born in Dundee and attended Clepington Road School and Morgan Academy, playing both at football and wing forward in the rugby team at the Academy. While John enjoyed rugby, he preferred football and it showed when he played in the Under-15 Dundee schools team and made the last 44 for Scotland Schools. He played for the school in the mornings on Saturday and then in the afternoon turned out for Butterburn Youth Club, being impressive enough to earn a trial for Scotland Under-15s.
Duncan was signed by Dundee
on provisional forms and was allowed to play for
Broughty Athletic as a junior. Meanwhile, he was
going to Jordanhill College to study physical education
to give him something to fall back on should his
football career fail to take off, but there was little
chance of that, as he went on to play for Dundee.
On 27th March 1973, the striker played for the Scottish
League against the Football League and scored both goals
in a 2-2 draw at Hampden Park. He ranked these as
among the most memorable goals he had scored.
This brought him to the attention of the Scottish FA selectors and John was included in the original 40 for the Scotland 1974 World Cup squad, although he did not make the finals trip with the squad of 22.
John did become a fully qualified coach under the Scottish Football Association. He attended a FA coaching course at Lilleshall in the summer of 1974, where his Scottish qualification exempted him from the preliminary exam. Sitting for full FA award, he did not pass, but he was not deterred and wanted to try again. However, he stayed another two weeks at Lilleshall to study injury treatment.
Never blessed with speed of foot, but over-flowing in speed of reactions in the penalty area, John Duncan had been a regular goal-scorer for Dundee before he was snapped up by Tottenham and came South to continue his good record. Always alert in the penalty area, his quick reflexes and knowledge of where he was in relation to the goal made him a predatory striker. Good in the air as well as with his feet in the box, he often drifted out wide to put in crosses for his team-mates to capitalise on.
John had surgery on a back injury in Leeds in 1977, which ruled him out for a long spell.
Started his managerial career at Scunthorpe after he finished playing there in 1981 and stayed until February 1983, when he had discussed taking over at Grimsby Town. moving onto