Mike Phelan

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Mike Phelan
Mike Phelan, Manchester United 2012.jpg
Phelan with Manchester United in 2012
Personal information
Full name Michael Christopher Phelan[1]
Date of birth (1962-09-24) 24 September 1962 (age 57)[1]
Place of birth Nelson,[1] England
Height 5 ft 11 in (1.80 m)[2]
Playing position(s) Midfielder
Club information
Current team
Manchester United (assistant manager)
Youth career
Senior career*
Years Team Apps (Gls)
1979–1985 Burnley 168 (9)
1985–1989 Norwich City 156 (9)
1989–1994 Manchester United 102 (2)
1994–1995 West Bromwich Albion 21 (0)
Total 485 (20)
National team
1989 England 1 (0)
Teams managed
2002 Manchester United Reserves
2015 Norwich City (caretaker)
2016–2017 Hull City
* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only

Michael Christopher Phelan (born 24 September 1962) is an English professional football coach and former player who is currently assistant manager of Manchester United.

Born in Nelson, Lancashire, he spent most of his playing career at Burnley, Norwich City and Manchester United, with a short spell at West Bromwich Albion before retirement. While he was with Manchester United he also earned a single cap for England. In 2002, Norwich fans voted Phelan into the club's Hall of Fame.

Following the end of his playing career, Phelan moved into management. He first took a position as Gary Megson's assistant at his former club, Norwich City, before following Megson to Blackpool and then Stockport County. After Megson left Stockport, Phelan was hired by another former club, Manchester United, taking over as the assistant manager of the club's reserve team. Two years later, he was promoted to become Alex Ferguson's chief first-team coach, and in 2008 he replaced Carlos Queiroz as Ferguson's assistant manager. He remained in the position until Ferguson's retirement in 2013, when Ferguson's successor David Moyes replaced the entire coaching staff.

After a year out of football, Phelan was appointed as first-team coach back at Norwich City in November 2014 and took temporary charge of the club when manager Neil Adams resigned in January 2015, only to be relieved of his duties by Adams' permanent replacement, Alex Neil. A month later, he was appointed as assistant manager at Hull City under former Manchester United teammate Steve Bruce. He was promoted to first team management following the departure of Bruce on a temporary basis before the 2016-17 season. This was made permanent on 13 October. He was sacked from his position with Hull on 3 January 2017 with the club 20th in the Premier League.

Playing career[edit]

Phelan began his career at Burnley, signing as an associated schoolboy in July 1979, as an apprentice two years later and as a professional in July 1980. He made his league debut in January 1981 against Chesterfield and whilst at Turf Moor, gained England Youth caps and a Third Division champions medal in 1982. But in 1985, Burnley were relegated to the Fourth Division, and Phelan moved to Norwich City for £60,000 on 13 July 1985.

Norwich won the Second Division title in his first season at the club. He became club captain when Steve Bruce joined Manchester United in December 1987, captaining them to fourth place in the First Division and a place in the FA Cup semi-finals in his first full season as captain.

He was called into the England squad for the Rous Cup games against Chile and Scotland but did not play due to a hamstring injury. His success drew the attention of larger clubs and he followed Steve Bruce to Manchester United for £750,000 on 1 July 1989.

At Manchester United, he finally won his first international cap (against Italy in 1989) and an FA Cup winner's medal in his first season. This was followed by the FA Charity Shield in 1990, European Cup Winners' Cup in 1991 and the League Cup in 1992.

Phelan was often deployed at right-back during his first season at Manchester United, but following the arrival of Denis Irwin in 1990 he mostly played on the right or in the centre of midfield. He had played on the right side of midfield before Irwin's arrival, most notably in the FA Cup final win over Crystal Palace in May 1990, when Paul Ince was switched from central midfield to right-back.

By 1993, however, his appearances were becoming increasingly limited due to growing competition from younger players like Andrei Kanchelskis, Paul Ince, Ryan Giggs and Lee Sharpe. He did make enough league appearances to collect a Premier League title medal for the 1992-93 season, but rarely played in the 1993-94 season, failing to make enough appearances for another league title medal, and not being in the squad for the FA Cup triumph over Chelsea.

With the introduction of Premier League squad numbers for the 1993–94 season, he was issued with the number 23 shirt which was next worn by Phil Neville. Phelan was given a free transfer at the end of the 1993-94 season.

After leaving Old Trafford, Phelan signed for West Bromwich Albion, where he spent 18 months and played just 21 games, his first-team chances limited by younger players such as Kevin Donovan and Lee Ashcroft, who were more favoured by new manager Alan Buckley (appointed in the autumn following the dismissal of Keith Burkinshaw, who brought Phelan to the club).

Coaching career[edit]

He returned to Carrow Road in December 1995, as an assistant manager to Gary Megson (another former Norwich player) and managed the club's reserve team. When Megson was fired and joined Blackpool, Phelan followed him to take a similar role, returning to his native North-West. A year later, he followed Megson to Stockport County.

Following Megson's sacking as Stockport County boss on 25 June 1999, Andy Kilner took over as manager. Phelan moved on shortly afterwards, taking up a role at Manchester United's Centre of Excellence. With Steve McClaren's departure to Middlesbrough in the summer of 2001, Phelan was promoted to first-team coach. He was appointed assistant manager of Manchester United on 3 September 2008, replacing Carlos Queiroz who had left to manage the Portugal national football team.[3] For many seasons, Phelan was seen conducting interviews with BBC programmes such as Match of the Day due to United manager Alex Ferguson refusing to speak with the BBC following corruption allegations made in 2004 by the BBC's Panorama programme towards one of Ferguson's sons, football agent Jason Ferguson. Ferguson finally agreed to BBC interviews once more in August 2011.[4]

In January 2010, Phelan was linked with a return to his first club Burnley as manager following the departure of Owen Coyle to Bolton Wanderers.[5]

He was Sir Alex Ferguson's right-hand man during three Premier League title wins, a Club World Cup, two League Cups and two runs to the final of the UEFA Champions League. He departed the club shortly after Sir Alex Ferguson's retirement.[6]

On 20 November 2014, Phelan was announced as a first-team coach at Norwich City.[7] Following the resignation of Neil Adams on 5 January 2015, Phelan was named caretaker manager of Norwich.[8] On 9 January 2015, Norwich appointed Hamilton Academical manager Alex Neil, and Phelan returned to his first-team coaching duties.[9] On 20 January 2015, Phelan left the club by mutual consent.[10]

On 5 February 2015, Phelan was named assistant manager at Hull City.[11] On 22 July 2016, following the resignation of Steve Bruce, the club confirmed that Phelan would act as caretaker manager.[12] He was named Premier League Manager of the Month for August, after victories over Leicester City and Swansea City, and a narrow defeat to Manchester United.[13]

On 13 October 2016, Phelan was appointed first-team manager on a permanent basis.[14]

On 3 January 2017, Hull City's vice-chairman Ehab Allam released a statement stating that the club and Phelan had parted company for a "fresh approach".[15] the Daily Mail reported that Phelan was sacked after a row about January spending, becoming frustrated over the club's refusal to commit to investment in his playing squad. He was replaced by Marco Silva two days later.[16]

On 16 July 2018, Phelan was appointed Sporting Director at Central Coast Mariners.[17]

On 19 December 2018, Phelan was appointed as a first-team coach for Manchester United's caretaker manager, Ole Gunnar Solskjær.[18] On 10 May 2019 he was appointed as United's assistant manager.[19]

Managerial statistics[edit]

As of 3 January 2017
Managerial record by team and tenure
Team From To Record Ref
P W D L Win %
Norwich City (caretaker) 5 January 2015 9 January 2015 0 0 0 0 ! [8][9]
Hull City 22 July 2016 3 January 2017 24 6 5 13 025.0 [20]
Total 24 6 5 13 025.0




Norwich City

Manchester United




  1. ^ a b c "Mike Phelan". Barry Hugman's Footballers. Retrieved 13 May 2020.
  2. ^ Dunk, Peter, ed. (1987). Rothmans Football Yearbook 1987–88. London: Queen Anne Press. p. 262. ISBN 978-0-356-14354-5.
  3. ^ "Phelan named as Man Utd assistant". BBC Sport. British Broadcasting Corporation. 3 September 2008. Retrieved 20 February 2014.
  4. ^ "Alex Ferguson ends BBC boycott". The Guardian. 25 August 2011. Retrieved 20 February 2016.
  5. ^ Taylor, Louise; Murray, Ewan (5 January 2010). "Hibernian's John Hughes is early candidate to replace Owen Coyle". The Guardian. Guardian News and Media. Retrieved 20 February 2014.
  6. ^ "Manchester United: Mike Phelan and Eric Steele leave the club". BBC Sport. British Broadcasting Corporation. 25 May 2013. Retrieved 25 May 2013.
  7. ^ "Mike Phelan: Ex-Man Utd assistant joins Norwich City as coach". BBC Sport. 20 November 2014. Retrieved 21 November 2014.
  8. ^ a b "Neil Adams resigns as Norwich City manager". BBC Sport. 5 January 2015. Retrieved 3 September 2016.
  9. ^ a b "Alex Neil: Norwich City appoint Hamilton player-manager as boss". BBC Sport. 9 January 2015. Retrieved 3 September 2016.
  10. ^ "Mike Phelan leaves job as Norwich City coach". BBC Sport. 20 January 2015. Retrieved 20 February 2016.
  11. ^ "Hull appoint Mike Phelan as Steve Bruce's assistant manager". Sky Sports. 6 February 2015. Retrieved 20 February 2016.
  12. ^ "Club statement". Hull City AFC. 22 July 2016. Archived from the original on 18 August 2016. Retrieved 23 July 2016.
  13. ^ "Phelan Named Barclays Manager Of The Month For August". Hull City AFC. 9 September 2016. Archived from the original on 9 September 2016. Retrieved 9 September 2016.
  14. ^ "Phelan Appointed Head Coach". Hull City A.F.C. 13 October 2016. Archived from the original on 13 October 2016. Retrieved 13 October 2016.
  15. ^ "Mike Phelan: Hull City sack head coach after less than three months in permanent role". BBC Sport. BBC. 3 January 2017. Retrieved 4 January 2017.
  16. ^ "Hull City sacked Mike Phelan for 'fresh approach'". Mail Online. Retrieved 5 January 2017.
  17. ^ "Mariners appoint Mike Phelan as Sporting Director". Central Coast Mariners.
  18. ^ "Ole Gunnar Solskjaer appointed caretaker manager". ManUtd.com. Manchester United. 19 December 2018. Retrieved 19 December 2018.
  19. ^ "Phelan confirmed as United assistant manager". ManUtd.com. Manchester United. 10 May 2019. Retrieved 10 May 2019.
  20. ^ "Managers: Mike Phelan". Soccerbase. Centurycomm. Retrieved 4 April 2017.
  21. ^ "Mike Phelan: Overview". Premier League. Retrieved 17 April 2018.
  22. ^ "Manager profile: Mike Phelan". Premier League. Retrieved 17 April 2018.

External links[edit]