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John McGovern

John McGovern is the former professional footballer hailed as the youngest player to compete in all four divisions of the Football League, at just 19 years old. He is famous for being part of the Nottingham Forest side that won the European Cup twice, under the management of Brian Clough. Today John McGovern is a commentator and coach as well as a highly entertaining after-dinner and inspiring motivational speaker.


About John McGovern

John McGovern, during his career, played over 500 league games for teams such as Hartlepool United, Derby County and Nottingham Forest and won two U23 Scottish caps was a 2017 Scottish Football Hall of Fame inductee. John is increasingly in demand to speak to corporate clients such as the Royal Bank of Scotland about his experiences throughout his career and the motivation behind his constant achievements.


John McGovern was born in Montrose, Scotland, and moved with his family to Hartlepool at the age of seven. Educated at Henry Smith’s Grammar School where rugby was the only accepted sport, John discovered football during the school holidays spent at his grandmother’s back in Scotland and fell in love with the game. Back at school, his Headmaster was not impressed with John’s new passion and gave him a severe dressing down on a number of occasions but despite this, and his late introduction to football at the age of fifteen, John McGovern became the youngest player to play in all four divisions of the Football League by the time he was 19.

After winning a League Championship medal at Derby County, John went on to be Captain of Nottingham Forest where he won the League Championship again along with two League Cups and two European Cups.  John has been Player Manager at Bolton Wanderers, Assistant Manager at Plymouth Argyle and Hull City, and Joint Manager at Rotherham.  A regular host on match days at Nottingham Forest and other football grounds including the Champion Leagues Lounge at Manchester United for the last two European Champion League Games, John is also a regular commentator for BBC Nottingham. He continues to coach football players of all ages around the world, including workers in the oil fields of Azerbaijan and girls and boys attending summer schools in the USA.

Speech Topics

‘A Career in Football’ covers John’s humble beginings at Hartlepool to the glory of winning two consecutive European Cups. John regales his audiences with several Brian Clough anecdotes and amusing references to players, managers and referees, while describing his personal experiences dring a highly successful career.

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John McGovern Videos

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