Neil McBain (April 1955 – August 1956)

Neil McBain was a native of Campbeltown who signed for Ayr United as an eighteen year old inside-forward in May 1914. He eventually found a niche as an inside-forward and represented such clubs as Manchester United, Everton and Liverpool, also becoming an internationalist, playing for Scotland in their 1921 summer tour of Canada.

Neil McBain was born on 15 November 1895 and was a Scottish professional footballer and football manager. He remains the oldest player to appear in an English Football League match aged 51 years. He had served with the Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders and the Submarine Service and guested for both Portsmouth and Sunderland.

Neil McBain was appointed as Ayr United manager in April 1955 and became the third former Ayr United player to manage the club. He was tasked with ending the nine years of second division football. The long suffering supporters were rewarded for these years in the wilderness when ‘McBain’s Babes’ won 2-0 at Brechin City to gain promotion to the First Division. He used the last few weeks of season 1954/55 to asses the current squad. He first signing Willie ‘Puskas’ Hendry but he also signed Sam McMillan and Peter Price, who remains the greatest Ayr United player of all time, scoring 213 goals in 251 competitive appearances. McMillan scored 127 goals for the club, the second most successful scorer of all time for Ayr.

Having won promotion in season 1955/56 McBain had been approached by English club Watford to manage them.

Ayr could not offer the good terms that Watford had offered and he sensationally departed Ayr at the end of the 1955/56 season.Neil’s wisdom and skill would not be available to Ayr for that very difficult step back into the first division.

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