Ian Ure Profile

Ian Ure

John Fran­combe Ure, born Ayr, Scot­land, Dec­ember 7, 1939. A com­mand­ing centre back, Ian Ure agreed to his fir­st pro­fes­sion­al con­tract at Dun­dee in 1958 and went on to ap­pear for Ar­senal and Man­chester Uni­ted be­fore he fin­ished off his foot­balling ca­reer wi­th St Mir­ren. Ure also had a short stint as man­ager of Falkirk club East Stirl­ing­shire where he held the head coach­ing reigns for less than a year. 

Ian Ure was a reg­u­lar mem­ber of the im­mensely tal­en­ted and well blen­ded Dun­dee te­am of the early 1960´s which were de­scribed by renowned soc­cer his­tor­i­an Bob Cramp­sey as the greatest Scot­tish foot­balling si­de to emerge in Scot­land since the Sec­ond Wor­ld War, bet­ter even than Jock Stein´s Lis­bon Li­ons, who won the 1967 Euro­pean Cup af­ter de­feat­ing Inter Mil­an by 2-1 in the fi­nal at the Es­ta­dio Nacion­al. Born and grow­ing up in Ayr, wham ne’er a to­wn sur­passes, for hon­est men and bon­nie lasses has stuck, at least ac­cord­ing to Ro­bert Burns, Ure star­ted his some­what roller coast­er ro­und ball play­ing days as a cent­ral de­fender wi­th Ayr Al­bion and Daltry Thistle be­fore the tall and massively built young­ster ev­entually caught the at­ten­tion of suc­cess hungry Scot­tish Fir­st Di­vi­sion club Dun­dee where he was offered pro­fes­sion­al terms in the sum­mer of 1958. At Dens Park, he im­me­di­ately thrived un­der the sound lead­er­ship of man­ager Bob Shankly, who was the bro­ther of Bill Shankly, and he settled qui­ckly in a te­am of es­tab­lished play­ers such as Alan Cous­in, Bob­by Cox, Alan Gilzean, Al­ex Ham­ilton, Pat Liney, Andy Pen­man, Hugh Robert­son, Bob­by Seith, Gor­don Smith, and Bob­by Wis­hart. Whi­le wi­th Dun­dee, Ure help­ed The Dark Blues win the Scot­tish Fir­st Di­vi­sion Cham­pi­on­ship for the fir­st time ever in the 1961-62 cam­paign, and he was also an im­port­ant part of the Dens Park te­am which ma­naged to reach the semi fi­nals of the Euro­pean Cup the fol­low­ing sea­son af­ter knock­ing out Co­logne, Sport­ing Lis­bon, and RSC An­der­lecht, on­ly to lose 5-2 on ag­greg­ate to even­tu­al win­ners AC Milan.

Af­ter amass­ing 107 Scot­tish Foot­ball Lea­gue ap­pear­ances for Dun­dee, Ian Ure teamed up wi­th Billy Wright´s Ar­senal for an es­tim­ated trans­fer fee of £60,000 at the be­gin­ning of the 1963-64 cam­paign, and he missed on­ly one ga­me dur­ing his in­aug­ur­al year wi­th The Gun­ners fol­low­ing his de­but in a 3-1 Fir­st Di­vi­sion de­feat ag­ainst Wolver­hampton Wan­derers at High­bury on the 24th of Au­gust 1963. Power­ful and dom­in­ant in the air, he would form a de­fens­ive parter­ship wi­th North­ern Ire­land in­ter­na­tion­al Terry Neill and pro­ceeded to make 24 fir­st te­am ap­pear­ances in all com­pet­i­tions dur­ing his sec­ond sea­son wi­th the North Lon­don in­sti­tu­tion. Wi­th Ar­senal fin­ish­ing 14th in the Di­vi­sion One ta­ble in 1965-66, Wright, who was once de­scribed by Geof­frey Green as a fire­man rush­ing to the wrong fire, was ev­entually re­placed by club physio­ther­ap­ist Ber­tie Mee as act­ing man­ager on the 20th of June 1966. Ure got along well wi­th the new boss and the Scot went on to win two Foot­ball Lea­gue Cup run­ners-up medals wi­th the si­de af­ter play­ing in the fi­nals of 1967-68 and 1968-69. In the 1968 Lea­gue Cup Fi­nal, Ar­senal lost 1-0 ag­ainst fel­low Fir­st Di­vi­sion club Leeds Uni­ted who won the ga­me cour­tesy of a long dis­tance rock­et from de­fender Terry Cooper a min­ute be­fore the ha­lf-hour ma­rk. The fol­low­ing sea­son, the High­bury te­am suf­fered an em­bar­rass­ing and un­ex­pec­ted 3-1 de­feat at the hands of Third Di­vi­sion out­fit Swin­don To­wn who­se goals came thro­ugh a double by Don Ro­gers dur­ing stop­page time and a fir­st-ha­lf goal from loc­al born for­ward Ro­ger Smart, whi­le pre­vi­ous Cov­entry City fa­vour­ite Bob­by Gould ma­naged to find the back of the net for the North Lon­doners in the 86th min­ute of nor­mal time.

Af­ter ap­pear­ing in over 200 fir­st class mat­ches for The Ar­senal, Ian Ure was ev­entually giv­en a new lease of life when he was bro­ught to Man­chester Uni­ted by re­cently hired head coach Wilf McGuin­ness for a trans­fer fee of ar­ound £80,000 at the be­gin­ning of the 1969-70 cam­paign, and he soon settled down in his new sur­round­ings. As des­tiny would have it, the sea­soned per­former was han­ded his his com­pet­it­ive de­but for the te­am in a goal­less Lea­gue Di­vi­sion One draw ag­ainst Wolver­hampton Wan­derers at Mo­lineux Sta­dium on the 23rd of Au­gust 1969. Ure, who was the on­ly ma­jor sign­ing made by McGuin­ness dur­ing his time as Man­chester Uni­ted man­ager, made his sec­ond start for the club in an­oth­er goal­less draw, this time ag­ainst New­castle Uni­ted at Old Traf­ford four days la­ter. Not ex­actly a reg­u­lar goal scor­er, he re­gistered his fir­st and on­ly goal for Man­chester Uni­ted when he fou­nd the back of the net on the hour ma­rk in a highly stim­u­lat­ing 4-1 Fir­st Di­vi­sion tri­umph ag­ainst North West rivals Liver­pool at An­field on the 13th of Dec­ember the same year. He ma­naged to clock up 34 Foot­ball Lea­gue out­ings for The Red Dev­ils dur­ing his in­aug­ur­al sea­son at Old Traf­ford, and help­ed the club reach the FA Cup Semi Fi­nals, where they lost to Don Revie´s ag­gress­ive Leeds Uni­ted te­am af­ter two re­plays. Fol­low­ing a string of me­diocre res­ults dur­ing the fir­st part of the 1970-71 cam­paign, in­clud­ing a sur­prise 2-1 Lea­gue Cup Semi Fi­nal Sec­ond Leg de­feat ag­ainst Third Di­vi­sion As­ton Vil­la at Vil­la Park on the 23rd of Dec­ember 1970, McGuiness was re­placed tem­por­ar­ily by Sir Matt Busby and Ure knew that his days were numb­ered. Af­ter ac­cu­mu­lat­ing 47 Fir­st Di­vi­sion ap­pear­ances for Man­chester Uni­ted, he was ul­ti­mately gran­ted a free trans­fer by new­ly ap­poin­ted man­ager Frank O´Farrell, and he sub­sequently made a move to Scot­tish Sec­ond Di­vi­sion St Mir­ren at the start of the 1971-72 sea­son. Three years la­ter, how­ever, he re­placed a cer­tain Al­ex Fer­guson as the head coach of East Stirl­ing­shire, but stayed at Firs Park in Falkirk for just one single sea­son be­fore he de­cided to pick up a ca­reer as a so­cial work­er in Kil­mar­nock instead.

On the in­ter­na­tion­al scene, Ian Ure col­lec­ted a total of el­ev­en seni­or caps for his na­tive Scot­land af­ter ma­king his de­but in a 2-0 Brit­ish Ho­me Cham­pi­on­ship vic­tory ag­ainst Wales, wit­nessed by 75, 000 people at Hamp­den Park, on the 8th of of Nov­ember 1961, and was a mem­ber of the now le­gendary te­am which edged out Alf Ramsey´s Eng­land by a 2-1 score at Wemb­ley Sta­dium on the 6th of April 1963 cour­tesy of two fir­st ha­lf goals from equally le­gendary Ran­gers play­maker Jim Bax­ter. Af­ter the open­ing skir­mishes, it was the Scot­tish si­de that took the ini­ti­at­ive and they were re­war­ded when Bax­ter, the Wil­li­am Wal­lace of foot­ball, ham­mered ho­me from in­side the 18-yard area in the 29th min­ute, and “Slim Jim” net­ted ag­ain on­ly two min­utes la­ter, this time from the pen­alty spot. Black­burn Rov­ers wing­er Bry­an Douglas re­duced the de­fi­cit for The Three Li­ons wi­th el­ev­en min­utes left of the Brit­ish Ho­me Cham­pi­on­ship ga­me, but Ian McColl´s play­ers held on to win 2-1. Ure was also part of the Scot­land si­de that be­at Nor­way 6-1 at Hamp­den Park in an in­ter­na­tion­al friendly tie on the 7th of Nov­ember 1963, wi­th Man­chester Uni­ted stri­ker De­nis Law scor­ing four goals and Tot­ten­ham Hot­spur mid­fielder Dave Mckay hit­ting a brace. Ian Ure´s in­ter­na­tion­al ca­reer las­ted for four years and he played his last mat­ch for his na­tion in a 1-0 Euro­pean Cham­pi­on­ship Quali­fier de­feat ag­ainst North­ern Ire­land be­fore a crowd of 55,000 at Wind­sor Park on the 21st of Oct­ober 1967. Ian Ure Play­ing Ca­reer: Dun­dee, Ar­senal, Man­chester Uni­ted, St Mir­ren. Play­ing Hon­ours: Scot­tish Foot­ball Lea­gue Fir­st Di­vi­sion 1962.


Ian Ure Quickfacts

Ian Ure ex­celled at box­ing, crick­et, and rugby be­fore opt­ing for the ro­und ball game.


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