|Full name||Gary John Poole|
|Date of birth||11 September 1967|
|Place of birth||London, England|
|Height||6 ft 0 in (1.83 m)|
|Playing position||Right back|
|* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only.
Gary John Poole (born 11 September 1967) is an English former professional footballer who played as a right-back. He made more than 250 appearances in the Football League, and a further 76 in the Conference.
Poole was born in Stratford, London. He came through the juniors at Tottenham Hotspur and was given a professional contract, but made no appearances for the first team and was released after two years. He signed for Fourth Division club Cambridge United, and after 18 months was sold for £3,000 to Conference side Barnet, managed by Barry Fry. In his first full season Barnet were promoted as champions to Division Four, and reached the play-offs in 1991–92.
He was then allowed to leave on a free transfer to Plymouth Argyle in the newly designated Second Division (third tier), where he captained the side. While at Plymouth he was involved in an incident which ended Rotherham United winger John Buckley's Football League career. Buckley was knocked unconscious in a clash of heads with Poole, requiring emergency surgery to remove a blood clot from the brain, and remained in a coma on life support for four days.
Poole spent just one season at Plymouth before Fry brought him to Southend United of Division One for a club record fee of £350,000. Another year later he joined up with Fry again, this time at Birmingham City, newly relegated to the third tier of English football, for a fee of £50,000. Success followed in 1994–95 with the Second Division championship and victory in the Football League Trophy at Wembley. The next season Poole took over the captaincy after Liam Daish was sold to Coventry City, captaining the side in the League Cup semi-final against Leeds United.
In the match against Manchester City at Maine Road in September 1996, referee Richard Poulain awarded a penalty late on; Poole, who had conceded the free kick which led to the penalty, lost control and pushed the referee from behind such that he needed treatment for whiplash after the game. The Football Association imposed an instant suspension on the player; after a hearing, the length of the ban was set at four matches. A month later manager Trevor Francis sold him to fellow First Division club Charlton Athletic for a fee of £250,000.
He played 16 games for Charlton that season, but a knee injury sustained in a reserve team match put an end to his first-team career. Still contracted to the club when they gained promotion to the Premier League the following season, he attempted a comeback in the reserves after more than a year out, but never appeared in the top flight and retired in August 1999.
A qualified coach, he became a director of a company providing investment opportunities for sportspeople.
- with Barnet
- Conference champions: 1991
- with Birmingham City
- Harman, John, ed. (2005). Alliance to Conference 1979–2004: The first 25 years. Tony Williams Publications. pp. 67, 74. ISBN 978-1-869833-52-7.
- "Players of the 90s". ptfc.net. Archived from the original on 12 October 2007.
- "Footballer hurt – John Buckley". The Sunday Times. 14 March 1993. Retrieved 19 October 2010 – via NewsBank.
- "Footballer recovers – John Buckley". The Times. 18 March 1993. p. 2. Retrieved 19 October 2010 – via NewsBank.
- "Gary Poole". Southend United Player Database. 28 June 2005. Retrieved 21 August 2015.
- Hodgson, Guy (23 September 1996). "City distract discontented". The Independent. Retrieved 19 October 2010.
- Martin, Andrew (8 October 1996). "FA bans Poole for two more matches". The Independent. Retrieved 19 October 2010.
- "Poole dives back into Addicks action". 4thegame.com. 19 August 1998. Archived from the original on 22 September 2002.
- "Gary Poole". The Sun. 21 August 1999. p. 69. Retrieved 19 October 2010 – via NewsBank.
- "Meet the team". Sportspro Ltd company website. Archived from the original on 14 March 2008. Retrieved 13 September 2007.