Terry Cochrane was born in Killyleagh, North Ireland on the 23rd January 1953 and after watching English football on TV back in North Ireland he was determined to become a professional footballer. He spent a month on trial at Everton Football Club under then manager Billy Bingham before returning to North Ireland in 1969 to join Derry City.
A move to play in the Irish League with Linfield came along but after a couple of years he joined Coleraine in 1973 under former Northern Ireland manager Bertie Peacock. It was there that the winger started to become noticed winning the Irish Football League and the Gibson Cup in 1974, before going on to make his first full International debut for Northern Ireland in October 1975 against Norway.
In October 1976, Cochrane finally got his move to English football signing for division two side Burnley Football Club. The fee was £80,000 and a week later he made his first team debut against Orient at Turf Moor, he made an instant impact scoring the Clarets second goal in a 3-3 draw. He quickly became a fans favourite with his scintillating displays on the wing and he became a much sought after player as he helped the Clarets avoid relegation.
Middlesbrough then paid a club record fee of £233,333 for the winger in October 1978, which was also a record fee for a Northern Ireland player. Cochrane’s debut came in a 2–0 win over Norwich City at Ayresome Park, he went to spend five years with the club making 111 appearances, scoring 7 goals. After leaving the North-East he spent time playing oversea’s in Hong Kong with Eastern AA making 12 appearances, scoring 8 goals.
After returning from Hong Kong, Cochrane had a three year spell at Gillingham from October 1983 until the summer of 1986, were he made 107 appearances, scoring 17 goals. Another spell oversea’s followed with Dallas Sidekicks before a short spell back home in North Ireland with Coleraine. As the Clarets battled to say in the football league in 1987, Cochrane was playing his final season as a professional footballer with both Millwall and Hartlepool United.
Later, a seven year spell in non-league football followed with Billingham Synthonia, Marske United, Billingham Town, Ferryhill Athletic and a spell as player manager of the ill-fated South Bank Football Club. In January 2008, Cochrane returned to management with Glenavon in the Irish Premier League but left the club by mutual consent. He had another spell back in management a year later as manager of Hartlepool United Ladies where he finished his football career.
Cochrane released an autobiography in 2014, called “See You At The Far Post” which is still on sale today. Chadwick Media this week caught up with the former Northern Ireland International and Burnley winger to discuss his career and time at Turf Moor.
Biggest influence on your career in football?
I didn’t really have any people that influenced my career but I spent a lot of time watching English football on TV, I was a young lad that believed I could be a professional footballer.
What is your best football highlight?
The biggest highlight of my career would be scoring against England at Wembley Stadium you could have killed me after the game an unbelievable feeling. I scored just sixty seconds after England had taken the lead in the 1980 British Home Championship and the game finished 1-1. North Ireland went on to win the Championship for the first time in 66 years.
Tell us about your Football League Debut?
I played in Northern Ireland for Coleraine for 3 years before making my Football League debut for Burnley on the 9th October 1976 against Orient at Turf Moor. I remember the game well because I scored on my debut and the match finished in a 3-3 draw with Paul Fletcher and Malcolm Smith getting the other two goals.
Toughest Opponent You faced and Why?
Its difficult to pick just one player, there were a few players that gave you as good as they got but the three I remember were Tony Dunne from Manchester United, Ron Harris of Chelsea and Alex Lindsay from Liverpool they were all tough opponents.
Best Manager you Played for and Why?
Best manager that I played for was Keith Peacock at Gillingham he was an excellent man manager and he always said the right things to the players at the right time. He always had time for you and was a lovely man.
Best Player you Played with and Why?
I would have to say the best player I played with would be David Armstrong whilst I was at Middlesbrough. He always managed to find time on the ball and always knew were to put the ball at the right time. He received a testimonial after ten years at the club at just the age of twenty-five and went onto set a club record 358 consecutive games between March 1972 and August 1980 in all competitions.
Best Goal you Scored and Why?
I suppose the best goal I scored was the overhead kick against Swansea City in the FA Cup (3rd Round) at the Vetch Field Stadium. We won the game 5-0 in front of the BBC Match of the Day camera’s and the goal was shown on the start of the programme the following season, which made me famous among the Middlesbrough fans.
Having played oversea’s in Hong Kong and the USA how did you find the experience of playing in those countries and how did it differ from the UK?
Hard question, I enjoyed the experience in both countries, but I went to Hong Kong with Bobby Moore (god rest him) and we played in front of crowds of 10, 000 every week. The teams had a maximum of five overseas players and the standard was ok, however it was less demanding than playing in England as the humidity slowed you down a little, but we had a few good players in our team so they made it a little easier.
After you finished playing you managed Glenavon back in Northern Ireland could you tell us about your time in management?
I was appointed manager of Glenavon in January 2008 and the experience was good, but the football was a little naive compared to England. However I am not to sure the players at the club fully understood the system I was trying to introduce to be honest.
In 2009 you had a spell as manager of Hartlepool United Ladies back then how did the women’s game differ from what we see today in the WSL?
I am not to sure that I have enough information to compare the differences in women’s football if I am honest, I didn’t get to stay long enough at Hartlepool United Ladies to make a judgement on the game back then. I’ve not been involved in the women’s game over the last few years, but it must have improved as all the players that come on Sky TV all have 100 caps or more for England at International level.