The Age Defying Mal Donaghy
Born and growing up in West Belfast, Mal Donaghy started out with Cromac Albion in the Irish Amateur League in 1976 before he decided to join forces with Irish League side Larne the following year. At the end of the 1977–78 campaign, the determined defender was transferred to Luton Town where he helped The Hatters win the Second Division Championship in 1981–82 as well as the Littlewoods Cup in 1987–88.
After appearing in over 400 league matches for Luton Town, the strong and powerful centre half was brought to Manchester United by Alex Ferguson for a fee of £650,000 in October 1988. Despite being the wrong side of 30, the Manchester United manager knew that in Mal Donaghy he had a courageous and determined professional who would never let him down. Even though the seasoned campaigner found his first team opportunities somewhat limited at Manchester United, he nonetheless managed to make well over 100 appearances for the club between 1988 and 1992. The Ulsterman eventually left Old Trafford when Chelsea boss Ian Porterfield splashed out £100,000 for the 34-year-old player at the beginning of the 1992–93 season. After clocking up 68 league appearances for the Stamford Bridge outfit, the aerially commanding stopper decided to finish a fine footballing career at the end of the 1993–94 campaign. A Northern Ireland player, Mal Donaghy amassed 91 full caps for his native country after making his international debut in a narrow 1–0 victory over old rivals Scotland at Windsor Park in May 1980.