Lawrie Sanchez

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Lawrie Sánchez
Personal information
Full name Lawrence Philip Sanchez
Date of birth (1959-10-22) 22 October 1959 (age 61)
Place of birth Lambeth, England
Height 6 ft 2 in (1.88 m)
Position(s) Midfielder
Youth career
1974–? Southampton
Thatcham Town
Senior career*
Years Team Apps (Gls)
1978–1984 Reading 261 (28)
1984–1994 Wimbledon 270 (33)
1994 Swindon Town 8 (0)
1994–1995 Sligo Rovers
National team
1986–1989 Northern Ireland 3 (0)
Teams managed
1994–1995 Sligo Rovers
1999–2003 Wycombe Wanderers
2004–2007 Northern Ireland
2007 Fulham
2011–2012 Barnet
2013–2014 Apollon Smyrni
* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only

Lawrence Philip Sanchez (born 22 October 1959) is a Northern Irish football manager and former international footballer.

The defining moment of his playing career came in the 1988 FA Cup Final, when he scored the winning goal for Wimbledon against Liverpool, producing one of the biggest upsets in the competition's long history.

Career highlights as a manager include taking Wycombe Wanderers on a memorable F.A. Cup run that climaxed in a semi-final against Liverpool and driving Northern Ireland from a FIFA ranking of 124th to 27th; a period during which he notched up notable results against England, Spain, Denmark, Sweden and Portugal.

Personal life[edit]

Sanchez was born in London, the son of an Ecuadorian father and an Irish mother.[1] He was educated at Presentation College, an independent school in Reading, Berkshire, and went on to take a BSc degree in management science at Loughborough University while a Reading F.C. player.[2] He was married to Heather, who died of cancer in 1998;[3] the couple had a son, Jack. In 2004, Sanchez became patron of a Northern Ireland-based cancer charity.[4]

Playing career[edit]

Club career[edit]

Sanchez began his playing career as a midfielder at Reading in 1977 and remained there until 1984 before being bought by Wimbledon for £30,000, where he became a regular in a successful side. He scored the goal to secure the victory which got the Dons promoted to the First Division against Huddersfield Town in May 1986.[5]

His most famous moment as a player came in 1988, when he scored with a header the goal that won Wimbledon the FA Cup in 1988 against Liverpool.[6] It was not an easy game, as Peter Beardsley had found the net 10 minutes before Sanchez scored, only to have his goal disallowed. Liverpool came close to jeopardising Wimbledon's dream again in the second half when they were awarded a penalty, only for John Aldridge's shot to be saved by Dons goalkeeper Dave Beasant.[7]

During the 1993–94 season Sanchez left Wimbledon for newly promoted Swindon Town, who ended the season relegated with a mere five wins from 42 games and conceding 100 goals. He played just eight league games for the Wiltshire club and left them after only a few months to manage Sligo Rovers in the Ireland.

He is believed to be the first player to be sent off for a professional foul, after committing a deliberate handball in a Football League Trophy match against Oxford United in 1982.[8]

International career[edit]

In 1977, he represented England Schoolboys in a match against Scotland.

Sanchez won three full international caps for Northern Ireland, qualifying by virtue of his Northern Irish mother. He had also been invited to try out for the Ecuadorian national team (Ecuadorian father), but declined on the grounds of distance.

Managerial and coaching career[edit]

Sligo Rovers[edit]

He became player-manager of League of Ireland club Sligo Rovers in 1994,[9] and in his first season led them to the semi-final of the 1995 FAI Cup. He also managed them in the Cup Winners' Cup against Club Brugge.


In 1995, he returned to Wimbledon and became the reserve team manager, winning the Football Combination in his first season in charge. After two years in charge of the reserves, he stepped up to be first team coach under Joe Kinnear.

Wycombe Wanderers[edit]

He became manager at Wycombe Wanderers in February 1999, and with only 18 games left he rescued the team from imminent relegation. In 2001, he guided the club (then in the Second Division) to its greatest moment, reaching the FA Cup semi-finals, where they played Liverpool; Wycombe lost 2–1, having held Liverpool to 0–0 for most of the match.

After finishing 12th in 2002 and 11th in 2003, the upward progress came to an end with the collapse of the OnDigital TV deal and the subsequent loss of both revenue and players. After a poor start to the 2003–04 season, Sanchez was sacked by the club on 30 September 2003.[10]

Northern Ireland national team[edit]

Sanchez was appointed manager of Northern Ireland in January 2004.[11] At that point the side was ranked 124th in the world, had a 1,298-minute-long goal drought, and had not won a game for nearly three years. Northern Ireland improved markedly under Sanchez. By the time he left, Northern Ireland were top of their Euro 2008 qualification group and reached an all-time high position of 27th in the world.[12]

Notable results during his tenure included a 1–0 victory against England in a World Cup qualifying match,[13] a 1–1 draw against Portugal,[14] who went on to reach the 2006 World Cup semi-finals,[15] a 2–1 win over Sweden,[16] and a 3–2 win against eventual Euro 2008 winners Spain in a Euro 2008 qualifying match, with striker David Healy scoring a hat-trick.[17] A book about his achievements with Northern Ireland was published in November 2007.[18]


While still manager of Northern Ireland, Sanchez was named as caretaker manager of Fulham following the sacking of Chris Coleman in April 2007.[19] Having achieved his 32-day task of maintaining Fulham's Premier League position, with a record of one win, one draw and three defeats, he was given the manager's job on a longer contract, having first to resign from his position with Northern Ireland.[20]

Sanchez signed four Northern Ireland players, David Healy from Leeds United,[21] Steven Davis and Aaron Hughes, both from Aston Villa,[22][23] and Chris Baird from Southampton.[24]

He was sacked in December 2007,[25] after a home defeat to Newcastle.[26] This defeat pushed Fulham into the relegation places.


With four matches of the 2010–11 season remaining, Sanchez joined Barnet as football consultant, to assist caretaker-manager Giuliano Grazioli,[27] in their ultimately successful battle against relegation from the Football League.[28] On 13 May 2011, Barnet appointed Sanchez as manager of the club, with Grazioli as his assistant.[29] In the 2011–12 season, the club struggled to stay in the League despite reaching the Area Final of the Johnstone Paint Trophy before losing to Swindon Town.[30] Sanchez was sacked by Barnet on 16 April 2012 with 3 games of the season to go and was replaced by Martin Allen.[31]

Apollon Smyrnis[edit]

"You cannot allow this to happen on live tv."

– Lawrie Sanchez questioning the integrity of the Superleague Greece on live television in March 2014 after an Apollon goal was disallowed during the club's 3–2 win away at Panthrakikos.[32]

On 17 November 2013, Sanchez was appointed head coach of Superleague Greece side Apollon Smyrni.[33] He met the players for the first time on 18 November 2013 whilst also giving the club's official website his first interview as Apollon Smyrni head coach.[34] During his time at Apollon, Sanchez has raised his doubts over the integrity of the Superleague Greece.[35] On 30 March, he voiced his discontent on live television during the club's 3–2 win away to Panthrakikos.[32]

On 13 April 2014, Sanchez and Apollon were relegated from the Superleague Greece into the Greek Football League following a 1–0 defeat away to champions Olympiacos. Apollon finished seventeenth with 36 points, two points off safety in fifteenth.[36]

Sanchez declined to sign a new contract for Apollon and left the club. This departure was much to the chagrin of the Apollon fans to whom he, in typical Sanchez fashion, had become a much loved cult figure and leader.[37] Sanchez wrote a parting letter to the Apollon fans explaining his thoughts and made it clear that he was very unhappy with the legitimacy of the Superleague Greece, his parting words were: "In the Magic Kingdom that is SuperLeague even a Magician can only have so many powers".[38]



Managerial statistics[edit]

As of 12 July 2014.
Team Nat From To Record
G W D L Win %
Wycombe Wanderers England 5 February 1999 30 September 2003 255 87 71 97 034.12
Northern Ireland Northern Ireland 21 January 2004 11 May 2007 32 11 10 11 034.38
Fulham England 11 April 2007 21 December 2007 24 4 8 12 016.67
Barnet England 13 May 2011 16 April 2012 57 17 13 27 029.82
Apollon Smyrni Greece 17 November 2013 22 April 2014 27 8 7 12 029.63
Total 395 127 109 159 032.15



  1. ^ "Sanchez dreaming of EURO 2008". FIFA. 26 October 2006. Retrieved 16 September 2009.
  2. ^ Thompson, Steve (8 April 2001). "Sanchez eager to graduate with honours". The Daily Telegraph. London. Retrieved 16 September 2009.
  3. ^ Doogan, Brian (11 September 2005). "The making of a miracle". The Sunday Times. London. Retrieved 16 September 2009.
  4. ^ "new signing for action cancer". Action Cancer. 3 March 2004. Archived from the original on 15 June 2008.
  5. ^ [1] Archived 30 September 2011 at the Wayback Machine
  6. ^ "Bobby Gould recalls Wimbledon's FA Cup win". Reuters. 13 May 2008. Retrieved 24 June 2011.
  7. ^ "Dave and his wombles may have done us a favor". Glasgow Herald. 16 May 1988. p. 12. Retrieved 10 October 2012.
  8. ^ "Sanchez still has his moment of fame with Reading". Archived from the original on 30 July 2003. Retrieved 18 November 2007.
  9. ^ "Irish Times". The Irish Times.
  10. ^ "Wycombe sack Sanchez". BBC Sport. British Broadcasting Corporation. 30 September 2003. Retrieved 7 May 2010.
  11. ^ Stokes, Jim (21 January 2004). "Sanchez is shock choice". BBC Sport. British Broadcasting Corporation. Retrieved 5 May 2012.
  12. ^ "Ex-boss Lawrie Sanchez set for Northern Ireland job interview". BBC Sport. 9 December 2011. Retrieved 12 May 2019.
  13. ^ "Northern Ireland 1–0 England". BBC Sport. British Broadcasting Corporation. 7 September 2005. Retrieved 5 May 2012.
  14. ^ "N Ireland 1–1 Portugal". BBC Sport. British Broadcasting Corporation. 15 November 2005. Retrieved 5 May 2012.
  15. ^ "Portugal 0–1 France". BBC Sport. British Broadcasting Corporation. 5 July 2006. Retrieved 5 May 2012.
  16. ^ "N Ireland 2–1 Sweden". BBC Sport. British Broadcasting Corporation. 28 March 2007. Retrieved 5 May 2012.
  17. ^ "Northern Ireland 3–2 Spain". BBC Sport. British Broadcasting Corporation. 6 September 2006. Retrieved 5 May 2012.
  18. ^ "Six months on, Lawrie's ready to lift the lid on 'Norn Iron'". Belfast Telegraph. 30 October 2007. Retrieved 30 October 2007.
  19. ^ "Coleman out as Sánchez takes over". BBC Sport. British Broadcasting Corporation. 10 April 2007. Retrieved 11 April 2007.
  20. ^ "Sánchez quits NI for Fulham job". BBC Sport. British Broadcasting Corporation. 11 May 2007. Retrieved 11 May 2007.
  21. ^ "Striker Healy agrees Fulham move". BBC Sport. British Broadcasting Corporation. 13 July 2007. Retrieved 5 May 2012.
  22. ^ "Fulham complete £4m Davis swoop". BBC Sport. British Broadcasting Corporation. 5 July 2007. Retrieved 5 May 2012.
  23. ^ "NI skipper Hughes in Fulham move". BBC Sport. British Broadcasting Corporation. 27 June 2007. Retrieved 5 May 2012.
  24. ^ "Fulham complete capture of Baird". BBC Sport. British Broadcasting Corporation. 12 July 2007. Retrieved 5 May 2012.
  25. ^ "Manager Sanchez sacked by Fulham". BBC Sport. British Broadcasting Corporation. 21 December 2007. Retrieved 5 May 2012.
  26. ^ Stevenson, Jonathan (15 December 2007). "Fulham 0–1 Newcastle". BBC Sport. British Broadcasting Corporation. Retrieved 5 May 2012.
  27. ^ "Barnet take Lawrie Sanchez on in consultant role". BBC Sport. 18 April 2011. Retrieved 22 November 2013.
  28. ^ "Barnet 1 – 0 Port Vale". BBC Sport. 7 May 2011. Retrieved 22 November 2013.
  29. ^ "Lawrie Sanchez appointed as Barnet boss". BBC Sport. 13 May 2011. Retrieved 22 November 2013.
  30. ^ "Swindon 1–0 Barnet (2–1)". BBC Sport. 7 February 2012. Retrieved 22 November 2013.
  31. ^ "Martin Allen replaces Lawrie Sanchez as Barnet manager". BBC Sport. 16 April 2012. Retrieved 22 November 2013.
  32. ^ a b "The outbreak of Sanchez". Dailymotion. 30 March 2014. Retrieved 3 May 2014.
  33. ^ "Announcement" (in Greek). Apollon Smyrni Official Website. 17 November 2013. Retrieved 22 November 2013.
  34. ^ "The first statement of Lawrie Sanchez and his acquaintance with the players" (in Greek). Apollon Smyrni Official Website. 18 November 2013. Retrieved 22 November 2013.
  35. ^ "Press Conference: Olympiakos – Apollon Smyrna" (in Greek and English). Apollon Smyrni Official Website/Vimeo. 13 April 2014. Retrieved 3 May 2014.
  36. ^ "Defeat and relegation for Apollo". Apollon Smyrni Official Website. 13 April 2014. Retrieved 3 May 2014.
  37. ^ "Apollonistis".
  38. ^ "Planet Apollon". Archived from the original on 14 July 2014.

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