Ashley Westwood (footballer, born 1976)
Westwood pictured in 2009
|Full name||Ashley Michael Westwood|
|Date of birth||31 August 1976|
|Place of birth||Bridgnorth, Shropshire, England|
|Height||6 ft 0 in (1.83 m)|
|2000||→ Sheffield Wednesday (loan)||5||(1)|
|2007||→ Swindon Town (loan)||9||(0)|
|2007||→ Port Vale (loan)||12||(0)|
|2012||Kettering Town (player-manager)|
* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only|
Ashley Michael Westwood (born 31 August 1976) is an English former footballer and football manager.
A graduate of the Manchester United Academy, the defender signed with Crewe Alexandra in 1995. Three years later he moved on to Bradford City. Winning promotion to the Premier League with the "Bantams", he transferred to Sheffield Wednesday in 2000. He moved on to Northampton Town in 2003, where he stayed for three years. Signing with Chester City in 2006, he was loaned out to Swindon Town and Port Vale in 2007, before joining Wrexham via Stevenage Borough the following year.
He spent the 2010–11 season with Kettering Town, before returning to Crewe Alexandra for a brief spell in 2011. Later in the year he re-joined another former club, Northampton Town. In December 2011 he was released from the "Cobblers" after his contract was not renewed. He was appointed player-caretaker manager at Kettering Town the following month, before returning just to playing duties with Lincoln City in May 2012. Two months later he became player-coach at Portsmouth, before becoming a full-time coach at Blackpool in November 2012. In his 18-year playing career he scored 34 goals in 468 competitive appearances in the Football League and Conference. He was promoted four times with four different clubs.
He began his full-time management career with Indian club Bengaluru FC in 2013, and led them to two I-League titles (2013–14 and 2015–16) in three seasons, as well as the Indian Federation Cup in 2015. He was appointed head coach at Malaysia Super League club Penang FA in November 2016, but lasted just five months in the role. He was appointed as director of football at ATK in July 2017, and took over as head coach on an interim basis in January 2018.
- 1 Playing career
- 2 Coaching career
- 3 Personal life
- 4 Statistics
- 5 Honours
- 6 References
Born in Bridgnorth, Westwood started his career as a trainee at Manchester United, and was part of the FA Youth Cup winning side of 1995. He never made a first team appearance for the "Red Devils", but Dario Gradi spotted the youngster's potential, and secured Westwood's services for Crewe Alexandra for a £40,000 fee.
Westwood slotted in well to the Second Division side. He played fifty games in the 1996–97 season, including the 1–0 win play-off final over Brentford that took the "Railwaymen" into the First Division. However, he was to only play 22 games in the 1997–98 season. His swansong for the Cheshire club came on 13 April 1998, he scored the opener of a 2–0 win over near rivals Stoke City at Gresty Road.
In summer 1998, he signed with Bradford City, a tribunal later awarded Crewe a £150,000 payment from Bradford. His first season with the club saw the "Bantams" promoted to the Premier League as First Division runners-up. Westwood played only nineteen games in their league campaign though. His last game of the season was eventful, as he was sent off in stoppage time after scoring on 62 minutes at Loftus Road against Queens Park Rangers.
He played just five Premier League games in 1999–2000, though Bradford picked up 13 out of 15 points in those games, a sizeable chunk of their final tally of 36 points. The final of these games was a 3–0 win over Wimbledon at Valley Parade on 30 April 2000. This was a vital result because had the "Dons" won then they would have survived relegation at Bradford's expense. Westwood replaced Robbie Blake as a 67th minute substitute. He went into Europe in July 2000, making two appearances in the UEFA Intertoto Cup, victories over FK Atlantas and RKC Waalwijk. However new manager Chris Hutchings told him to improve or leave.
Westwood joined Sheffield Wednesday on a one-month loan in August; Paul Jewell had switched to the "Owls" and took Westwood with him permanently for £150,000 in September, £100,000 less than Bradford had originally wanted. He played 38 games that season, scoring five goals and picking up ten yellow cards. The next season Wednesday were fighting for First Division survival and Jewell had already left for Wigan Athletic. Westwood played 33 games, helping the club to the League Cup semi-finals. He began to suffer from a groin injury in October 2002, and played just 25 games in Wednesday's 2002–03 relegation season.
In July 2003, he signed with Northampton Town. His time at Northampton was one ravaged by injury. He played just nine Third Division games in 2003–04, being out from September to January with a shoulder injury. He was sent off in the play-off semi-final first leg defeat to Mansfield Town. In July 2004, Westwood was appointed club captain. The 2004–05 season was the first season of League Two, and Westwood could only muster nineteen league appearances following his return to action in October. He signed a new contract at the end of the year, despite still suffering from damaged knee ligaments, an injury he picked up in April. Once again Northampton reached the play-offs, only to exit at the semi-final stage, this time to Southend United. The "Cobblers" finally achieved promotion in 2005–06 as runners-up, Westwood played just three games all season, all as a substitute. He left Sixfields at the end of the campaign after not being offered a new contract, and instead signed for Mark Wright's Chester City.
He continued to struggle with his hamstring. Though he played 25 games, he had played his last in Chester colours after going off injured against Wycombe Wanderers on 13 January 2007. In March, he joined Swindon Town on loan from the remainder of the season to provide much needed cover for the Wiltshire outfit. The season ended with Westwood helping Swindon win promotion from League Two with a third-place finish. Westwood was placed on the transfer-list at Chester by mutual consent in August 2007. He left the club on 30 August, to join League One side Port Vale on a temporary short-term deal. He made his Vale debut two days later in a 1–0 win at Bournemouth. He returned to Chester in December 2007, before joining Stevenage Borough on a free transfer at the start of the 2008 January transfer window.
He was released by Stevenage in July 2008, after making twenty appearances, scoring twice for the Conference side. After a trial with Lincoln City he joined Conference side Wrexham, becoming one of the first signings of new manager Dean Saunders, with whom Westwood played at Bradford City. He scored his first goal for the "Dragons" with a header in an FA Trophy game with Mansfield Town, to put them through to the second round. In July 2009 he signed a contract extension, keeping him at the Welsh club for the 2009–10 season. At the end of the season, Westwood moved to Kettering Town in order to be closer to his family.
Whilst at Kettering he was sent off twice in two games, against Cambridge United and then Southport. Westwood left Kettering by mutual consent in January 2011, and was granted permission to train at his former club Crewe Alexandra. The managing staff were impressed with his fitness levels and rewarded him with a short-term contract, keeping him at the club until the end of the season. He became the second Ashley Westwood in the squad, joining Ashley R. Westwood, thirteen years his junior. He made six appearances, but was not retained beyond the end of the campaign.
In August 2011 he agreed to spend a month on trial at former club Northampton Town, and quickly joined the club on non-contract terms. He scored the only goal for Northampton to secure three points at Aldershot Town on 13 August, his first start in his second spell at the club. Having made five appearances, he was given a contract lasting until the end of the year. He was released by new manager Aidy Boothroyd in December, having played 20 games for the struggling Northamptonshire club.
Conference National side Kettering Town underwent a financial crisis in 2011–12, and caretaker manager Mark Cooper walked out on the club on 18 January after his players went unpaid. Three days later, Westwood was announced as the club's temporary manager; he was also registered with the club as a player. Later that day, his new team lost 4–1 to Wrexham at the Racecourse Ground, having only been able to name two substitutes. The "Poppies" then won their next two games at Nene Park to move out of the relegation zone. After being told his job was secure until the end of the season, he picked himself to play for the first time in the 1–0 defeat at Hayes & Yeading on 10 March; also in March he signed Ben Joyce and Max York. Kettering failed to turn things around, and were relegated in last place having conceded 100 goals in 46 league games. In May 2012, he signed a one-year playing contract with Lincoln City, also in the Conference. Lincoln manager David Holdsworth reluctantly allowed Westwood to leave the club on 6 July 2012, having failing to kick a ball for the Imps.
On 6 July 2012, just over a month after signing for Lincoln, he accepted an offer by Michael Appleton to join the coaching staff at League One side Portsmouth. The club's financial situation meant that he was obliged to return to playing duties in the 2012–13 campaign. However his only appearance was in a 3–0 League Cup defeat to Plymouth Argyle at Home Park on the opening day of the season; he was 12 years older than the team's second oldest player Simon Eastwood.
On 7 November 2012, Westwood followed manager Michael Appleton to Championship side Blackpool to work as first team coach. On 11 January 2013, Westwood followed Appleton to become a coach at fellow Championship club Blackburn Rovers. He was sacked on 19 March 2013, at the end of Appleton's 67-day reign.
On 2 July 2013 it was announced that Westwood had signed on as the very first head coach of newly founded team Bengaluru FC in the Indian I-League. He made his debut as head coach on 25 August in a pre-season friendly 1–1 draw with the India national football team. Westwood then made his competitive coaching debut with Bengaluru on 22 September in his side's opening league game against Mohun Bagan A.C. at the Bangalore Football Stadium. His side drew the match 1–1 with Sean Rooney scoring the first ever official goal in Westwood's reign. Westwood then coached Bengaluru to their first ever victory in their next match against Rangdajied United at the Bangalore Football Stadium in which goals from Sean Rooney, John Johnson, and Sunil Chhetri saw Bengaluru won the match 3–0. On 21 April 2014, Westwood led Bengaluru FC to the 2013–14 I-League title in their very first season by beating Dempo 4–2 at the Fatorda Stadium. In doing so Westwood became the youngest coach to win the I-League. However, on 24 April 2014, it was announced that Westwood would be suspended for four games after his unsporting behaviour during the match away to Mohun Bagan on 6 April.
"We won the league with players who were discarded by other clubs and this has made people envious and wondering how we managed it. People say we pay the most and that we have the biggest budget but that is a myth. I see people on television saying that it is easy for us to win with the budget we have but that's not fair. We negotiate hard and we sell the club to potential players as a way for improvement. People don't join for the money, you need competitive players who want to come because they want to better themselves. We are not Manchester City."— Westwood speaking in an interview in May 2015.
They came close to defending their title in the 2014–15 campaign, but were denied the title after conceding an 87th minute equalising goal to Mohun Bagan on the final day of the season; the game finished as a 1–1 draw and preserved Mohun Bagan's two point lead in the table. Bengaluru did though win the Indian Federation Cup, knocking out Salgaocar, Mohun Bagan, Shillong Lajong, Pune, and Sporting Clube de Goa, before beating Dempo 2–1 in the final at the Fatorda Stadium. They also progressed to the knock-out stages of the AFC Cup, exiting the competition at the Round of 16 with a 2–0 loss at South China.
Westwood led Bengaluru back to the I-League title in 2015–16 with one game to spare. Despite the success Westwood was offered a new contract with reduced wages, and admitted that some in the club's hierarchy were "not on the same wavelength" as him. On 31 May 2016, Westwood parted ways with Bengaluru by mutual consent.
On 28 November 2016, it was announced that Westwood would take over as the head coach of Penang FA of the Malaysia Super League. However his contract was cancelled by mutual consent on 19 March following a poor start to the 2017 season.
On 7 July 2017, Westwood was appointed director of football at Indian Super League side ATK. On 24 January 2018, head coach Teddy Sheringham was sacked, and Westwood was appointed as head coach on an interim basis. He took charge of seven games of the 2017–18 season, registering only one point, before Robbie Keane was appointed as the club's manager on 3 March.
Westwood was married to Huma Westwood, a former probation officer. In October 2010, Westwood was prosecuted for assaulting a police officer (Westwood elbowed a police officer in the face, though the officer accepted that this was not intentional) and found guilty of jumping a red light in Northampton on 25 April 2010. He was given 80 hours of unpaid work, banned from driving for one year, had three points put on his driving licence, and was ordered to pay the prosecution costs of £700.
|Club||Season||Division||League||FA Cup||League Cup||Other||Total|
|Manchester United||1994–95||Premier League||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0|
|Crewe Alexandra||1995–96||Second Division||33||4||7||1||4||0||9[a][b]||0||53||5|
|Bradford City||1998–99||First Division||19||2||2||0||0||0||0||0||21||2|
|Sheffield Wednesday||2000–01||First Division||33||2||0||0||5||3||0||0||38||5|
|Northampton Town||2003–04||Third Division||10||0||1||0||0||0||0||0||11||0|
|Swindon Town (loan)||2006–07||League Two||9||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||9||0|
|Port Vale (loan)||2007–08||League One||12||0||1||0||0||0||1[a]||0||14||0|
|Chester City||2006–07||League Two||21||3||2||0||1||0||1[a]||0||25||3|
|Stevenage Borough||2007–08||Conference National||20||2||1||0||0||0||0||0||21||2|
|Kettering Town||2010–11||Conference National||12||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||12||0|
|Crewe Alexandra||2010–11||League Two||6||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||6||0|
|Northampton Town||2011–12||League Two||17||1||1||0||1||0||1[a]||0||20||1|
|Kettering Town||2011–12||Conference National||9||1||0||0||0||0||0||0||9||1|
|Lincoln City||2012–13||Conference National||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0|
- Crewe Alexandra
- Bengaluru FC
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