Helensburgh man managed Man United

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a_scott_duncanA FORMER professional footballer who spent the last 18 years of his life in Helensburgh managed Manchester United for five years and Ipswich Town for 18 years.

Adam Scott Mattewson Duncan, known to his friends as Scooby, was born in Dumbarton on November 2 1888 and died in Helensburgh on October 3 1976 at the age of 88. He was survived by his wife Mary.

He was working as a law clerk in the Sheriff’s office when he joined his hometown club, Dumbarton, in 1906, and he decided to give up a career in the law and play football for a living.

Two years later he moved to Newcastle United for a fee of £150. A versatile forward, although primarily an outside-right who played sparkling football, he scored 12 goals in 81 league games for the Magpies, and was a member of the 1908–09 Football League championship-winning side.

In May 1913, he returned to Scotland, moving to Rangers for a fee of £500. He remained with Rangers during World War One, in which he served as a signalling instructor in the Royal Field Artillery.

He also played two wartime games for Celtic — which led to him being introduced by president Sam Graham at a Helensburgh Rotary Club meeting in 1970 as the only Rangers player who ever ‘guested’ for Celtic.

In 1918 he rejoined Dumbarton and in the 1920 close season signed for Cowdenbeath. In 1922 he joined Dumbarton for a third time, but retired at the end of the 1922–23 season.

That summer he was appointed as secretary-manager of Hamilton Academicals, but he left in October 1925 to take over as secretary-manager of Cowdenbeath and had seven successful years at the club, keeping them in the Scottish first division throughout his time in charge.

In June 1932 he was appointed as secretary-manager of Manchester United, when they were a struggling second division side with a £30,000 deficit.

In his first season in charge they finished sixth in the division. But despite spending a lot of money on players, United were almost relegated to the third division in the 1933-34 season — surviving only by beating Millwall 2-0 away on the last day of the season.

Scott turned things around and led United to fifth place the next season and the second division championship in the 1935-36 season. But they were relegated from division one the following season and, in September 1937, he resigned to become manager of Ipswich Town, who were then a Southern League side.

At the end of the 1938–39 season Ipswich were elected into the Football League despite finishing third in the Southern League, and Scott remained as manager for 18 years, winning the third division (South) title in the 1953–54 season.

However, Town were relegated the following season and he stood down as manager in August 1955. Alf Ramsey took over as manager, but Scott remained as secretary for three more years.

He was honoured with a testimonial match at the end of the 1957-58 season against Norwich City at Portman Road, which Ipswich won 3-1, and the FA presented him with a special medal for long service in English football. After this game he moved to Kidston Drive, Helensburgh, where he spent the rest of his life.

As a player at Newcastle United he was a first division winner in 1908–9, FA Charity Shield winner in 1909, and FA Cup winner the following year.

As a manager he was a second division winner in 1935–36 at Manchester United, while at Ipswich Town he helped them to the Southern League third place in 1938–9 and election to the Football League, and was third division (South) winner in 1953–54.