Paul Lake

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Paul Lake
Personal information
Full name Paul Andrew Lake
Date of birth (1968-10-28) 28 October 1968 (age 48)
Place of birth Manchester, England
Height 6 ft 0 in (1.83 m)
Playing position Defender / Midfielder
Youth career
1977–1980 Denton Youth
1980–1983 Blue Star
1983–1986 Manchester City
Senior career*
Years Team Apps (Gls)
1986–1996 Manchester City 110 (7)
National team
1988–1989 England U21 5 (0)
1990 England B 1 (0)
* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only.

Paul Andrew Lake (born 28 October 1968) is an English former footballer who played for Manchester City and represented England at under-21 and B team level. His brother Michael is also a former professional footballer.

He had an excellent early career with Manchester City, winning the FA Youth Cup in 1986 and helping the club to win promotion out of the Second Division in 1988–89. However a ruptured Anterior cruciate ligament in September 1990 would lead to several seasons struggling with knee injuries, and he would only play four further games from that point before announcing his retirement in January 1996. Despite his career effectively ending at the age of 21 he was later inducted into the Manchester City Hall of Fame, and was seen as a player who would have been a key first team player for many years had it not been for his injury problems. He went on to spend ten years as a physiotherapist in the game, before he began working in various ambassadorial roles.

Early life[edit]

He was born on 28 October 1968, five minutes before his twin sister Tracey, to Sheila McGinty (housewife) and Ted Lake (asphalt technician).[1] He grew up in Haughton Green in Lancashire (now Greater Manchester), though both his parents came from Ardwick.[1] The twins were the younger siblings of Susan (born 1962), David (1964), and Michael (born 1966).[2] He spent all of his free time during childhood playing football.[3] He grew up supporting Manchester City, as he was taken to games at Maine Road by the local milkman.[4] His great-uncle George was on the books of Manchester City prior to the First World War.[5]

Club career[edit]

At the age of eight he played for the Denton Youth under-12 side.[6] He won the 1980 Smiths Crisps Six-a-Side Championship with his school, St Mary's RC Primary (Denton), and scored the winning goal in the Wembley final against St Cuthbert's School (Sunderland).[7] He was spotted by Manchester City scout Ted Davies playing for Denton Boys under-13s, who got him a place alongside Andy Hinchcliffe on Blue Star, a feeder team to Manchester City.[8] Ian Brightwell later joined the team, though by then the club had changed its name to Midas, and later Pegasus.[9] Lake became an associated schoolboy at City in July 1983,[10] and signed a contract to become a Youth Training Scheme apprentice in July 1985.[11] He won a treble in the 1985–86 season, as the reserve team won the Central League, the 'A' team won the Lancashire league title, and the youth team beat Manchester United in the FA Youth Cup final.[12] He signed professional forms with the club on his 18th birthday.[13]

Following an injury to David White, Lake was given his first-team debut by manager Jimmy Frizzell on 24 January 1987 in a 0–0 draw with Wimbledon at Plough Lane.[14] He scored on his home debut on 21 February in a 1–1 draw with Luton Town.[15] New manager Mel Machin gave him more of a run in the first team early in the 1987–88 season after centre-half Kenny Clements picked up an injury.[16] On 7 November he featured in City's 10–1 victory over Huddersfield Town.[17] He became a regular first team player, but missed the last three games of the season with a knee injury he picked up against Bradford City.[18]

On 11 March 1989, he came close to death when he was knocked unconscious during a match against Leicester City and subsequently suffered with a blocked airway whilst lying on the ground.[19] It had taken some minutes for the City doctor to make his way from the director's box to the pitch and as a result of the incident the Football Association changed their rules to ensure that club doctors must remain at pitch-side during games.[20] He played in every outfield position throughout the 1988–89 campaign as the "Citizens" secured promotion out of the Second Division with a second-place finish.[21]

Despite beating rivals Manchester United 5–1, the 1989–90 season saw City initially struggle to adapt to life back in the First Division after two seasons away.[22] Machin was sacked in November 1989, and Lake later said that his replacement, Howard Kendall, was "the best boss I ever had".[23] City ended the season in 14th place, five points above the relegation zone.

He was appointed as club captain for the 1990–91 season and was given a new five-year contract.[24] However three games into his captaincy he picked up an injury against Aston Villa.[25] An initial X-ray showed no broken bones and he was told it would take six weeks for the injury to heal.[26] However, he broke down after initial straight line running work stepped up to include twisting and turning.[27] An arthroscopy revealed a ruptured Anterior cruciate ligament (ACL), and he underwent pioneering surgery to reconstruct the ligament using tissue taken from the patella tendon of the same knee; he was initially given a six-month recovery time which could have seen him back in the team at the end of that season.[28] However, when the time again came to train with a football his knee gave way once again.[29]

He was declared fit to play again in June 1991 following months of recovery time at Lilleshall Hall.[30] He re-ruptured his ligaments during pre-season training and had to undergo the knee operation for a second time, despite the fact the initial operation did not appear to have worked as expected.[31] He spent the 1991–92 season back at Lilleshall, and by the end of his time there he had spent more time at the medical centre there than any other footballer.[32]

He returned for pre-season training in June 1992, and he played in a number of pre-season friendlies without incident, though his knee still required a lengthy period of rest after matches.[33] Manager Peter Reid stated that "it's like being handed a new £3 million player".[34] He started the opening Premier League game of the 1992–93 season on 17 August, a 1–1 draw with Queens Park Rangers, but was substituted 60 minutes in after feeling pressure in his knee.[35] Despite still feeling that his knee needed rest he went on to play against Middlesbrough at Ayresome Park three days later.[36] Ten minutes into the game his ligament snapped for the third time and he was substituted off.[37] Six weeks later he travelled to Los Angeles to see Dr Sisto, an expert on cruciate ligament injuries.[38] Before going on the trip he told The Sunday People that the club and chairman Peter Swales had not handled his injury in the correct manner and left him feeling like "a piece of meat" as players at other clubs received specialist treatment straight away and received appearance and bonus pay during long-term absences.[39] Despite Lake being alone in America, the club refused to pay for his girlfriend to fly out to LA to be with him during his recovery from surgery, and so Niall Quinn and Peter Reid organized a whip-round to pay for her flight tickets.[40] The lack of leg room on the economy flight back to the UK also damaged his knee, though the club had flown the fully fit club physio back to England in business class.[41]

"If I'd have seen you straight away you'd have been back playing soccer by now."
— Dr Domenick J. Sisto's remark to Lake upon initial examination of the knee in 1992.[42]

He made brief reserve team appearances in early 1994, but was unable to participate beyond the spring as he was fitted with a knee brace to aid with his recovery.[43] With the likelihood of a return to fitness seeming remote he resorted to trying holy water, acupuncture and faith healing, all to no effect.[44] As the injury saga continued he began to suffer from depression, and he was put on a course of anti-depressants for a number of years.[45][46] After years of operations his knee had numerous screws inserted and he needed surgery to re-straighten his leg; he remained on a lifelong prescription for anti-inflammatory painkillers.[47] He retired from football in January 1996, after a struggle against injury which went on for more than five years,[48] and was granted a testimonial game against Manchester United in October 1997.[49] He was inducted into the Manchester City Hall of Fame in 2004.

"With my confidence shot and my career in tatters, I found myself trapped in a world of pain where, in the words of that old Sad Cafe song, every day hurt."

— One psychiatrist told Lake that the loss of his career had been like a bereavement to him.[50][51]

International career[edit]

Lake made his debut for the England under-21 side against Denmark in September 1988.[52] He also featured in a 2–1 win over Albania on 7 March 1989, and a 2–1 victory over Poland; both of which were qualifying games for the 1990 UEFA European Under-21 Championship.[53][54] However coach Lawrie McMenemy stated that Lake "always seemed to be injured at the time of important under-21 call-ups".[55] In January 1990 England manager Bobby Robson named him in his 30-man provisional squad for the 1990 FIFA World Cup.[56] He won a cap for the England B team against Ireland B in March 1990, playing in an unfamiliar role of wide-left in a 4–1 defeat.[57] He was angered by manager Dave Sexton's decision to play him as a winger, feeling the game did not give a good chance to make a case for his inclusion in Robson's final World Cup squad.[58] He did not make it into the World Cup squad and never won a senior cap.


Following his retirement from playing football, Lake used his experience on the treatment table to train to become a physiotherapist. He began working on the Manchester City medical team in 1997, and helped Richard Edghill to recover from the same injury that had claimed his own career.[59] The following year he was appointed first team physio at Burnley.[60] He went on to work as the physio at non-league club Altrincham, where he balanced the club's medical expenses on a tight budget.[61] Like his previous positions, he remained at Altrincham for just one season, before moving on to Oldham Athletic.[62] In 2003, he switched clubs to Macclesfield Town.[62] He graduated with a degree in physiotherapy at Salford University in May 2003.[63] In November 2007 he joined the medical staff at Bolton Wanderers.[64] He left Bolton in 2008 and ran his own physiotherapy practice in Greater Manchester until March 2010, when he was appointed Ambassador for Manchester City in the Community.[65] In June 2013, he stepped down as City's ambassador to take up a similar role with the Premier League.[66]

Personal life[edit]

He married Lisa Johnson in Denton in May 1995.[67][68] The marriage was brief, though they had a son, Zac.[69] His father died in 1997.[5] He later married Joanne Parker in Prestbury in 2001, and in June 2003 the couple had a son, Edward, later followed by a daughter, Hannah, in 2006.[70]

He released his acclaimed autobiography, "I'm Not Really Here", in 2011. The book, written with his wife Jo, became a Sunday Times best seller and was nominated for Football Book of the Year at the 2011 British Sports Book Awards.[71]

Paul is patron of Jump Space, a Stockport-based charity that provides specialist trampolining to disabled children and young people.


with Manchester City


  1. ^ a b Lake 2011, p. 9
  2. ^ Lake 2011, p. 10
  3. ^ Lake 2011, p. 14
  4. ^ Lake 2011, p. 41
  5. ^ a b Brennan, Stuart (2014-11-17). "Man City legend Lake stunned to discover First World War link". Retrieved 2016-09-29. 
  6. ^ Lake 2011, p. 15
  7. ^ Lake 2011, p. 20
  8. ^ Lake 2011, p. 22
  9. ^ Lake 2011, p. 26
  10. ^ Lake 2011, p. 27
  11. ^ James, Gary (2005). The Official Manchester City Hall of Fame. Hamlyn. pp. 58–66. ISBN 0-600-61282-1. 
  12. ^ Lake 2011, p. 51
  13. ^ Lake 2011, p. 59
  14. ^ Lake 2011, p. 63
  15. ^ Lake 2011, p. 68
  16. ^ Lake 2011, p. 82
  17. ^ Lake 2011, p. 90
  18. ^ Lake 2011, p. 96
  19. ^ Lake 2011, p. 100
  20. ^ Lake 2011, p. 104
  21. ^ Lake 2011, p. 124
  22. ^ Lake 2011, p. 154
  23. ^ Lake 2011, p. 168
  24. ^ Lake 2011, p. 198
  25. ^ Lake 2011, p. 200
  26. ^ Lake 2011, p. 202
  27. ^ Lake 2011, p. 205
  28. ^ Lake 2011, p. 206
  29. ^ Lake 2011, p. 224
  30. ^ Lake 2011, p. 225
  31. ^ Lake 2011, p. 226
  32. ^ Lake 2011, p. 229
  33. ^ Lake 2011, p. 232
  34. ^ Lake 2011, p. 233
  35. ^ Lake 2011, p. 238
  36. ^ Lake 2011, p. 239
  37. ^ Lake 2011, p. 240
  38. ^ Lake 2011, p. 242
  39. ^ Lake 2011, p. 243
  40. ^ Lake 2011, p. 248
  41. ^ Lake 2011, p. 252
  42. ^ Lake 2011, p. 246
  43. ^ Lake 2011, p. 296
  44. ^ Lake 2011, p. 287
  45. ^ Lake 2011, p. 283
  46. ^ Lake 2011, p. 385
  47. ^ Lake 2011, p. 297
  48. ^ Lake 2011, p. 300
  49. ^ Lake 2011, p. 325
  50. ^ Lake 2011, p. 278
  51. ^ Lake 2011, p. 284
  52. ^ Lake 2011, p. 178
  53. ^ Lake 2011, p. 182
  54. ^ Lake 2011, p. 187
  55. ^ Lake 2011, p. 197
  56. ^ Lake 2011, p. 188
  57. ^ Lake 2011, p. 193
  58. ^ Lake 2011, p. 194
  59. ^ Lake 2011, p. 315
  60. ^ Lake 2011, p. 339
  61. ^ Lake 2011, p. 353
  62. ^ a b Lake 2011, p. 354
  63. ^ Beard, Matthew (13 August 2003). "From much-injured rising star to physiotherapist". The Independent. London. Retrieved 22 May 2010. [dead link]
  64. ^ "City legend Paul Lake relishing life back in the top flight". Daily Mail. London. 30 November 2007. Retrieved 5 January 2008. 
  65. ^ Lake 2011, p. 397
  66. ^ "Former midfielder Lake to leave ambassador role at City after 30 years with the Blues". Daily Mail. London. 
  67. ^ Lake 2011, p. 295
  68. ^ "England & Wales marriages 1837–2008 Transcription". Paul A Lake. Marriage quarter: 2. Marriage year: 1995. District: Tameside. County: Lancashire. Page: 0180. Entry number: 094. Source code: AP2. Retrieved 19 December 2014 – via Findmypast. (Subscription required (help)). 
  69. ^ Lake 2011, p. 338
  70. ^ Lake 2011, p. 363
  71. ^ Lake 2011, p. 1