Obituary: Ian MacFarlane

26 January 1933 – 17 June 2019

Caretaker manager at Sunderland: 18 October –  1 December 1976

Club historian Rob Mason pays tribute.

Former Sunderland coach and caretaker manager Ian MacFarlane has died, aged 86. A Scot who played for Aberdeen, Chelsea, Leicester City and Bath City, MacFarlane first worked at Sunderland as a coach under Alan Brown between July and October in 1969. 

He returned to Roker Park on 11 March 1976, this time as assistant to Bob Stokoe, taking over from the cup-winning manager as caretaker in mid-October. MacFarlane oversaw victories away to Coventry City and at home to Tottenham Hotspur as well as a thrilling 3-3 draw at Manchester United, although he lost his other four games. 

MacFarlane moved on once Jimmy Adamson took over as manager. He went on to coach at Leicester, acting as their caretaker manager for five games in 1978, later managing Yeovil Town and being chief scout at Leeds United under Howard Wilkinson. 

Prior to coming to Sunderland, MacFarlane took over from Bob Stokoe as manager at Carlisle United, and was in charge at Brunton Park from January 1970 to July 1972. During the mid-sixties he had worked alongside Lawrie McMenemy at Sheffield Wednesday as both assisted Brown who later brought him to Wearside. 

In a long career MacFarlane also coached at Middlesbrough, and in 1976 was assistant to his old Bath City colleague Tony Book when Manchester City beat Newcastle United in the League Cup final with a goal from Sunderland old boy Dennis Tueart.

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