Eng­lish Second Divi­sion Cham­pi­on­ship

Born and brought up in the suburb of Cabra in Dublin on the 30th of April 1954, Gerry Daly kick-started his round ball career at the widely acclaimed soccer academy of Stella Maris Foot­ball Club in the suburb of Drum­condra before the prom­ising and pre­co­ciously tal­ented young­ster tried out his luck with famous League of Ire­land club Bohemians of Dublin. An accurate shooting and sweet passing mid­field dynamo with attacking instincts and nat­ural fit­ness too, the Dalymount Park favourite was even­tu­ally brought to British foot­ball and Manchester United by newly appointed Old Traf­ford boss Tommy Docherty for a bar­gain transfer fee of around £20,000 at the end of the 1972–73 season. After being handed his Eng­lish First Divi­sion debut for Manchester United in an embar­rassing and humi­li­ating 3–0 defeat against Bertie Mee´s Arsenal side in front of a 50,000 plus home crowd at High­bury Sta­dium on the opening day of the 1973–74 cam­paign, Gerry Daly went on to accu­mu­late 111 Eng­lish Foot­ball League appear­ances for The Red Devils of Manchester, con­trib­uting a most cred­it­able twenty-three goals during the pro­cess.

Des­pite Manchester United being releg­ated to the Eng­lish Foot­ball League Divi­sion Two in 1973–74, he played con­sist­ently well in his first year and he was an important part of the exciting and youthful Old Traf­ford team which clinched the Eng­lish Second Divi­sion Cham­pi­on­ship title three points ahead of Ron Saunder´s Aston Villa during the 1974–75 season and went on to take the Eng­lish First Divi­sion by storm the fol­lowing fodbold online cam­paign. The mid­field engine from The Big Smoke was also an integral con­stituent of the con­fident Manchester United Squad who reached the FA Cup Final at the Wembley Sta­dium in 1975–76 only to exper­i­ence a dev­ast­ating and embarassing 1–0 defeat at the hands of Lawrie McMenemy´s Southampton. Along their way to the FA Cup Final in 1976, The Reds of Manchester had man­aged to over­come Oxford United, Peter­bor­ough United, Leicester City, Wol­ver­hampton Wan­derers and finally defending Eng­lish First Divi­sion Cham­pions Derby County at the Hills­bor­ough Sta­dium in Shef­field, while Lawrie McMenemy´s plucky Southampton players had man­aged to knock out Aston Villa, Black­pool, West Brom­wich Albion, Brad­ford City and then Crystal Palace at Stam­ford Bridge in London. But fol­lowing a long and bitter dis­pute with the some­times con­tro­ver­sial and very often flam­boyant Manchester United Head Coach Tommy Docherty in the spring of 1977, Gerry Daly was deemed sur­plus to require­ments by the firebrand Old Traf­ford man­ager and, as a logical and nat­ural con­sequence of all this, the offensive ori­ented mid­field admin­is­trator was placed on the transfer list with the way­ward play­maker sub­sequently leaving the club for fellow First Divi­sion side Derby County for a transfer fee of around £175,000 at the back end of the 1976–77 season. And even though Daly was quickly to be reunited with his pre­vious man­ager when The Doc was handed the head coaching reigns at Derby at the front end of the 1977–78 cam­paign, the depend­able and determ­ined per­petuum mobile non­ethe­less pro­ceeded to pro­duce an accept­able total of thirty-one goals in 112 Eng­lish Foot­ball League appear­ances for The Rams before he left the newly releg­ated Base­ball Ground club at the end of the 1979–80 season.

The Dub­liner then had a summer loan spell with Foxbor­ough side New Eng­land Tea Men of the North Amer­ican Soccer League which at that time included great teams like the Fort Laud­er­dale Strikers, Los Angeles Aztecs, New York Cosmos, Tampa Bay Row­dies and Wash­ington Dip­lo­mats and also fea­tured house­hold foot­balling names along the lines of  Carlos Alberto, Franz Beck­en­bauer, Giorgio Chin­aglia, Johan Cruyff, Roger Davies, Alan Hudson, Johan Neeskens, Bruce Rioch, Julio Cesar Romero, and Wim Rijs­bergen. After star­ring in over forty first team games for the Foxbor­ough Sta­dium club, the still ambi­tious and tech­nic­ally gifted central mid­fielder decided to join forces with League Divi­sion One team Cov­entry City for a activity life transfer fee estim­ated to be some­where in the region of around £300,000 at the begin­ning of the 1980–81 season. At High­field Road Sta­dium, the vastly exper­i­enced vet­eran player teamed up with other seasoned cam­paigners such as Jimmy Blyth, Mick Coop, Roger Van Gool, Big Jim Holton, Steve Hunt and Tommy Hutchison and he would enjoy a new lease of life during the early part of the 1980´s. The Irishman received his Foot­ball League Divi­sion One debut for Gordon Milne´s Cov­entry City in a goall­less draw against defending First Divi­sion Cham­pions Liv­er­pool at High­field Road on the 19th of August 1980, and he racked up nine­teen Foot­ball League goals in eighty-four out­ings for The Sky Blues until he waved goodbye to the War­wick­shire club at the end of the 1983–84 cam­paign.