John Deehan

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John Deehan
Personal information
Full name John Matthew Deehan
Date of birth (1957-08-06) 6 August 1957 (age 59)
Place of birth Solihull, England
Playing position Striker
Senior career*
Years Team Apps (Gls)
1975–1979 Aston Villa 110 (40)
1979–1981 West Bromwich Albion 47 (5)
1981–1986 Norwich City 162 (62)
1986–1988 Ipswich Town 49 (11)
1988–1990 Manchester City 0 (0)
1990 Barnsley 11 (2)
Total 379 (120)
National team
1977–1979 England U21 7 (6)
Teams managed
1994–1995 Norwich City
1995–1998 Wigan Athletic
2002 Aston Villa (caretaker)

* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only.

John Matthew Deehan (born 6 August 1957) is an English former footballer who in recent years has had several spells in coaching and management. He is most well known for his spells as a striker for Aston Villa and Norwich City, Deehan went on to manage both teams as well as a successful spell at Wigan Athletic where he won the Division Three title.


As a player[edit]

Born in Solihull, as a player Deehan was a striker who is best known for productive spells with Aston Villa and Norwich City. With Villa he was a member of the team that won the 1977 Football League Cup Final against Everton and was a member of the Norwich sides which won the 1985 Football League Cup Final and the Second Division championship in 1986. On 24 January 2012 he was appointed as Director of Football at League Two club Plymouth Argyle. Argyle stood at 22nd in League Two at the time of his appointment.

He was a competent goalscorer from an early age, breaking the 10-goal barrier in the league for three successive seasons by the age of 22.[1] He was initially less successful after leaving Villa Park in September 1979 to sign for Villa's local rivals West Bromwich Albion, managing just five goals from 47 league games over the next two years, but recaptured his form after joining Norwich City in December 1981. He scored 20 league goals in his first full season at Carrow Road and managed 15 and 13 goals over the next two seasons, although he was unable to save the Canaries from relegation in 1984-85.

In 2002, Norwich fans voted Deehan into the Norwich City F.C. Hall of Fame in recognition of his contribution as a player.

In the summer of 1986, he left Norwich to join Ipswich Town in a player exchange deal that saw Trevor Putney move to Carrow Road. His final season at Norwich had seen him collected a Second Division title medal, but his form was less impressive than in previous seasons with just four goals from 26 league games.[2]

From 1988 until 1990 he was player-coach at Manchester City until being sacked, along with manager Mel Machin, before moving to Norwich City as Mike Walker's assistant in the summer of 1992.

Management and Coaching[edit]

He helped coach an unfancied Canaries side to a surprise third-place finish in the inaugural FA Premier League (season 1992-93), and was promoted to the manager's seat the following January when Walker moved to Everton. Norwich finished 12th in the Premiership in 1993-94 and started the following season reasonably well despite the (then) record English sale of Chris Sutton to Blackburn Rovers for £5 million. By Christmas 1994, the Canaries were seventh in the Premiership and looked a reasonably good bet for a UEFA Cup place. But Deehan's men suddenly went into a free-fall, won only one of their final 20 games and plummeted to 20th place and relegation. Shortly before relegation was confirmed, Deehan announced his resignation and caretaker Gary Megson unsuccessfully tried to keep the Canaries in the Premiership.

John Deehan's absence from football did not last long. He began the 1995-96 season as manager of Wigan Athletic in the Football League Third Division, and after two seasons at the helm he guided them to the Division Three title and promotion to Division Two. After safeguarding Wigan's survival in 1997-98, he accepted the assistant manager's job at Sheffield United and for one season worked under Steve Bruce. But Deehan's time at Bramall Lane was not successful and he resigned after the club failed to get anywhere near the Division One playoff places.

After leaving Sheffield United, John Deehan worked again with Steve Bruce at Huddersfield Town, in 1999/2000 season. After leaving Town, he made a football comeback with Aston Villa when he was appointed assistant manager to John Gregory in July 2001.[3] In January 2002, Deehan was named joint caretaker manager of Villa (with Stuart Gray) when Gregory resigned. He left the club when Graham Taylor was named Villa manager for the second time.

In October 2003, John Deehan became Director of Football at Northampton Town, with Colin Calderwood working under him as team manager. The duo were appointed to get the team promoted from the league's basement division, and achieved this aim in the 2005-06 season. Both Calderwood and Deehan left the club at the end of the 2005-06 season, with Deehan moving to Lincoln City as Director of Football. On 15 October 2007, it was confirmed that Deehan and Lincoln City manager John Schofield had left the club.[4] In November 2007 he was employed as a scout by Premier League side Bolton Wanderers who were looking for a number of ex-professionals to head their recruitment drive led by former Everton manager Colin Harvey.

In September 2008 Deehan expressed interest in the vacant manager's post at League Two side Grimsby Town, saying "I think Grimsby Town is a good club and a good opportunity for any manager. Whenever I've been to Blundell Park, I've been impressed with the set-up and the positive approach to football."[5] Despite his interest Deehan failed to land the Grimsby job, which was given to Mike Newell.

On 21 January 2009, he was appointed as Chief Scout of Norwich City Football Club in part of the new management team alongside three of his former players - Bryan Gunn as First Team Manager, Ian Crook as first team coach [6] and Ian Butterworth as Assistant Manager.

In December 2009, he became Lee Harper's assistant at Kettering Town but was controversially sacked later that month immediately following a 5-1 defeat to Leeds United in an FA Cup second-round replay where his choice of substitutions during extra time was blamed for the defeat.[7][8]

On 17 March 2010, he was announced as Head of Recruitment (Director of Football) at Grimsby Town in order to work with manager Neil Woods and his assistant Chris Casper. It was touted that Deeham would be a possible replacement for Woods if the club are relegated from the Football League. However, after the conclusion of the 09/10 season, which eventually brought relegation Deehan's contract was not renewed and he left the club 20 May 2010.[9]

On 25 January 2012 Deehan was appointed Director of Football at Plymouth Argyle. At the end of the 2012-2013 season he left the club. He teamed up with Stuart Gray again early in 2014, joining the coaching staff at Sheffield Wednesday.

Managerial statistics[edit]

Team Nation From To Matches Won Drawn Lost Win %
Norwich City  England 12 January 1994 31 July 1995 72 17 25 30 23.6
Wigan Athletic  England 2 August 1995 1 June 1998 157 69 34 54 43.9
Aston Villa (caretaker)  England 24 January 2002 5 February 2002 2 0 2 0 0.0


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