Player of the Day: John O'Hare

by Ashley Houghton

Another top-class performer profiled.

European Cup winner John O’Hare progressed through the youth ranks after joining up with the Black Cats from Dumbarton as a schoolboy.

O’Hare joined Sunderland prior to his 16th birthday and is one of the greatest players to have been produced by Sunderland.

He made his debut against Chelsea at the start of the 1964-65 season, though he would make only seven appearances in his debut campaign.

It was obvious from the start that O’Hare had the potential to be a top-class performer; the Scot scored a double in each of the games against Blackpool and Coventry City in the League Cup as the club afforded him a handful of opportunities.

Ian McColl was brought in as Sunderland boss ahead of the 1965-66 campaign and he used O’Hare more as the season progressed with the Scottish international featuring in 17 league games, scoring six goals including strikes against Manchester United and Newcastle.

O’Hare’s final season with Sunderland saw him play 34 games and score 11 goals as the Black Cats starved off relegation and also progressed to the fifth round of the FA Cup where they were beaten by Leeds United.

Brian Clough brought O’Hare to Derby County as one of his first signings and it was a match made in heaven as Clough’s experience as a forward rubbed off on O’Hare and made him an integral part of the County side that gained promotion to Division One.

O’Hare continued his fine form as the Rams challenged for success in the top-flight under the legendary manager.

In 1972 Derby were crowned Division One champions with O’Hare continuing to play a regular part, racking up over 300 appearances and scoring 81 goals.

The Dunbartonshire-born forward followed Clough to Leeds United for the manager’s ill-fated spell as boss at Elland Road before he joined Nottingham Forest in 1975, along with Clough, where the two would enjoy the most successful periods of their careers.

O’Hare, who was capped 13 times by Scotland, won promotion at Forest in his first season before going on to win the First Division title the following campaign.

And, after achieving a feat no team has since in winning the First Division championship following promotion from the Second Division, Forest went on to win consecutive European Cup titles in 1979 and 1980.

O’Hare left for America in 1977 and played for Dallas Tornado for a season before returning for a brief spell with Belper Town.

Since retirement O’Hare revealed in’s ‘Where are they Now?’ feature that he works in corporate hospitality at Nottingham Forest’s City Ground on home match-days.