Brian John McClair (b. December 8, 1963, Bellshill, Scotland) is a former Scottish international football player who played as a forward, notable for his near eleven-year spell at Manchester United F.C., as well as important tenures at Scottish clubs Celtic F.C. and Motherwell F.C.. He was nicknamed "Choccy", as his last name rhymed with the delicacy "Chocolate Eclair".
Brian is currently Manchester United's youth academy director. Also he is currently looking after the reserve team on a caretaker basis after the recent departure of previous reserve team boss René Meulensteen to Brøndby IF.
His first club was Aston Villa F.C., who he joined as a junior when he was 16 years old at the beginning of season 1980-1981, making little impact. A free transfer to Motherwell, for whom he scored 15 league goals, stood him in good stead when, for a fee of £100,000, he moved to Celtic F.C. in 1983. In four seasons with Celtic, he made 145 league appearances and scored 99 goals . In the 1986-87 season, he scored 35 goals in 44 league appearances and won both the Scottish Football Writers' Association Player of the Year and the Scottish Players' Player of the Year awards.
His main spell, however, was at Manchester United, whom he joined in 1987 for a fee of £850,000, where he made 296 (and added 59 as a substitute) league appearances, 38(7) FA Cup Appearances, 44(1) in the League Cup and 17 (6) appearances in European Competitions, scoring 126 goals in all competitions. In later years, as his first team opportunities were reduced, McClair became somewhat of a cult hero at United due to his 'Choccy's Diary' being published in 'Manchester United' magazine.
In his first season for Manchester United he scored 24 league goals, becoming the first Manchester United player to surpass 20 league goals in one season since the late George Best in 1968.
He won 30 caps for his native Scotland, and scored two goals. He also represented his country during the 1992 European Championships.
His honours with Manchester United are as follows:
In the 1992 League Cup final he scored the solitary goal against Nottingham Forest, and scored another cup final goal in the 1994 FA Cup final, this time against Chelsea when Manchester United won 4-0.
McClair was the main striker for United during his first season, and then partnered Mark Hughes when he returned from Barcelona, but switched to midfield when Éric Cantona joined United in November 1992. When Roy Keane was signed the following summer, McClair's first team opportunities became increasingly limited. But he agreed to stay on at United as a squad player, providing reliable cover in midfield and attack and making over 40 appearances (in the first eleven or as a substitute) in 1994-95. He was still trucking along in 1996-97, and on the first day of the season, he was credited with an assist for David Beckham's spectacular goal from the halfway line against Wimbledon. However, this was his only notable contribution to the team that season and at the end of 1997-98, he was given a free transfer to complete his playing days elsewhere. McClair accepted an offer to return to Motherwell. During his second spell at Motherwell it became apparent that his best years were behind him as the fast tempo of Scottish Football passed him by. McClair returned to the south of the border in December 1998 to become Brian Kidd's assistant at Blackburn Rovers. But he was unable to prevent Blackburn from slipping out of the Premiership and within a year he had been sacked. He returned to Old Trafford as a youth team coach soon afterwards.
In 2001 he was appointed as Reserve Team manager, and promptly won the Reserve League in his first season as coach. In his second season, he was in charge of the Under-19 team which clinched the 2003 FA Youth Cup. Some players from that team, like David Jones, Chris Eagles and Kieran Richardson have gone on to make appearances in the first team.
At the end of the 2004-05 season the first team finished trophyless, but the Reserve Teams headed by him Ricky Sbragia won an unprecedented quadruple of the Pontins' Holidays League, the FA Premier Reserve League, The Pontins' Holidays League Cup and the Premier Reserve League Playoff. Their quest for an unprecedented five trophies was thwarted when they lost to Manchester City in the Manchester Senior Cup.
After a year of shadowing Les Kershaw, Manchester United's then academy director Brian replaced him at the start of the 2006 - 2007 season, and is now the new Director of Manchester United's youth academy at which McClair's son, Liam, is currently a player.