Paul Tisdale

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Paul Tisdale
Paul Tisdale 28-02-2015 1.jpg
Tisdale managing Exeter City in 2015
Personal information
Full name Paul Robert Tisdale[1]
Date of birth (1973-01-14) 14 January 1973 (age 45)[1]
Place of birth Valletta, Malta[1]
Height 5 ft 9 in (1.75 m)
Playing position Midfielder
Club information
Current team
Milton Keynes Dons (manager)
Youth career
1987–1991 Southampton
Senior career*
Years Team Apps (Gls)
1991–1997 Southampton 16 (1)
1993 Northampton Town (loan) 5 (0)
1996 Huddersfield Town (loan) 2 (0)
1997–1998 Bristol City 6 (0)
1997–1998 Exeter City (loan) 10 (1)
1998 Dundee United (loan) 0 (0)
1998 FinnPa 0 (0)
1998–1999 Panionios 18 (1)
1999–2000 Yeovil Town 15 (1)
2007–2011 Exeter City 1 (0)
2014 Exeter City 0 (0)
Total 73 (4)
Teams managed
2001–2006 Team Bath
2006–2018 Exeter City
2018– Milton Keynes Dons
* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only

Paul Robert Tisdale (born 14 January 1973) is an English professional football manager and former player who played as a midfielder. He is the manager of League Two club Milton Keynes Dons.

Tisdale represented Southampton, Bristol City, FinnPa, Panionios and Yeovil Town during a career which began in 1991 and concluded in 2000. During his time at Exeter City, he remained registered as a player between 2007 and 2016, making his debut as a late substitute in a 2–1 victory at Sheffield Wednesday at the end of the 2010–11 season and naming himself as a substitute in the EFL Trophy match at Oxford Utd on 30 August 2016.

Tisdale previously managed Team Bath. Having managed Exeter City from June 2006 until June 2018, he was, for 19 days, the longest-serving manager at one club in the English Football League.

Playing career[edit]


A former England schools international,[1] Tisdale came through the youth system at Southampton. He signed as a professional in June 1991. He was loaned out to Northampton Town in February and March 1993, where he made five league appearances.

He eventually made his Southampton debut in a League Cup game against Huddersfield Town on 5 October 1994. Unfortunately, at this time Southampton were enduring frequent changes of manager and, as a result, Tisdale never had a settled run in the first team. Having played his last senior game for Southampton on 27 April 1996, he again went out on loan in the 1996–97 season, this time to Huddersfield Town, where he made only two appearances.

In his time at Southampton he made a total of 18 first team appearances, scoring once, against Manchester City on 16 March 1996, when he took one touch and delicately lifted the ball over goalkeeper Eike Immel. Following the departure of mentor David Merrington, Tisdale moved to Bristol City in August 1997.

Bristol City and abroad[edit]

At Bristol City his appearances were limited. It was while at Bristol City that Tisdale got his first taste of life at Exeter City, on a 3-month loan in the 1997–98 season.

He left Ashton Gate after just one year, and played for FinnPa (Finland) and Panionios (Greece) before returning to spend a year with Yeovil Town.[2]

Coaching and management[edit]

Team Bath[edit]

Injury forced him to end his career early, and he took a coaching role with Team Bath in 2000. Tisdale entered the University of Bath side into the 2002–03 FA Cup,[2] becoming the first university team to enter the competition since Gonville & Caius in 1881. Team Bath entered in the preliminary round and advanced through four qualifying rounds to the first round proper, before losing to Mansfield Town. At Team Bath, Tisdale led the club through four promotions.

Exeter City[edit]

During the summer of 2006, Tisdale left the club to take up the vacant manager's position at Conference National side Exeter City,[3] signing a one-year rolling contract.[4] In his first season at Exeter, Tisdale led The Grecians to their first appearance in the end-of-season playoffs. After beating Oxford United in the semi-final on penalties, they lost 2-1 to Morecambe in the final at Wembley on 20 May 2007.[2]

Exeter again reached the play-offs at the end of 2007-08. Drawn against local rivals Torquay United in the semi-final, Exeter won 5-3 on aggregate. Tisdale led the side out at Wembley before his side claimed a 1–0 win against Cambridge United on 18 May 2008,[2] becoming one of only four managers to lead The Grecians to promotion.

With Exeter back in the Football League, Tisdale was able to bring in former Ipswich Town player Marcus Stewart from Yeovil Town. However, in true Tisdale fashion, there were departures too. Lee Elam, Wayne Carlisle, Jon Richardson and Andy Taylor left in the summer, and early in the 2008–09 season, George Friend was sold to Wolverhampton Wanderers for £350,000.[5]

In October 2008, Exeter City confirmed that Tisdale had signed a two-year rolling contract.[6]

City started brightly back in the League, maintaining their place in the play-off zone until the turn of the year despite sticking – Stewart aside – largely with the Blue Square play-off winning squad.

In naming Tisdale among the League's top ten managers, wrote in October 2008: "Tisdale is renowned for ensuring his sides play short, tidy football."[2]

In December 2008, Exeter City extended their record of league (including Conference) games without back to back defeats to 125 matches, including the first 120 under Tisdale's management. This shattered the club's previous record of 53 league games without consecutive defeats. Defeats against Brentford in the last game of 2008 and at Notts County in the first of 2009 ended the run.

Tisdale cemented his place as one of Exeter City's most successful managers ever by guiding the club to second place in League 2 during their first season back in the Football League in 5 years, in doing so becoming the first Exeter City manager to win successive promotions.

On their return to football in League 1, Exeter secured safety on the final day of the season with a 2–1 win over Huddersfield, securing 18th place in the league. The winning goal came from Ryan Harley 8 minutes from time in front of a packed St James' Park. For Tisdale to secure League 1 status for the club was remarkable given the comparative differences in playing budget between themselves and other teams in the league such as Leeds United, Norwich City and Southampton.

Even more remarkable is the fact that on top of previous player sales, Tisdale also recouped notable sums by selling Dean Moxey to Derby County and Danny Seaborne to Southampton. He has paid a transfer fee for just one player, Troy Archibald-Henville, £50,000 from Tottenham Hotspur in 2010.

In the 2010–11 season, he guided the club to 8th in the league, equalling the club's best ever finish. Tisdale came on as a sub against Sheffield Wednesday on the last day of the season; the first time for the club since becoming manager, and the first time as a player for more than a decade, since his Yeovil Town days. The club confirmed his retirement as a player on 23 May 2011.[7] However, he re-registered as a player for the start of the 2014-15 season as a result of a sickness bug affecting several members of the squad.[8] He named himself as an unused substitute for Exeter's first game of the season against Portsmouth.

In the 2015–16 season, in the 3rd round of the F.A. Cup with Exeter City in League Two, he coached Exeter to a 2–2 home draw against Premier League Liverpool. Although Liverpool fielded a team with a number of Premier League players absent, the draw was a remarkable achievement, with commentators stating that Tisdale's astute tactics were related to identifying the weaknesses in the Liverpool defence.[9]

In Tisdale's 11th season in charge of the Devon side he managed Exeter to a play-off final in the 2016–17 campaign; however, they lost to Blackpool 2–1 in the final. Tisdale's success at Exeter has gained him much interest from clubs at a higher level and he was rumoured to have been on the shortlist for the England u21 managerial role following Gareth Southgate's promotion to England senior manager.

After an unbeaten start to the 2017–18 season, Tisdale won his first manager of the month award having been on the shortlist 11 times. Tisdale stated that he was 'grateful to have been chosen for the award'.

In May 2018, Tisdale became the longest serving manager in the top four divisions following Arsene Wenger’s departure from Arsenal.

On 1 June 2018, Tisdale left Exeter after 12 years of managing the club, having failed to agree a new contract.[10]

Milton Keynes Dons[edit]

Tisdale was appointed manager of newly relegated League Two club Milton Keynes Dons on 6 June 2018.[11]

Personal life[edit]

He went to school in Bath, where he was childhood friends with actor Andrew Lincoln. In 2017, Lincoln said "One of my oldest and dearest friends happens to be Paul Tisdale. So I've been watching him very avidly throughout his whole career and I've been very proud of him."[12]

Managerial statistics[edit]

As of 6 June 2018
Managerial record by team and tenure
Team From To Record Ref.
P W D L Win %
Exeter City 26 June 2006 1 June 2018 626 241 159 226 038.5 [10][13]
Milton Keynes Dons 6 June 2018 Present 0 0 0 0 ! [11][14]
Total 626 241 159 226 038.5

Honours and achievements[edit]

As a manager[edit]


Team Bath

Exeter City



  1. ^ a b c d "Paul Tisdale". Barry Hugman's Footballers. Retrieved 6 June 2018. 
  2. ^ a b c d e "Top Ten: Football League Bosses | Bristol City News, Fixtures, Results, Transfers". Sky Sports. Retrieved 30 March 2016. 
  3. ^ "Player Profile: Paul Tisdale". Exeter City. Retrieved 22 October 2011. 
  4. ^ "Tisdale named new Exeter manager". BBC Sport. 26 June 2006. Retrieved 19 January 2016. 
  5. ^ Mail, Birmingham. "Fans will find Friend in George". Birmingham Mail. Retrieved 30 March 2016. 
  6. ^ "New deal for Tisdale". League Managers Association. 21 October 2008. Archived from the original on 14 May 2010. Retrieved 19 March 2012. 
  7. ^ "Exeter City release 12 squad members". BBC Sport. 23 May 2011. Retrieved 23 May 2011. 
  8. ^ "Exeter City 1 Portsmouth 1". BBC Sport. 23 May 2011. Retrieved 9 August 2014. 
  9. ^ Rose, Gary (8 January 2016). "Exeter City 2–2 Liverpool". BBC Sport. Retrieved 30 March 2016. 
  10. ^ a b Pilnick, Brent (1 June 2018). "Paul Tisdale leaves Exeter City after 12 years in charge of Devon club". BBC Sport. Retrieved 6 June 2018. 
  11. ^ a b "Paul Tisdale: MK Dons appoint former Exeter City boss as new manager". BBC Sport. 6 June 2018. Retrieved 6 June 2018. 
  12. ^ "Flashback: Exeter City 3-3 Yeovil Town: A stunning comeback witnessed by Walking Dead star Andrew Lincoln". DevonLive. 29 August 2017. Retrieved 1 October 2017. 
  13. ^ "Managers: Paul Tisdale". Soccerbase. Centurycomm. Retrieved 6 June 2018. 
  14. ^ "MK Dons: Results/matches: 2018/19". Soccerbase. Centurycomm. Retrieved 6 June 2018. 
  15. ^ "Manager Profile: Paul Tisdale - Honours". League Managers Association. Archived from the original on 21 October 2013. Retrieved 24 January 2012. 

External links[edit]