Coppinger in action for Doncaster in April 2007
|Full name||James Coppinger|
|Date of birth||18 January 1981|
|Place of birth||Guisborough, England|
|Height||1.70 m (5 ft 7 in)|
|Playing position||Attacking midfielder|
|1999–2000||→ Hartlepool United (loan)||10||(3)|
|2001||→ Queens Park Rangers (loan)||0||(0)|
|2001–2002||→ Hartlepool United (loan)||14||(2)|
|2012||→ Nottingham Forest (loan)||6||(0)|
|* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only and correct as of 18:26, 12 May 2017 (UTC).
Coppinger is in his 13th season at the club, and is the only player to reach 500 first-class appearances for Doncaster. He is a former England under-16 international.
Born in Guisborough near Middlesbrough, Coppinger started his career as a trainee for Darlington in 1998, though he was signed by fellow North-East side Newcastle United before he even made an appearance. He moved to Newcastle in a £500,000 joint deal with 17-year-old with Paul Robinson in March 1998 when Kenny Dalglish was manager. Coppinger struggled to make any impact while coming through the Newcastle ranks, playing just once as a substitute against Tottenham Hotspur in August 2000.
Coppinger admitted in 2015 that when Exeter were relegated, he was very close to quitting football. He said: “I had a lot of negative things going on in my life. I had a fear of failing – and also a fear of success. The way I was going and the way I was thinking, before I met Terry [Gormley, a motivational speaker], it was only a matter of time before I came out of football.”
Coppinger was bought by Doncaster manager Dave Penney for a reported £30,000 in May 2004 as he looked to strengthen the squad following promotion to League One. He was a constant feature in the side from the start, though in that first season, he failed to score in his 38 appearances. He scored an average of 5 goals in future seasons, his first goal eventually coming on 26 November 2005 in a 2–0 victory over Bristol City at Belle Vue.
He scored a hat-trick, described as "three goals of the highest quality" by the TV commentary, in the 2008 play-off semi-final against Southend United in a 5–1 victory which secured a place in the League One play-off final at Wembley against Leeds United. He was in Doncaster's starting eleven for the final, which Doncaster won, gaining promotion to the Championship.
On 14 September 2010, Coppinger scored a hat-trick against Norwich in a 3–1 victory.
On 21 July 2011, he signed a new contract at Doncaster which would keep him at the Keepmoat until 2014. Doncaster were relegated at the end of the 2011–12 season and needed to offload players to reduce the wage bill. As a result, he became a subject of interest from several Championship clubs including Barnsley, who he rejected a move to. He apparently had other bids for him, but this is unconfirmed. After a few games, on 31 August, he was loaned to Nottingham Forest until January 2013 where he joined ex-Rovers players Simon Gillett and Billy Sharp under his former manager, Sean O'Driscoll. Dissatisfaction with the lack of games at Forest led him to return to Rovers after the loan spell.
Coming on as substitute in the 2–1 win over Stevenage on 12 January 2013, Coppinger reached the milestone of 300 league appearances for Doncaster, one of only ten players to do so at the club. On 27 April 2013, in an incredible final match of the season at Griffin Park, Coppinger scored the winning goal in a 1–0 away victory over Brentford in the final seconds of 5 minutes of added time just moments after Brentford's Marcello Trotta had hit a penalty against the crossbar. If Brentford had won, they would have been promoted and Doncaster would have had to compete in the play-offs. As it was, his goal put Doncaster one point above Bournemouth and they were crowned champions.
Coppinger became only the fifth Rovers player to reach 350 league appearances when he turned out to play right wing-back against Nottingham Forest in a 0–0 draw at the City Ground on 15 March 2014. Doncaster were relegated back to League One on the final day of the 2013–14 season following a 1–0 defeat at Leicester City.
On 9 September 2016, Coppinger won the Football League Two Player of the Month for the month of August. The following day, he celebrated the remarkable milestone of reaching 500 Doncaster appearances by scoring in a 5–1 away victory over Morecambe.
Doncaster Rovers have worked with the NSPCC since the beginning of 2009. In June 2011, Coppinger, along with Mark Wilson, James O'Connor, other Rovers staff and local Doncaster businessmen David Plant and Brian Butcher walked the 62-mile Inca Trek raising almost £50,000 for the charity.
In January 2013, along with several other people, including fellow footballers, Coppinger faced a race-fixing inquiry with allegations of corruption in gambling on horses to lose on Betting exchanges in nine races between 1 November 2010 and 31 March 2011. He strongly denied the charges, though was found guilty of corrupt and fraudulent practices by the British Horseracing Authority and given a three-year ban from any dealings with registered racing individuals.
- As of match played 12 May 2017
|Club||Season||League||National Cup||League Cup||Continental||Other||Total|
|Newcastle United||1999–2000||Premier League||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||—||0||0|
|Hartlepool United (Loan)||1999–2000||Third Division||10||3||0||0||0||0||—||1[a]||0||11||3|
|Exeter City||2002–03||Third Division||43||5||3||0||1||0||—||2[b]||0||49||5|
|Doncaster Rovers||2004–05||League One||31||0||2||0||3||0||—||2[b]||0||38||0|
- Doncaster Rovers
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