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Terry Connor: The new number two

 

Anyone who has seen the cult TV series ‘The Prisoner’ starring Patrick McGoohan [as Number Six] will be familiar with the character of Number Two. The series is set in an unidentified ‘village’ where people have numbers instead of names and where Number Two is in charge. She or he [there is a new Number Two in each episode] answers only to an unseen Number One.

Portmeirion in Wales was used as the location for the ‘village’. I’m not sure if Terry Connor has ever been there [I know he has definitely been to Swansea because he played for them] but he is now Ireland’s new Number Two!

With all the hype about Martin O’Neill leaving and Mick McCarthy coming in [at least until Stephen Kenny comes in for 2020] Terry Connor’s appointment didn’t get the coverage it deserved. Roy Keane is gone, he was Number Two in the last episode. Terry is in the role now [in the TV series he’d also get to live in ‘The Green Dome’ for his tenure but I’m not sure if the FAI will run to that].

Followers of English football may know Terry from the last decade where he has been Mick McCarthy’s number two at Wolverhampton Wanderers and Ipswich Town. Followers of English football of a particular age should remember Terry from his playing days. He was a forward and started out at Leeds United [his hometown club] in 1979, scoring on his debut at the tender age of 17 against West Bromwich Albion.Leeds got relegated that season from the top flight and Connor eventually moved on – after scoring 19 goals in 96 games for Leeds – to Brighton & Hove Albion in 1983.

He didn’t get to play in the FA Cup final that year [Brighton lost to Manchester United after a replay and some brilliance from the late Ray Wilkins] as he was cup-tied but possibly his most memorable moment as a player came the following season when he scored an FA Cup goal for Brighton against Liverpool in a 2-0 win in January 1984 that knocked Joe Fagan’s men out of the competition. Liverpool went on to win the League Cup, The European Cup and the First Division that season; so you could say Terry Connor robbed them of the quadruple!

Connor’s form at Brighton [51 goals in 156 games between 1983 and 87] earned him an England U21 call-up [against Yugoslavia in 1986; he scored in the game] and a move to Portsmouth. He later played for Swansea City and Bristol City before winding down his 15-season playing career at Yeovil Town.

He moved into coaching straight away, working at Bristol Rovers and Bristol City before joining Wolves in 1999. He served in a variety of roles there before taking the job of number two to Mick McCarthy in 2008.

Good luck to Terry in his new role. Hopefully we will see him at some League of Ireland games next season; he will be very welcome. In ‘The Prisoner’ there was no escape from ‘the village’ but Mick and Terry will be able to get out in 2020. Hopefully they will have got us to the Euros that year before they sign off.

Brian Quigley

 

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