Former Coleshill Town player Danny Hegan died this week and as he is the clubs most famous son, along side Aston Villa's Gary Shaw, it is fitting that we look back on his career.
Daniel Hegan was born in Coatbridge Scotland on 14th June 1943.
A product of Scottish Junior Football, Danny began his senior career with hometown Scottish League club, Albion Rovers, signing on his sixteenth birthday. After a little over a season at inside-forward in the Scottish Second Division, he transferred to Sunderland in a £5,000 deal in September 1961. Unable to break into the starting eleven at Roker Park , Danny moved on to Ipswich in July 1963 for £10,000.
Danny’s Ipswich career got off to an inauspicious start as his debut finished with a 6-0 defeat by Bolton on the way to relegation. He soon found his feet though, developing into one of the most talented creative players in the Football League, eventually helping them to the Second Division title in 1968. Still rated among Ipswich ’s all-time greats, Danny's social life began to catch up with him and his form dipped back in the top-flight. After a number of months on the transfer list, Danny moved to West Bromwich Albion in a player plus cash deal worth £88,000 in May 1969. In all he made 207 appearances for Ipswich, scoring 34 goals.
It was while at the Hawthorns that Danny’s father’s Irish birth was realised, and he was awarded his first cap in the 2-0 defeat to the USSR that cost Northern Ireland a place at the Mexico 1970 World Cup – the match is probably most famous for the disappearance of George Best prior to the trip to Moscow. An agreement between the Home Nations limited players eligible through the “father rule” to non-British Championship games only, and it was two years before Danny won his second cap, in another defeat by the USSR in Moscow .
Having failed to make a significant mark at West Brom , where he played more times for the reserves in the Central League than for the first-team in the Football League, Danny made a cut-price £27,500 move to Wolverhampton Wanderers in May 1970. Initially slow to settle at Molyneaux, it was only in his second season that Danny made an impact on the first eleven, scoring with a brilliant chip in the UEFA Cup quarter-final win over Juventus as Wolves marched to the Final, losing out 3-2 on aggregate to Spurs. Danny made 53 appearances for Wolverhampton scoring 6 goals.
In May 1972 Terry Neill took advantage of a change in the Home Nations rules, and selected Danny for all three of the Home Nations ties, including a famous 1-0 win over England at Wembley.
In November 1973 Danny left Wolves and returned to Sunderland for £5,000. Back at Roker Park he played just six times before being released. It proved a sad end to the League career of one of the most gifted midfielders of his generation. Danny then spent two summers in South Africa with Johannesburg based Highland Park , before playing non-League football with Coleshill Town for three seasons, 1975-1978 before retiring in May 1978. At this level, Danny was a class act! In a game against Evesham in January 1976 the Tamworth Herald wrote: "Hegan scored with one of the hardest shots ever seen at Pack Meadow from 28 yards".
Later Danny worked as a soccer coach at a Butlin’s Holiday Camp at Clacton, before settling in Birmingham where he worked as a taxi driver.
REST IN PEACE - DANNY HEGAN
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