john duncan - fact file

1974 - 1979        forward


Born on 22nd February 1949 in Dundee, Scotland.

Height : - .m  (' ")

Weight : -  - kgs    (st lbs)

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


Career Record
Club Signed Fee Debut Apps Goals
Dundee ?? ?? ??  121 64
TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR 23rd October 1974 ?? 26th October 1974 v Luton Town (First Division) (away)  drew 1-1 ?? ??
Derby County September 1978 ?? ??  36 12
Scunthorpe United 1981 ?? ??  9 0

Career Record
- League appearances; goals
- FA Cup appearances; goals
- League Cup appearances; goals
European appearances; goals
- League appearances; goals
- FA Cup appearances; goals
- League Cup appearances; goals
European appearances; goals
Derby County

- League appearances; goals
- FA Cup appearances; goals
- League Cup appearances; goals
European appearances; goals
Scunthorpe United
- League appearances; goals
- FA Cup appearances; goals
- League Cup appearances; goals
European appearances; goals

- international
- full caps;  - goals
Under-21 caps; goals
- Cup winners medal 19---

- appearance



When signing in late October 1974, he stayed on to watch the home game with Arsenal and said there was a “high level of skill and good work-rate.”

Was Single.

Keen golfer with 10 handicap.

Drives Cortina 2000.

Enjoys sports programmes on TV.

Likes fish and chips.

Was a Dundee supporter as a boy. Learned a lot watching the Dens Park team and was never a fanatic.

Met Alan Gilzean at Dundee when he returned for a testimonial for Dennis Gillespie.

His ambition was to “score my next goal.”


Took over from Cyril Knowles as the club's PFA Representative.


First goal for Spurs was scored away at Stoke City in 2-2 draw on 2nd November 1974.

Lived in Ware with wife Anne and daughter Louise – 9 months.

Enjoys entertaining his daughter.

Progressing after two back operations and was attending Hedley Court Rehabilitation Centre, Leatherhead, hoping to be back to normal for the start of next season.


Lived in Matlock, Derbyshire.

What was your pre-match meal ?  : -  Corn flakes, then fish and tartar sauce
Which player of today would you have  liked to play alongside ?  : -  Didier Drogba (Chelsea)
Which player from your playing days would be worth £30 million ?  : -  Martin Peters, Glenn Hoddle or Pat Jennings
What was your favourite away ground ?  : -  Bramall Lane (Sheffield United)
What was your most memorable game ?  : -  Winning 2-0 at Upton Park against West Ham in the 1975 League Cup after drawing 0-0 at the Lane, when I scored and so did Willie Young.
When were you at your best ? : -  1970s
Who was your most difficult opponent ?  : - Martin Buchan (Man U), Emlyn Hughes (Liverpool), Phil Thompson (Liverpool) and Billy McNeill (Celtic).
Who was the toughest opponent you have faced ?  : - Tommy Smith (Liverpool)
What was in your first pay packet ?  : -  £6 a week
How would the side you played in fare in the current Premier League ?  : -  Mid-table
What do you do nowadays ?  : -  Working for the Football League Managers Association and managing Loughborough University, who play in the Midland Combination League.




What they said about John Duncan
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What John Duncan said about ...
... his move to Spurs ...  09.11.1974 (THFC programme)

“The ground, accommodation, pitch and general facilities were what I expected of a club of Tottenham's calibre. This is a great move for me.”

... missing out on going to the 1974 World Cup Finals ...  09.11.1974 (THFC programme)

“Naturally I had hoped to get in the World Cup 22, but I cannot really describe my exclusion as a disappointment. I can say I would have been disappointed if I had not had the chance to join Spurs.”

... ? ...  .. ()


... ? ...  .. ()





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