||This biographical article needs additional citations for verification. (June 2010)|
|Full name||Alan Francis McLoughlin|
|Date of birth||20 April 1967|
|Place of birth||Manchester, England|
|Height||5 ft 8 in (1.73 m)|
|1987–1988||→ Torquay United (loan)||24||(4)|
|1991||→ Aston Villa (loan)||0||(0)|
|2002–2003||Forest Green Rovers||12||(0)|
|1990–1999||Republic of Ireland||42||(2)|
* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only.
Alan Francis McLoughlin (born 20 April 1967 in Manchester, England) is a former professional footballer and coach, who played as a midfielder for the Republic of Ireland and various English club sides, most notably Swindon Town and Portsmouth.
McLoughlin began his career as a trainee at Manchester United on leaving school in July 1983, turning professional at the start of the 1985–86 season. However, he never played a first team game for United even when featuring over 40 times for the reserves.
After his release from Old Trafford, McLoughlin played in a trial tournament for Stoke City but was not signed. He featured in an exit trial match at Durham University. He was then offered a one-week trial by Oldham Athletic but joined Swindon Town in August 1986, just after they had won promotion to the Football League Third Division. He made his debut in a 2–2 draw with Newport County on 12 September 1986. However, he did not fit with then-manager Lou Macari's "long ball" style, and seven months and nine appearances later, he moved to Torquay United on loan. His Swindon career looked to be over when he returned to Torquay at the start of the following season for another loan spell, but suspensions to other players meant McLoughlin was given another chance in the first team and he soon established himself as a regular for Swindon.
It was under Macari's successor as manager, Osvaldo Ardiles, that McLoughlin really blossomed. He was an ever-present in Ardiles' first season, scoring 16 goals. He capped a fine season by scoring the winning goal in the play-off final at Wembley Stadium against Sunderland. However, before the next season began, Swindon were demoted by The Football League for making irregular payments to players. This initially meant that Sunderland were promoted to the First Division in their place, and Swindon were demoted to the Third Division; their place in the Second Division was given to losing Third Division play-off finalists Tranmere Rovers. However, an appeal saw Swindon restored to the Second Division.
With Swindon in financial trouble, players had to be sold, and McLoughlin left for Southampton in December 1990, for a club record £1 million. However, he failed to find the same level of form that he had at Swindon, and he was loaned first to Aston Villa and then to Portsmouth.
The latter were impressed enough by McLoughlin to make a bid for him, and so in February 1992 he moved to Fratton Park for £400,000 after making only 29 appearances for the Saints. He helped Portsmouth to the 1992 FA Cup semi-final, scoring the winning goal in the quarter-final tie with Nottingham Forest, only for them to lose the semi-final to Liverpool on a penalty shoot-out. He helped Portsmouth to the brink of the Premier League in 1992–93, but they were pipped to automatic promotion by West Ham United and lost to Leicester City in the play-offs.
In December 1999, he was sold to Wigan Athletic for £260,000. However, injuries prevented him from making a major impact and he moved on a free transfer to Rochdale in December 2001, having made only 22 appearances for Wigan, scoring three goals. He scored once in the league against Gillingham. and also scored a brace in a Football League Trophy tie against Oldham Athletic. McLoughlin played his part in Rochdale reaching the play-offs in 2001–02 and scored a twice-taken penalty for them on his last league appearance against Bristol Rovers.
Forest Green Rovers
With his career winding down McLoughlin joined Forest Green as a player-coach for the 2002–03 season and also featured in Rovers FA Cup first round tie with Exeter City which was broadcast live on BBC Match of the Day. At the end of the season McLoughlin retired from playing to concentrate on coaching with the club.
Republic of Ireland
McLoughlin's performances won him international recognition, and he was named in the Ireland squad for the 1990 World Cup in Italy. He made two appearances in the tournament, coming on as a substitute in the matches with England and Egypt. While at Portsmouth, McLoughlin represented the Republic of Ireland at the 1994 FIFA World Cup. McLoughlin scored a goal against the Northern Ireland national football team at Windsor Park in a 1993 World Cup qualifier. This happened when the Republic of Ireland were down 1–0 due to a goal scored by Jimmy Quinn of Northern Ireland. McLouglin's goal qualified the Republic of Ireland team for the upcoming World Cup in the United States. He was the first Portsmouth player to be included in any World Cup squad since the 1958 tournament – nine years before McLoughlin himself was born. He was capped 42 times for the Republic of Ireland.
After the end of his playing career, McLoughlin returned to Portsmouth, where he became a co-commentator on defunct Portsmouth-based radio station The Quay. In February 2011, he joined BBC Radio Solent as matchday co-commentator for Portsmouth matches. He stopped this when offered a role in Portsmouth coaching set up in 2011.
In July 2011, he joined Portsmouth as Senior Academy Coach, working alongside other club favourites Andy Awford and Paul Hardyman. On 8 July 2013, McLoughlin was appointed Portsmouth's first-team coach. Alongside manager Guy Whittingham, he assisted the side in their first season in League Two after relegation. Whittingham was sacked in November 2013 and replaced by Richie Barker, who lasted just three months. Andy Awford then took charge for the rest of the season as along with Hardyman and McLoughlin, Portsmouth were unbeaten in their final seven matches, keeping in the league and finishing 13th. Awford was appointed permanent manager and McLoughlin kept his role as first-team manager alongside new assistant Paul Hardyman in May 2014. He was released from his position as first-team coach at Portsmouth on 4 December 2014.
Born in Manchester in 1967 to Irish parents, McLoughlin grew up near Manchester City's former ground Maine Road. He attended Catholic school Saint Mark's, in the same class as former Oasis guitarist and singer Noel Gallagher. He currently lives in Swindon with his wife and two daughters.
- Swindon Town
- "Results for Season 1999/2000". wafc.co.uk. 2 January 2010. Retrieved 2 January 2010.
- "Oldham 2-3 Wigan". BBC. 9 January 2001. Retrieved 2 January 2010.
- "Rochdale 2-1 Bristol Rovs". BBC. 20 April 2002. Retrieved 2 January 2010.
- "More goals for McLoughlin". The Observer. 17 November 2002.
- Portsmouth: Alan McLoughlin named as first-team coach; BBC Sport, 8 July 2013
- "Alan McLoughlin: Portsmouth coach leaves Fratton Park". BBC Sport. 7 December 2014. Retrieved 7 December 2014.