Profile - Grant McCann

Profile - Grant McCann

By John Williams
9th August
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Grant McCann

BORN: 14 APRI 1980
Northern Irishman McCann was born in Belfast and began his playing career in his homeland with Lisburn Distillery in 1995. That was until signing for the West Ham United Academy of Football in 1996, where he started his professional career at 16 years of age – turning professional two years later.

First-team opportunities were limited at West Ham and McCann ended up gaining his first taste of senior football during a loan spell at Livingston at the start of the 1999/2000 campaign. In total he made just five appearances, four coming off the bench with his one and only start coming in the Scottish League Cup.

Two more loan spells followed in 2000/01 – the first with Notts County in Division Two. He made three appearances for the Magpies – the second of which came in a 1-0 defeat to Hull City in the League Cup.

After returning West Ham in September 2000, Grant once again found himself going out on loan to continue his footballing education, this time with Cheltenham Town.
His reward for impressing at Cheltenham came with a first appearance for West Ham, this was in the London outfit’s final fixture of the season, coming off the bench away at Middlesbrough.

After two more substitute appearances for West Ham at the start of the 2001/02 campaign, Grant’s progress was recognised with an international debut for Northern Ireland in a 1-0 World Cup qualifying win away at Malta in October 2001, which was followed by his fourth – and final – appearance as a West Ham player and a further two games for his country, including a first start in a friendly fixture away at Liechtenstein in March 2002.

Another loan stint at Cheltenham came in October 2002, a move which was turned permanent the following January – with Cheltenham spending a club record fee of £50,000, to claim his signature. McCann was a huge success playing in the midfield scoring 41 times in 179 games and played a key role in the club’s 2005/06 play-off winning campaign.

He joined Barnsley on loan deadline day, 23 November 2006. On his debut against Ipswich Town he scored a 92nd-minute winner in Simon Davey's first game as caretaker boss. The two clubs agreed a fee of £100,000 and McCann moved to Barnsley permanently on 2 January 2007. At the time this was a record fee for an outbound player from Cheltenham.

Just 12 months later McCann was on the move again this time signing for Scunthorpe United. During his time there he made more than 110 appearances, scoring 20 goals in all competitions. Grant played an import role in helping Scunthorpe win the 2008/09 League One Play-Off Final at Wembley.

He was on the move once again at the end of the 2009/10 season, linking up with Peterborough United on a free transfer in May 2010. Whilst at the Posh, the midfielder achieved the third promotion of his career, this was in May 2011, when Peterborough won the Sky Bet League One Play-Off Final at Old Trafford.

Grant had always dreamt of playing in Belfast for his boyhood club, Linfield and although only making six appearances, much to his satisfaction, he managed to score a goal.
McCann was also capped 39 times by the senior Northern Ireland national side, scoring four goals to help his nation record victories over Liechtenstein, San Marino (twice) and Israel.

Grant had always held an ambition to get into coaching once he playing days were over, to show just how serious he was, he started his badges at 28, becoming one of the youngest coaches to obtain the Uefa Pro Licence at just 35 years-of-age.

He returned to Peterborough in a coaching capacity in February 2015 and, after two caretaker spells in charge in September 2015 and April 2016, was appointed as permanent manager in May 2016.

McCann took charge of 105 competitive Posh matches in total, winning 42, drawing 28 and losing 35. That’s a win percentage of 40% in all competitions. In EFL fixture alone, his record was P83 W32 D23 L28 – picking up 47.8% of the available points, which placed him tenth on the all-time Posh managerial list in between Gary Johnson (48%) and Keith Alexander (46.9%).
He departed Peterborough in February 2018 before returning to the game when appointed by Doncaster Rovers 27 June 2018. McCann was a success, as he guided Rovers to the League One Play-Off semi-finals, as well as the fifth round of the FA Cup for the first time in 63 years.

McCann was appointed as head coach of Championship club Hull City on 21 June 2019 on a one-year rolling contract.

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