Leicester City In 100 Players: Gary McAllister
On 28 September, 1985, Gary McAllister made his Leicester City debut against Ipswich Town in the old First Division. He went on to become one of the most elegant and sophisticated midfield players ever to play for the Foxes.
As a youngster, Gary had been chased by Manchester United, but things didn’t quite work out so he signed for Motherwell instead. He made the first team as a 16-year-old in what turned out to be a promotion season.
In August 1985, 20-year-old McAllister was signed by Leicester manager Gordon Milne in a joint £250,000 deal which also brought Ali Mauchlen to the Club.
City were bottom but one in the table when Gary made his Foxes debut in the 10th game of the season. McAllister’s impressive first appearance performance was the highlight of a vital 1-0 victory. He showed a nice touch on the ball, kept winger Steve Lynex well supplied and tested the Ipswich goalkeeper with several awkward shots from just outside the area. He also made some great defence-splitting passes.
Gary McAllister was a popular figure for the Foxes.
Following this impressive debut, McAllister was an automatic first choice for Leicester for five seasons, clocking up 225 first team appearances and scoring 51 goals, some of which were spectacular. He played in both central and wide midfield positions. He became a deadball expert. His pin-point accurate passing over long and short distances created many openings for, among others, the future Arsenal and England star Alan Smith.
Gary’s first season at Filbert Street, though, was tough. Over this troubled season, and the next one, when Leicester were relegated, McAllister consistently impressed nevertheless.
Gary was the jewel in the City crown for his final three seasons at the Club which were all undistinguished Second Division campaigns. However, his form led to him becoming a Scotland international in 1990, in his final season at Filbert Street. He went on to win 57 caps in nine years, being captain for four of them. He also attracted the attention of some top First Division sides.
Eventually the inevitable happened. In June 1990, he took the opportunity to play at the top level again by signing for Leeds United for £1M, winning the league title in 1992.
He continued his top flight career with Coventry City and Liverpool, winning a League Cup, FA Cup and UEFA Cup treble with the Reds in 2001. He subsequently managed Coventry City and Leeds United and was assistant manager at Aston Villa twice and Glasgow Rangers.
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