Michael Joseph McCarthy is a former professional football player who moved into club management with Millwall, the Republic of Ireland, Sunderland, and currently Wolverhampton Wanderers.
He is known for his straight-talking, uncomplicated air,and has also worked as a television football pundit.
Born in Barnsley, England, McCarthy made his league debut for Barnsley in 1977. A strong central defender, after 272 appearances for Barnsley he went to Manchester City, Celtic, Lyon and finally Millwall.
His father, Charles McCarthy, was Irish, meaning he was eligible for selection for the Republic of Ireland's national team.
He made his international debut in 1984. He won 57 caps up to June 1992 and was the well-respected captain for his side, possibly the biggest feat for "Captain Fantastic" was in the second round penalty shoot out win over Romania in Italia '90 which lead to a crunch tie with the hosts in the quarter-final. Although Ireland were beaten 1-0 they were resilient opponents and were considered unfortunate not to progress to the semi-finals.
He joined Millwall in March 1990 and became player-manager in 1992, succeeding Bruce Rioch. After relative success at Millwall, McCarthy was appointed successor to Jack Charlton as Republic of Ireland manager on 5 February 1996.
Millwall went on to be relegated that season under Jimmy Nicholl.
Manager of the Republic of Ireland
Despite failure to qualify for the 1998 World Cup or Euro 2000 McCarthy held his job. The Republic of Ireland qualified for the 2002 World Cup in Korea and Japan, but their tournament was overshadowed by a very public and bitter spat between McCarthy and the team's star player Roy Keane, who was sent home by the manager without having kicked a ball.
McCarthy was criticised by some for his handling of the player. Despite this he had a relatively successful campaign, reaching the Second Round to be eliminated by Spain in a penalty shootout.
Indeed, the narrowness of the elimination, means Ireland were the 9th best performers at World Cup 2002, and the 5th best among European teams in the competition.
However, many in Ireland sided with Keane and demanded McCarthy's resignation both during and after the tournament.
The media's vilification became increasingly intense and personal after a poor start to their qualifying campaign for Euro 2004, McCarthy resigned from the post. During his 68 games in charge, the Republic of Ireland won 29, drew 19, and lost 20.
On 12 March 2003 he was appointed manager of struggling Sunderland as an immediate replacement for Howard Wilkinson, who was sacked after six successive Premiership defeats left the club facing near-certain relegation. McCarthy could not stop Sunderland's slide, and the Black Cats were relegated at the end of the season.
However, he largely escaped blame for the relegation, and was retained as manager. The following season, McCarthy brought Sunderland into the First Division promotion playoffs, but lost in a penalty shootout to Crystal Palace after Palace had scored a disputed stoppage-time equaliser. This was a remarkable achievement considering the players sold and huge debt that the club were in.
McCarthy completed the miracle recovery of the club in the 2004-05 season. The Black Cats secured automatic promotion to the Premiership on 23 April 2005, and six days later clinched the Championship title. Mick is referred to by many as 'Sam The American Eagle', a character from the TV series, "The Muppet Show".
After a disappointing season and with the club 16 points from safety with only 10 games remaining, Mick McCarthy was dismissed as manager of Sunderland on 6 March 2006.
Many commentators did not believe the problem lay with McCarthy, instead believing it lay at board level with Bob Murray and his reluctance to release funds to survive in the top flight.
Kevin Ball was appointed caretaker manager for the remainder of the 2005-06 season.
On 21 July 2006 McCarthy was appointed manager at Championship side Wolverhampton Wanderers, replacing Glenn Hoddle who had departed a fortnight before. He was officially unveiled as Wolves manager on 24 July in a press conference at Molineux.