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Archie Macaulay from great player to successful manager to traffic warden

Archibald Renwick “Archie” Macaulay was born 30 July 1915.

He was born in Falkirk and played at first with Rangers and then West Ham in the years leading up to the outbreak of war in 1939.  During the war he served his country in the Army Physical Training Corps, the Essex Regiment and eventually he became a Physical Training instructor at Aldershot.

After the war he moved to Brentford,  and was signed by Arsenal in July 1947 for £10,000, becoming a Scottish international a month later.  He was also selected for Great Britain in a match against the rest of Europe.

He played 40 out of 42 games in his first season, as Arsenal won the league mostly at right half but in his third and final season with the club came under pressure for the place from Alex Forbes.

Of him, during his time at Arsenal, Tom Whittaker said, “Macaulay was a brilliant ball player and magnificently balanced, had the reputation of a temper in keeping with his red hair, but while he was at Highbury he was a loyal club servant and a fine footballer.”

In his book Forward Arsenal! published in 1054 Bernard Joy said that “Mercer and Macaulay were the best club pair of wing-halves in the country.”

He moved to Fulham in June 1950, again for £10,000, having played 108 games, and scoring one goal.

After Fulham he went to Guildford City working as player-manager and that led to a career as a manager, first at Norwich where he replaced Tom Parker as manager.  Norwich were in the third division and Macaulay took them to an FA Cup semi-final, and promotion to the second division.

He then moved on to manage West Brom.  He was sacked at West Brom in 1963 and finally moved to Brighton and Hove Albion.  Brighton had been relegated in 1963, but Macaulay took them back to the third division after two seasons, as champions in 1965.

But then, having achieved that promotion with Brighton, at the age of 50 he left football totally.  He is reported later to have worked as a traffic warden in Chelsea, dying at the age of 77 on 10 June 1993.

Looking at the basic facts of him leaving football management at 50 having just gained the championship of the fourth division, and then working in such a job, one can’t help but wonder at what happened.  He must have been the toast of Brighton, had had managerial success with Norwich, and must surely have had other offers had he had some other reason to leave.

Was this final departure a sign of the “temper in keeping with his red hair” that Whittaker had talked about?

If you know why Archie Macaulay left Brighton at that time, never to return to football again, please do say.

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