|Date Of Birth:||19-May-1943|
|Place Of Birth:||Epping|
|Date Of Death:||14-Apr-2012|
“ONE OF FOOTBALL’S GENUINE NICE GUYS”
Dundalk supporters joined with their counterparts in Welsh football at the news of the death of Eddie May on Saturday 14 April, 2012, aged 68.
In Dundalk he will be remembered for his role in saving Dundalk’s Premier Division ticket in the 1996/97 season. Appointed manager for the last ten games after the departure of John Hewitt, Eddie signed Jeff McNamara from Linfield on amateur terms for the playoff against Waterford United in May 1997.
McNamara proved the hero, netting twice in the first leg at Oriel Park, with another goal from Ray Campbell giving Dundalk a 3-0 lead that Waterford could not recover from in the return leg four days later.
An inevitable objection followed from Waterford but to no avail.
May looked set to stay at the helm for the following season, signing ex-Cardiff City players Steve Williams and Nathan Wigg. But within three months of signing a one-year contract and a couple of weeks before the new season had started he was off again, this time to Brentford in August 1997, working under his old pal and chief executive David Webb. However, that stint only lasted until 5 November.
In January 1965, May transferred from Dagenham to Southend United, where he made 100 league appearances before moving to Wrexham in June 1968. He became captain of the Wrexham side, leading them to an FA Cup quarter-final only to lose out by the odd goal against Burnley. May also skippered the side when they reached the quarter-final of the UEFA European Cup Winners’ Cup in 1976 before going out to Anderlecht 2-1 on aggregate.
May made 334 appearances for The Racecourse club, scoring 35 goals, all with his head, before leaving on a free transfer in August 1976 when he joined Welsh rivals Swansea City, having spent the 1975 summer with NASL side Chicago Sting. He scored eight times in 90 games for the Swans before retiring, having clocked up more than 530 league games in a 13-season English League career.
In 2002, he was inducted into the Wrexham FC Hall of Fame. Receiving the same honour at the same time was another Dundalk Legend, Alan Fox, player/manager of the 1966/67 League Championship winners.
Coaching and Management Career
In a much-travelled coaching and management career, Eddie started in 1978 at Leicester City and was assistant manager when they won the Second Division title in the 1981/82 season. After a short spell at Charlton Athletic, he moved abroad, seeing service in Saudi Arabia, Kenya and with Icelandic side KS, returning in May 1988 to take charge at Newport County, after their relegation to the Conference. He left the following month and subsequently became assistant manager of Lincoln City.
In 1989, he took over as coach of Norwegian side IFK Ravdeberg. In July 1991, he was appointed manager of Cardiff City, and during his three years at Ninian Park masterminded the Division Three title and Welsh Cup double in 1993 and humbled Manchester City in the FA Cup the following year.
Eddie is still a legend among Cardiff fans and was affectionately nicknamed ‘The Ayatollah’. He was replaced by Terry Yorath, but on Yorath’s sacking in 1995 he returned to Cardiff as manager for a short while before his November 1995 appointment as manager at Torquay United, who finished bottom of the league and he left them in July 1996.
During the next dozen years following his short stays at Dundalk and Brentford, Eddie’s career did not lack variety when he hopped around Finland, Wales, Pakistan, Drogheda, Zimbabwe Jets, South Africa Black Bucks, Uganda’s Express, Zimbabwe’s Highlanders (winning two league titles), Telecom Wanderers of Malawi… before returning to Cardiff to run a Bed & Breakfast business.
In October 2009, at the age of 66, he took up the position of manager of Porthcawl Town, playing in the Welsh Football League Division Two. He left the club in January 2010. Then approaching his 67th birthday, nobody was betting on Eddie not donning his managerial hat yet again.
What They said About Him
A Press acquaintance described him as follows: Eddie May wasn’t the most famous football figure in the game, but in Wales he will be remembered as a legend. Revered in every major football corner of Wales, Eddie is still a legend among Cardiff fans and was affectionately nicknamed ‘The Ayatollah’.
Such was his impact, he was invited to manage one of the sides that officially opened the new Cardiff City Stadium on 4 July 2009 in a Legends match.
Eddie had time for everybody and anything. He could talk all night and it was always a pleasure to be in his company. What Eddie May undoubtedly had was a genuine (as opposed to the sort of cosmetic approach you see from some managers) rapport with the club’s supporters.
Eddie’s long playing career in the lower leagues may well have been one of the reasons for the fact that he always seemed to come over as an honest man, with few personal agendas, who was looking for what was best for his club.
He was one of football’s genuine nice guys.
EL playing career… Starts/Subs/Goals.
Southend 1964-67 106/4/3 : Wrexham 1968-75 330/4/35 : Swansea 1976-77 90/0/8….Total 1964-77 526/8/46