Craig Liddle

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Craig Liddle
Craig Liddle 18 01 2012 Darlington FC D Day.jpg
Personal information
Full name Craig George Liddle
Date of birth (1971-10-21) 21 October 1971 (age 45)
Place of birth Chester-le-Street, England
Height 5 ft 11 in (1.80 m)[1]
Playing position Defender
Club information
Current team
Middlesbrough (youth coach)
Senior career*
Years Team Apps (Gls)
1990–1991 Aston Villa 0 (0)
1991–1994 Blyth Spartans
1994–1998 Middlesbrough 25 (0)
1998 Darlington (loan) 16 (0)
1998–2005 Darlington 271 (17)
2012 Darlington 0 (0)
Teams managed
2009 Darlington (joint caretaker)
2009 Darlington (caretaker)
2010 Darlington (joint caretaker)
2011 Darlington (caretaker)
* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only.

Craig George Liddle (born 21 October 1971)[2] is an English former footballer who made more than 300 appearances in the Football League playing for Middlesbrough and Darlington, where he spent most of his professional career.[2] His predominant position was as a central defender. He is currently Academy Manager at Middlesbrough.[3]

Playing career[edit]

Born in Chester-le-Street, County Durham,[2] Liddle was a centre half who played professional football for Aston Villa, Middlesbrough F.C. and Darlington F.C. (also called "The Quakers").

Liddle started his professional career at Aston Villa in 1990, where he had been a trainee, when he signed his first professional contract. However, the Chester-le-Street-born player was released after just one season for failing to impress. He joined local team Blyth Spartans, where he spent the next three seasons.

In 1994, he moved to Middlesbrough when Bryan Robson signed him at the start of the Boro revolution; he went on to make 25 first team appearances in his four years at the Riverside.

He joined Darlington on loan in February 1998. In 16 games he made a good impression, playing not only in defence, but also as a midfielder. On 1 July 1998, David Hodgson got him to join Darlington for a nominal fee.

During his time with Darlington F.C., Liddle showed his professional skills as a footballer and was a popular club captain. Rated by fans as one of the best defenders in the Third Division,[citation needed] he attracted interest from other clubs. He was voted Darlington's all-time cult hero by BBC Football Focus viewers with 70% of the vote.[citation needed]

His last seasons at the club were marked by injury, as his career took its toll. His 300th appearance for Darlington on 1 May 2004 was marked by a commemorative beer brewed by the Darwen Brewery – Liddle's Best, as well as specially printed T-shirts going on sale. On the announcement on his retirement in May 2005 Liddle was granted a testimonial against his former club Middlesbrough in July 2005. Due to a hoax bomb threat the game had to be abandoned at half time.

Coaching career[edit]

Liddle worked as a football coach at Darlington College from September 2005 until June 2007. In February 2008, after Mick Tait left Darlington and Neil Maddison took over his role as reserve team coach, Liddle was hired by the club, taking over the role left by Maddison as youth team coach.

On 8 May 2009, it was revealed that Darlington's administrators, Brackenbury Clark and Company, in order to cut costs, had released the majority of the first-team squad as well as the club's coaching and administrative staff (including caretaker manager Martin Gray) from their contracts with immediate effect. This left Liddle and Maddison as joint caretaker managers.[4]

With the appointment of Colin Todd as manager on 20 May, Liddle remained at the club as Darlington's head of youth.[5] Todd departed on 26 September and Liddle took over as caretaker manager the following day, assisted by Maddison, until a replacement for Todd had been found.[6] Liddle ruled himself out of taking the job full-time, saying he did not yet have the experience needed to run a club.[7]

On 5 October, it was announced that former Republic of Ireland manager Steve Staunton had been appointed as the new permanent manager. In addition to Staunton, the club brought in former Sunderland coach Kevin Richardson as his assistant. The pair did not start their roles until later that week, while Liddle finished his role as caretaker manager after the Football League Trophy tie against Leeds United on 6 October.[8] On 21 March 2010, he joined Maddison as caretaker yet again after the sacking of Staunton,[9] before Simon Davey was appointed manager on 1 April.[10] He started a fourth period as caretaker on 25 October 2011 after the sacking of Mark Cooper the previous day.[11] Darlington suffered financial difficulties during Liddle's time at the club and his contract was terminated on 16 January 2012, along with the rest of his playing squad.[12]

After a last minute offer of funding to the club's administrators, the team's players were reinstated; Liddle re-registered as a player, taking his old No. 4 shirt.[13] However, he did not make an appearance.

Liddle joined Sunderland to become the club's Professional Development Lead Coach, responsible for the under-18 side.[citation needed]


  1. ^ "Craig Liddle". ESPN Soccernet. Retrieved 19 September 2011. 
  2. ^ a b c Hugman, Barry, ed. (2005). The PFA Footballers' Who's Who 2005/2006. Queen Anne Press. p. 248. ISBN 978-1-85291-662-6. 
  3. ^ "Academy Who's Who". Middlesbrough F.C. 24 May 2014. Retrieved 12 November 2015. 
  4. ^ "Darlington put squad up for free". BBC Sport. 8 May 2009. Retrieved 8 May 2009. 
  5. ^ "Colin Todd appointed manager". Darlington F.C. 20 May 2009. Retrieved 15 November 2011. 
  6. ^ "Craig Liddle rules himself out". Darlington F.C. 4 October 2009. Retrieved 4 October 2009. 
  7. ^ "Staunton appointed new Quakers boss". Darlington F.C. 5 October 2009. Retrieved 5 October 2009. 
  8. ^ "Darlington part company with manager Steve Staunton". BBC Sport. 21 March 2010. Retrieved 15 November 2011. 
  9. ^ "Simon Davey named as new Darlington manager". BBC Sport. 1 April 2010. Retrieved 15 November 2011. 
  10. ^ "Darlington promotion hopes were at risk – Raj Singh". BBC Sport. 25 October 2011. Retrieved 15 November 2011. 
  11. ^ "Darlington axe manager Craig Liddle and players". BBC Sport. 16 January 2012. Retrieved 16 January 2012. 
  12. ^ "Liddle has 'minimal' chance of playing himself". Non-League Daily. 20 January 2012. Retrieved 21 November 2012. 

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