Gordon played for Dundee, Aberdeen, Manchester United, Leeds United and Coventry City, as well as the Scotland national team. Prior to Middlesbrough, Strachan managed Coventry City, Southampton and Celtic.
Strachan came to prominence at the age of 20 when he was signed by Aberdeen on 1 November 1977. With the famous Aberdeen team of the 1980s, managed by Alex Ferguson and one of the few sides to break the traditional dominance of the Old Firm in Scottish football, he won two Scottish League titles, three Scottish Cups, the European Cup Winners’ Cup and the European Super Cup.
In August 1984, Manchester United spent £500,000 to take him to Old Trafford in August.
In club football, he played 626 games scoring a total of 138 goals, playing 21 of 25 career seasons in either the English or Scottish top flight. In international football Strachan earned 50 caps, scoring 5 goals and playing in two FIFA World Cup final tournaments, Spain 82 and Mexico 86.
Gordon first played for the Scotland national team in 1980. Moving to England, Strachan won the 1985 FA Cup Final in five seasons with Manchester United, before spending the next seven seasons as club captain at Leeds, winning the 1991–92 First Division league title. He played his last game for Scotland in 1992 while still at Leeds, and then moved to Coventry in 1995 for a final three seasons, as a player-coach.
Strachan was named as FWA Footballer of the Year for the 1990–91 season while at Leeds. He was also named Manager of the Year in Scotland multiple times by writers and players while at Celtic.
After resigning as manager of Southampton in 2004, Strachan took a 16 month break from management before returning to Scotland to become manager of Celtic in the Scottish Premier League. With Celtic he achieved three successive league titles and other domestic cup wins.
In 2007, Strachan was inducted into the Scottish Football Hall of Fame.
Strachan has also analysed football matches for the media, most notably alongside Adrian Chiles on BBC Sport’s Match of the Day 2.
For the 2006 FIFA World Cup, Strachan was appointed as the official FIFA Ambassador for Scotland, joining fifty others in fund raising for SOS Children’s Villages, the official charity of the tournament.
He currently works as a regular pundit for ITV’s coverage of the FA Cup. His face is still a familiar addition to the television and football scene and his powerful motivational speeches are in demand at company seminars nationwide.