Paul Simpson (footballer)
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Simpson with Newcastle United in 2015
|Full name||Paul David Simpson|
|Date of birth||26 July 1966|
|Place of birth||Carlisle, England|
|Height||5 ft 7 in (1.70 m)|
|1984–1985||→ Finn Harps (loan)||6||(3)|
|1996||→ Sheffield United (loan)||6||(0)|
|1998||→ Walsall (loan)||10||(0)|
|2003–2006||Carlisle United (player-manager)|
|2006–2007||Preston North End|
|* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only|
Paul David Simpson (born 26 July 1966) is an English former professional footballer. He has been a coach and manager at several English clubs and was manager of the England team that won the FIFA Under-20s World Cup in South Korea in 2017. He is now managing England U20. His son Jake Simpson is also a former professional, now Head of Fitness at National League side AFC Fylde.
- 1 Playing career
- 2 Managerial career
- 3 References
- 4 External links
Simpson began his playing career as a schoolboy at Manchester City in the early 1980s. He made his senior debut aged 16, on 2 October 1982 in a 3–2 win against Coventry City. However, after the club were relegated and new manager Billy McNeill arrived, Simpson, along with John Beresford, was briefly loaned out to Irish club Finn Harps to gain more experience. He scored 3 goals in 9 total appearances at Finn Park.
He returned during the final stages of 1984–85 campaign and enjoyed a run of games as he scored 6 times in just 10 appearances as City won promotion from the Second Division. He was a regular member of the first team in the 1985-86 season and scored nine First Division goals as City survived their first season back in the top flight, although they were relegated a year later.
He won five caps for the England under-21 team during his spell at Maine Road, adding to three caps at under-18 level. His U21 debut came on 26 March 1986 as a substitute against Denmark on his home ground. He also played in the 1987 Toulon Tournament, during which he scored.
He left City, now back in the Second Division, for Oxford United in October 1988 in a £200,000 deal, after making 155 appearances for them in total. He remained at Oxford for over four years – all spent in the second tier – before signing for Derby County in February 1992 for £500,000.
The winger joined Derby in the midst of a promotion challenge but, despite finishing 3rd, they lost in the play-offs to 6th-placed Blackburn Rovers. The club had three more successive failed promotion attempts (including losing the 1994 play-off final to rivals Leicester City) before they won automatic promotion in 1995–96. He was a first choice player throughout this period, and twice reached double figures in his goal return.
The influx of new players that followed the Rams' promotion to the Premier League saw his place under fire for the first time since he had joined. He managed 19 appearances (scoring twice, including Derby's first game back at the top level) during their return to the top flight, but also found himself out on loan at second tier club Sheffield United to gain more playing time.
After failing to feature in the opening months of the Rams' 1997–98 season, he dropped down a division to join Wolverhampton Wanderers initially on a month's loan in October 1997. After impressing with 2 goals in 8 starts, he signed a permanent deal for £75,000. His first season with the club also saw him almost appear in an FA Cup Final, but they lost to eventual winners Arsenal in the semi-final.
His second season at Molineux was less successful as he found himself out of the starting line-up in the opening games. He went on loan to nearby Walsall of the Second Division for four months, but returned to Wolves first team when this loan expired. He scored Wolves' final goal of the season in a 3–2 defeat to Bradford City that meant they missed out on the play-offs.
After a second successive 7th-place finish in a season that saw Simpson feature only sparingly, he took a free transfer to Blackpool in August 2000. Here, he helped the club win promotion from the Third Division via the play-offs in his first season but he left during his second, to join Rochdale in March 2002. Just before leaving the club he helped them win the 2001–02 Football League Trophy, playing as a substitute in the final.
He made nine appearances in the final games of the 2001–02 season for Dale, scoring 6 times. This goal rush helped push the club into the play-offs, where they lost to Rushden & Diamonds (despite another goal from Simpson).
After manager John Hollins departed from Rochdale in 2002, Simpson stepped in as player-manager. He began the season in equally bright goal-scoring form, but as the pressure of management took its toll and he enjoyed a largely unsuccessful season. Simpson left Rochdale after only season in charge where they reached the FA Cup 5th round, an equal club record, but finished 19th after a late turnaround by Macclesfield saw them drop from 13th in the final 10minutes of the season.
Following his departure from Rochdale, Simpson moved back to his home town, where he became the manager of Carlisle United. He also played for the club. Carlisle were relegated to the Conference in his first year at Brunton Park, at a time when the club was struggling financially. A transfer embargo prevented new players being brought in and by December Carlisle were 15 points adrift, and despite an improved latter half of the season, the club were eventually relegated. However, he immediately led Carlisle back to League Two in 2004–05 as Conference National Playoff winners. Following this, Simpson enjoyed perhaps his best season as a manager, leading Carlisle to double – promotion, winning promotion to League One as League Two champions. He was also named as the League Two Manager of the Year and in the League Managers Association statistics was the best manager in the country on points per game above Rafael Benítez.
Simpson played his final game as a professional player on 6 May 2006 at Edgeley Park against Stockport County, the club he later managed, on a day where the 2 teams drew 0 – 0, meaning that Carlisle were promoted as champions, and Stockport survived relegation from the Football League. This marked the end of his playing career after 24 years.
Preston North End
In June 2006, following his success at Carlisle, Simpson left the club to replace Billy Davies as manager of Preston North End, where he led the Lancashire side to the top of the Championship by December, their highest league placing for 55 years. However, after only being able to bring 3 free transfers in January they were unable to maintain this position and missed out on the play-offs by goal difference despite beating already promoted Birmingham on the last day. After losing key player David Nugent, the team made a bad start to the 2007–08 season (including just three victories) resulting in Simpson being sacked on 13 November 2007.
On 12 March 2008, he was appointed manager of League Two club Shrewsbury Town, replacing Gary Peters who had left the club by mutual consent after a poor run of results. After helping them avoid relegation in his first season, Simpson then took them to the Play-off Final where they lost to a last minute Gillingham goal. In the following campaign after an overall decent first half of the season, Shrewsbury were dealt six straight defeats in March and April, ultimately costing them a place in the play-offs. He was dismissed as manager on 30 April 2010.
Simpson was confirmed as the new manager of Stockport County on 12 July 2010 following a takeover by The 2015 Group. He replaced former manager Gary Ablett, who was sacked by the club's new owners after the club spent the entire season in administration – the worst season in the club's history, with County gaining just 25 points from 46 games.
Simpson was charged with the task of staying in the division and rebuilding a squad which has been ravaged by administration, and ensuring the survival of the club in League Two in the coming season. He was instructed to work with Peter Ward as his assistant manager, and former youth team manager Alan Lord was put in charge of Youth Development. Both Ward and Lord were returning to County having previously worked there under former manager Jim Gannon between 2005 and 2009. Ward was also a former Stockport captain, playing for the club in the 1990s. Simpson also employed former coach Stuart Delaney as Youth Team Manager.
Simpson was sacked on 4 January 2011 after a run of just three wins in 19 games.
Simpson was appointed manager of Northern Premier League Premier Division side Northwich Victoria on 1 February 2012, with Alan Wright as his assistant. However, he departed after only a month as he had been due to take up a role in Portugal at the end of the season. This was, however, brought forward to March, meaning Simpson left following the club's FA Trophy Quarter-final match on Saturday 25 February. His assistant, Alan Wright, oversaw a match with Rushall Olympic during Simpson's absence.
- "Paul Simpson". Barry Hugman's Footballers. Retrieved 6 April 2017.
- "Transfers - March, 2002". BBC. 5 September 2002. Retrieved 27 October 2018.
- "Seasiders relish return to scene of past success". Independent. 25 March 2002. Retrieved 27 October 2018.
- Staff; agencies (12 March 2008). "Paul Simpson takes the helm at Shrewsbury" – via The Guardian.
- "Gillingham 1-0 Shrewsbury". BBC News. 24 May 2009.
- "Shrewsbury Town sack manager Paul Simpson". BBC Sport. 30 April 2010. Retrieved 5 April 2011.
- "Paul Simpson named Stockport County Manager". BBC Sport. 12 July 2010. Retrieved 5 April 2011.
- "Paul Simpson named as new manager". Northwich Victoria F.C. 1 February 2012. Archived from the original on 8 September 2012. Retrieved 1 February 2012.
- "Simpson to quit Northwich for new job".
- "England Under-20 boss Paul Simpson says it is 'too early' for golden generation tag". BBC Sport. 11 June 2017. Retrieved 12 June 2017.
- "England seal Under-20 World Cup glory as Dominic Calvert-Lewin strikes". Guardian. 11 June 2017. Retrieved 14 June 2017.