Ian Woan

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Ian Woan
Personal information
Full name Ian Simon Woan[1]
Date of birth (1967-12-14) 14 December 1967 (age 50)
Place of birth Heswall, England
Height 1.83 m (6 ft 0 in)
Playing position Left winger
Club information
Current team
Burnley (assistant manager)
Youth career
1980–1983 Manchester United
1983–1985 Manchester City
Senior career*
Years Team Apps (Gls)
1985 Heswall ? (?)
1985–19?? Caernarfon Town ? (?)
19??–1989 Newtown ? (38)
1989–1990 Runcorn ? (12)
1990–2000 Nottingham Forest 218 (41)
2000 Barnsley 3 (0)
2000–2001 Swindon Town 22 (3)
2001 Columbus Crew 3 (0)
2001 Miami Fusion 1 (0)
2002–2003 Shrewsbury Town 50 (7)
2003–2004 Syracuse Salty Dogs 41 (3)
Teams managed
2009 Portsmouth (caretaker manager)
2011–2012 Watford (assistant manager)
2012– Burnley (assistant manager)
* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only.

Ian Simon Woan (born 14 December 1967) is an English former footballer and current assistant manager at Burnley. He played as a midfielder from 1985 until 2004, starting in non-league football. Signed by Nottingham Forest in 1990, he played for the club for 10 years, including a spell in the Premier League. After leaving the club he played for a number of sides, both in England and in the United States, before retiring in 2005. He is the son of Alan Woan who also played professionally, most notably for Northampton Town, Crystal Palace and Aldershot.[2]

Playing career[edit]

Early career[edit]

Born in Heswall, Cheshire, Woan started his career in 1985 at Manchester City but never made a start for the then First Division club. He spent five years playing in the lower leagues, including spells at Heswall and Welsh sides Caernarfon Town and Newtown. Playing for Runcorn, his big break came, aged 22, when on 14 March 1990 he joined first division side Nottingham Forest for a fee of £80,000.

Nottingham Forest[edit]

Woan did not make an appearance for the Midlanders in the latter half of the 1989–90 season, his debut coming almost ten months after joining the club. He made his first appearance on 2 January 1991 as a substitute in a 6–2 victory over Norwich City and went on to make 12 appearances that season, scoring 3 league goals. He started the 1991 FA Cup Final against Tottenham Hotspur, and was taken off after 63 minutes for Steve Hodge. Forest went on to lose the match in extra time.

On 20 April 1992 Woan scored the winner in a 2-1 victory over Manchester United at Old Trafford, as United's title challenge imploded in the run-in of the last season of the old First Division.

Praised for his attacking flair, crossing and shooting ability, but questioned over his lack of pace, Woan established himself as one of the most prominent figures in the Forest team. Forest finished in 3rd place in the 1994–95 season, booking a UEFA Cup place for the following year.

In the fifth round of the 1995–96 FA Cup, Woan scored two long-range free-kicks, the second from an acute angle, to secure a 2–2 draw with Tottenham. Woan later said "I knew I wouldn't stand a chance [of taking the free kicks] had Stuart [Pearce] not been injured. I've tried that [the second free-kick] a hundred times and it always ends up in the Trent!" Forest went on to win the replay at White Hart Lane 3–1 on penalties after a 1–1 draw, with Woan converting his spot kick. Forest made it to the quarter-finals of both the FA Cup and UEFA Cup in 1995–96 but finished a disappointing 9th in the league and failed to qualify for Europe. In the penultimate game of the season Forest faced Newcastle United, who were still hoping to secure their first Premier League title. In an echo of his late intervention in 1992, Woan scored a long distance effort and the game finished 1–1. The title subsequently went to Manchester United.

Along with Frank Clark's departure in December 1996, Woan's Forest career began to suffer although the winger was the only player to play for the Reds in each year of the 90s decade. During his ten-year spell at the club, Woan made 189 league appearances – as well as 32 substitute appearance – delivering 31 goals during his time.

Later playing career[edit]

Upon leaving Forest in 2000, and after a short trial with Bolton Wanderers, Woan signed for Swindon Town and in the 2000/01 season, producing 3 goals from 25 appearances.

A year later Woan found himself joining American outfit Columbus Crew. Married to an American wife, the then 33-year-old winger endured a difficult season in Major League Soccer with the team winning just two of their eight opening matches. This led to the replacing of Tom Fitzgerland, the man who had secured Woan's signature in America.

At the end of the season, Woan was traded to the Miami Fusion and finished out his MLS career with them.[3]

In 2002 Woan returned to England and signed for struggling Shrewsbury Town who languished at the bottom of the Third Division. Woan enjoyed linking up with ex-Forest striker Nigel Jemson and the pair notably inspired the Shrews to one of their greatest ever results. The Shropshire outfit defeated Everton – who featured a young Wayne Rooney – in January 2003 in the third round of the FA Cup with Jemson scoring twice. It was Woan's last minute cross that ensured the Premier League side's fate but the Shrews were to be knocked out 4–0 by Chelsea the next round in a televised match. Shrewsbury were relegated that season and Woan returned to America.

Woan then joined the Syracuse Salty Dogs of the A-League (the U.S. second tier) and competed in another season in the States before deciding to return to England.

Coaching career[edit]

Woan headed back to Swindon Town, taking charge of the under 18 side at the County Ground until deciding to move to Rushden & Diamonds as first team coach for Paul Hart in July 2006. Following the sacking of Hart later on in 2006, Woan then returned to Nottingham Forest, charged with coaching some of the youngsters coming through the Forest Academy. In March 2007 he was signed for Hucknall Town by one-time teammate Andy Legg, but didn't play in any games.

On 7 July 2007, it was announced that Woan had joined Premier League outfit Portsmouth as coach of their Under-18s. In November 2009, he was appointed joint caretaker manager at Portsmouth along with Paul Groves, following the dismissal of Hart. His appointment only lasted several days, and he moved aside for the arrival of Avram Grant as the full-time manager.

In the summer of 2010, following the departure of Grant to West Ham United and the appointment of Steve Cotterill as the new Portsmouth manager, Woan was appointed first team coach. In June 2011, he joined Watford as assistant manager.

In the summer of 2012, Woan and Tony Loughlan departed Watford after Gianfranco Zola's appointment as manager.

On 30 October 2012, Woan linked up with former management partner Sean Dyche at Burnley The pair signed a three-year deal.


  1. ^ Hugman, Barry J., ed. (2003). The PFA Footballers' Who's Who 2003/2004. Queen Anne Press. p. 459. ISBN 9781852916510. 
  2. ^ "Rare football programmes reveal amazing story of how Lowestoft captain turned professional". pinkun.com. 5 November 2014. Archived from the original on 23 February 2015. Retrieved 22 February 2014. 
  3. ^ Brousseau, Dave (9 September 2001). "WOAN'S DEBUT SHOULD HAVE HUDSON SMILING". South Florida Sun-Sentinel.