Alan Neilson

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search

Alan Neilson
Neilson, Alan.jpg
Personal information
Full name Alan Neilson
Date of birth (1972-09-26) 26 September 1972 (age 46)
Place of birth Wegberg, West Germany
Height 5 ft 11 in (1.80 m)
Playing position Defender
Youth career
1989–1991 Newcastle United
Senior career*
Years Team Apps (Gls)
1991–1995 Newcastle United 42 (1)
1995–1997 Southampton 55 (0)
1997–2001 Fulham 29 (2)
2001–2002 Grimsby Town 10 (0)
2002–2005 Luton Town 57 (1)
2006–2007 Tamworth 20 (1)
2007 Salisbury City 5 (0)
Total 218 (5)
National team
1992–1996 Wales[1] 5 (0)
Teams managed
2009 Luton Town (caretaker)
2012 Luton Town (caretaker)
2013 Luton Town (caretaker)
* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only

Alan Neilson (born 26 September 1972) is a Welsh former professional footballer who currently works as a Professional Development Coach for Norwich City.

He played his entire career in England as a defender from 1991 until 2007, notably in the Premier League for Newcastle United and Southampton. He also played for Fulham, Grimsby Town, Luton Town, Tamworth and Salisbury City. He later re-joined Luton Town in 2008 as a youth coach, before becoming assistant manager and having three spells as the club's caretaker manager. He left the club in July 2013 and joined Cambridge United as assistant coach later that year. On 11 May 2015, he left the club as assistant manager, in the place of Joe Dunne.

Playing career[edit]

Newcastle United[edit]

Neilson was born in Wegberg, West Germany, where his father was serving in the Royal Air Force. He qualified to play for Wales through ancestry. He started his professional football career with Newcastle United in 1989 as a trainee, making his first-team debut on 9 March 1991. Described as a "tidy" central-defender, he did the defensive tasks in a plain and simple manner, avoiding the spectacular, but suffered because of his slight frame and was never dominant in the box. He scored his only goal for Newcastle in a 2–1 defeat by Millwall at The Old Den on 21 September 1991.[2]

Whilst with Newcastle he made four appearances for Wales, with his international debut coming as a late substitute for Dean Saunders against Republic of Ireland on 19 February 1992, with three further matches coming in 1994.[3]


After a total of 50 appearances for Newcastle he was transferred to Southampton for £500,000 in June 1995. His signing was Alan Ball's last act as manager before moving to Manchester City.[4]

Neilson was a competent defender who could play at full-back or in the centre, but his career at The Dell was disrupted by frequent managerial changes. He made his debut on 26 August 1995 as a substitute at Everton, following which he replaced Jason Dodd at right-back for four matches before Dodd was recalled. Although Neilson made a few starts, his next run in the starting eleven came in March, when he took the place of Richard Hall at centre-half.[5] In the 1996–97 season, with Graeme Souness as manager, Neilson made a total of 29 appearances as "The Saints" struggled near the foot of the table, missing relegation by one point, having been in last place with five matches to play.[6]

Despite Saints' poor form, Neilson earned one further international cap while he was with the club, in a 7–1 defeat by Netherlands on 9 November 1996.[3]

Souness left the club in the summer of 1997, being replaced by Dave Jones who brought in several new players, including left-back Lee Todd from his previous club, Stockport County. With Todd and Dodd as the two full-backs, Neilson's few appearances came in midfield, before moving to Fulham for £225,000 in November 1997, where he joined up with his former manager at Newcastle, Kevin Keegan.[4]

Later career[edit]

Neilson suffered from injury problems throughout his career at Fulham, making just 29 league appearances in nearly five seasons. He made three league appearances during Fulham's 2000–01 season at the end of which they were promoted to the Premier League.[7] One of these was a key game at closest rivals Blackburn Rovers in April 2001. Fulham were 1-0 down and were then reduced to ten men after the sending off of Rufus Brevett. Neilson was brought on for Barry Hayles to shore up the defence and they recovered to win 2-1.[8] In October 2001, Neilson moved to Grimsby Town on a free transfer, but played just 12 games before being released in February 2002.[9]

Later that month following his release from Grimsby, Neilson joined Luton Town, where he went on to make 57 appearances, scoring once against Stockport County.[10][11]

Neilson joined Conference Premier club Tamworth in 2006, linking up with former Southampton teammate Richard Dryden.[12]

Coaching career[edit]

Neilson left Tamworth in early 2007 to continue his coaching career at both Luton Town and at Barnfield College. He was undecided as to whether to retire from playing or not, but on 23 February 2007, he signed for Salisbury City on a short-term contract.[13][14]

In June 2008, Neilson joined his former club Luton Town as Youth Development Coach and was later given the position of first-team coach alongside Kevin Watson.[15][16] On 1 October 2009, manager Mick Harford parted company with the Hatters, leaving Neilson in charge ahead of the game against his former team Tamworth just two days later.[17] Neilson subsequently led the team on a five-game unbeaten run as caretaker, until Richard Money was installed as permanent manager on 30 October. Neilson was named as Money's assistant manager.[18] Following the end of the 2009–10 season, Neilson's role was changed to First Team Development Manager, with Gary Brabin taking over the position of assistant manager.[19] Brabin took over from Money towards the end of the 2010–11 season and retained Neilson as a coach. Brabin was dismissed by the club in March 2012, with Neilson taking over for the next game, a 3–1 defeat to Braintree Town.[20][21] Paul Buckle took over as Luton's manager shortly after this loss and again kept Neilson at the club as a coach. Buckle left the club 10 months later, with Neilson placed in temporary charge of the team. A draw and two defeats led Neilson to apologise to Luton supporters for the team's poor performances.[22][23] John Still left his long-standing managerial position at League Two club Dagenham & Redbridge to become the new Luton manager on 26 February, and Neilson once more moved back into his coaching role under the club's fifth different manager.[24] Neilson was released from his contract and left the club in July 2013 after five years in various coaching roles.[25]

In October 2013, he applied jointly alongside John Psaras for the vacant managerial role at Forest Green Rovers.[26] The application was unsuccessful, but Neilson later joined Cambridge United in December 2013 as assistant coach to former Luton manager Richard Money.[27]

Neilson left the U's on 11 May 2015. He joined the coaching team of the Norwich City Academy in August 2015.

Managerial stats[edit]

Competitive matches only. Correct as of 1 March 2013.
Team Nat From To Record
P W D L GF GA Win %
Luton Town (caretaker) England 1 October 2009 30 October 2009 5 4 1 0 9 3 080.00
Luton Town (caretaker) England 31 March 2012 8 April 2012 1 0 0 1 1 3 000.00
Luton Town (caretaker) England 19 February 2013 26 February 2013 3 0 1 2 3 6 000.00
Total 9 4 2 3 13 12 044.44


  1. ^ Samuel, Bill (2009). The Complete Wales FC 1876–2008. Soccer Books. p. 109. ISBN 1-86223-176-1.
  2. ^ "Player Profile: Alan Neilson". Toon 1892 – All Players. Retrieved 13 April 2010.
  3. ^ a b "Wales International Results 1990s". RSSSF. 20 May 2004. Retrieved 13 April 2010.
  4. ^ a b Holley, Duncan; Chalk, Gary (2003). In That Number – A post-war chronicle of Southampton FC. Hagiology Publishing. p. 556. ISBN 0-9534474-3-X.
  5. ^ In That Number – A post-war chronicle of Southampton FC. p. 245.
  6. ^ In That Number – A post-war chronicle of Southampton FC. p. 250.
  7. ^ "Games played by Alan Neilson in 2000/2001". Soccerbase. Centurycomm. Retrieved 2015-10-11.
  8. ^ "Davis on song for 10-man Fulham". Telegraph. 11 April 2001. Retrieved 17 May 2017.
  9. ^ "Grimsby release Neilson". BBC Sport. 19 February 2002. Retrieved 7 July 2009.
  10. ^ "Luton close in on Neilson". BBC Sport. 21 February 2002. Retrieved 7 July 2009.
  11. ^ "Stockport 1 – 2 Luton". 16 August 2003. Retrieved 6 April 2012.[permanent dead link]
  12. ^ "Cooper captures Neilson signature". BBC Sport. 25 May 2006. Retrieved 7 July 2009.
  13. ^ "Neilson could end playing career". BBC Sport. 14 February 2007. Retrieved 7 July 2009.
  14. ^ "Salisbury sign new central defender". BBC Wiltshire. 23 February 2007. Retrieved 7 July 2009.
  15. ^ "Luton appoint new youth coaches". BBC Sport. 25 June 2008. Retrieved 7 July 2009.
  16. ^ "Coaching staff appointments". Luton Town F.C. 14 January 2009. Archived from the original on 1 March 2012. Retrieved 16 January 2009.
  17. ^ "Harford parts company with Luton". BBC Sport. 1 October 2009. Archived from the original on 2 October 2009. Retrieved 1 October 2009.
  18. ^ "Interest grows on Money". Luton Town F.C. 30 October 2009. Archived from the original on 2 November 2009. Retrieved 30 October 2009.
  19. ^ "Backroom staff changes revealed". Luton Town F.C. 11 May 2010. Archived from the original on 14 May 2010. Retrieved 11 May 2010.
  20. ^ "Luton Town dismiss manager Gary Brabin". BBC Sport. 2012-03-31. Retrieved 2012-05-02.
  21. ^ "Braintree 3-1 Luton". BBC Sport. 2012-04-06. Retrieved 2012-05-02.
  22. ^ "Deja vu for Neilson as he takes temporary charge of the Hatters for a third time". Luton Today. Johnston Publishing Ltd. 2013-02-19. Retrieved 2013-03-01.
  23. ^ "Neilson apologises to fans after Braintree debacle". Luton Today. Johnston Publishing Ltd. 2013-02-26. Retrieved 2013-03-01.
  24. ^ "John Still: Luton Town appoint Dagenham & Redbridge boss". BBC Sport. 2013-02-26. Retrieved 2013-03-01.
  25. ^ "Neilson and Kharine leave Town". Luton Today. Johnston Publishing Ltd. 2013-07-04. Retrieved 2013-07-05.
  26. ^ "Alan Neilson and John Psaras eye dual-boss role". BBC Sport. 29 October 2013.
  27. ^ "Cambridge United: Alan Neilson arrives as assistant coach". BBC Sport. 17 December 2013.

External links[edit]