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Michael Appleton

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Michael Appleton

Michael Appleton
Blackburn Rovers
Template:Infobox medal templates
* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only.
† Appearances (Goals).

Michael Antony Appleton (born 4 December 1975) is an English former professional footballer and manager.

As a player he was a midfielder who played from 1994 to 2003, his playing career being cut short by a serious knee injury. He played as a professional for Manchester United, Lincoln City, Grimsby Town and Preston North End. He was the assistant head coach at West Bromwich Albion, one of the teams for which he had played. He was also their caretaker manager for one match after Roberto Di Matteo was placed on gardening leave.

On 10 November 2011, Appleton was appointed the manager of Portsmouth, and just under a year later he became manager of Blackpool. After just over two months as Blackpool manager he left the Seasiders to become manager of Blackburn Rovers on 11 January 2013. 67 days later, on 19 March, he was sacked.[2][3]

Playing career

Manchester United

Born in Salford, Greater Manchester,[1] Appleton attended Seedley Primary School and Buile Hill Secondary School, both in Salford. He represented the football teams of both schools, playing as a striker until the age of "12 or 13" before switching to midfield.[4] A lifelong Manchester United fan,[5] Appleton progressed through the club's youth system before earning a professional contact in 1994. In the 1995–96 season, Appleton was loaned out to Lincoln City for a month to get first team experience, playing four Division Three matches and one match in the Football League Trophy, before returning to Old Trafford.

In October 1996, Appleton made his Manchester United début in the 2–1 League Cup victory versus Swindon Town. Appleton's second and last game for the Red Devils was a 2–0 defeat at Filbert Street against Leicester City. During his time at Manchester United he was issued with the number 29 shirt.

In January 1997, Appleton joined Grimsby Town on a two-month loan from United, scoring three goals in 10 league matches for the Mariners against Swindon Town, Barnsley and United's Manchester rivals; Manchester City. He returned to United in March 1997.[6]

Preston North End

In the 1997–98 pre-season, Appleton joined Preston North End for a (then) club record fee of £500,000. In his three-and-a-half years at Deepdale, Appleton played 145 first team games, scoring 15 goals. He also played an important part in The Lilywhites promotion to Division One in 2000 as Division Two champions.

West Bromwich Albion

In January 2001, Appleton moved from Preston to West Bromwich Albion for a fee of £750,000, signing a three-and-a-half-year contract.[7] He made his début in a 2–1 victory versus Sheffield United, picking up a yellow card, and went on to play an important part in The Baggies' play-off chase, although they ultimately lost to Bolton Wanderers in the semi-finals.

At the start of the 2001–02 season, Appleton was a regular in the first team, but on 19 November 2001, Appleton tore posterior cruciate ligaments in his right knee, after an accidental training ground collision with team mate Des Lyttle. He was initially expected to be out for the rest of the season.[8] With West Brom getting promoted to the Premier League, Appleton had to wait until February 2003 for his return to football, 28 minutes into a reserve team match against former club Manchester United.[9] In November 2003, at the age of 27, Appleton was forced to retire, after losing his two-year battle against injury. West Brom manager Gary Megson described Appleton's retirement as "One of the saddest days I've had as a manager, Football can't afford to be losing a player of his like."[10]

Appleton, who played his last first-team game of football in a 1–0 win at Birmingham City on 7 November 2001, made a total of 38 appearances for West Bromwich Albion.

"Having had my playing career taken away from me prematurely, I am all the more determined now to make a success of my coaching career"

Michael Appleton[11]

Managerial career

West Bromwich Albion

After the knee injury, Appleton stayed with the Baggies in a coaching capacity. He worked in the youth side of West Bromwich Albion over five years. He worked with different age groups until moving up to the senior squad as assistant manager. In June 2009, Appleton was appointed first-team coach. After the board sacked Roberto Di Matteo and placed him on gardening leave on 6 February 2011, Appleton was placed in temporary charge of first-team affairs.[12] In his only game in charge as caretaker manager, West Brom drew 3–3 at home to West Ham, having been 3–0 up at half time.[13] On 11 February 2011, Roy Hodgson was made manager of West Brom, and Appleton remained as assistant.

Portsmouth

On 10 November 2011, Portsmouth unveiled Appleton as their new manager on a three-and-a-half-year contract; his first official managerial role.[14] Appleton's first League game in charge was a 2–0 defeat against Watford.[15] Appleton made two new signings in Joe Mattock and George Thorne on loan from West Bromwich Albion.[16] Appleton had previously worked with them when on the coaching staff at West Brom.

Appleton made his first permanent signing by getting Kelvin Etuhu on a free transfer after Etuhu spent eight months in jail for carrying out an assault outside a Manchester casino in February.[17] Following Portsmouth's fall into administration, Appleton insisted that he would not walk away from the club, vowing to "fight on until the end".[18]

Portsmouth were relegated from the Championship at the end of the 2011–12 season.

Blackpool

On 7 November 2012, Appleton was appointed manager of Blackpool on a one-year rolling contract.[19] His first game in charge was on 10 November 2012, a 2–2 draw at home to Bolton.[20] Appleton earned his first win as Blackpool manager on 1 December 2012, beating Peterborough 4–1 away from home, extending his unbeaten start to five games.[21] He was in charge for a further six League games, of which he won one, drew three and lost two.

Blackburn Rovers

On 10 January 2013, Appleton was given permission to speak to Blackburn Rovers, and it was announced a day later by Blackburn that he had agreed to join Rovers as manager after just 65 days in charge of Blackpool. Appleton said of his move across Lancashire to Blackburn: "I am delighted to be joining such a historic club. This is a fantastic opportunity for me and I am excited about the challenge we have ahead of us."[22]

Appleton's first match in charge of Rovers was on 19 January 2013, a 2–1 defeat against Charlton Athletic at Ewood Park.[23] He earned his first victory as Blackburn manager on 26 January 2013, a 3–0 win against Derby County at Pride Park in the FA Cup fourth round.[24] A week later he recorded his first league victory, a 2–0 win at home against Bristol City.[25] On 16 February 2013, Appleton's Blackburn team defeated Premier League side Arsenal in the Fifth Round of the FA Cup at the Emirates Stadium.[26] Blackburn's surprising victory over Arsenal, however, was followed by a run of eight games without a win, with Rovers losing an FA Cup quarter-final replay at home to Millwall.[3]

On 19 March 2013, after poor results in the Championship, Appleton was relieved of his duties as manager of Blackburn Rovers, having only won 4 of his 15 games in charge. A brief statement on the club website said: "Blackburn Rovers FC can confirm that Michael Appleton has been relieved of his duties as manager along with assistant manager Ashley Westwood, first-team coach Darren Moore and head of senior recruitment Luke Dowling."[27]

Appleton's tenure at Blackburn lasted 67 days, slightly longer than the length of his tenure at Blackpool. At his time of departure, Blackburn were positioned at 18th in the table, four points clear of the relegation zone, thirteen points adrift of the play-off places with only nine games to go.[27]

Lawsuit

"I am relieved finally to have received judgment and to be able to put this chapter of my life behind me"

Michael Appleton[11]

In June 2005, Appleton announced that he was going to sue the surgeon that he believed had ended his career early. The surgeon's name was not announced, and the case was set to start in early 2007.[28] In June West Bromwich Albion Football Club began a £1 million compensation claim against knee specialist Medhet Mohammed El-Safty, whom the club described as "negligent".[29] It was said if West Bromwich Albion had won the case, it could result in many similar cases, the appeal court was told.[30]

Appleton's case against Mr El-Safty was heard by a high court judge in Manchester, with evidence provided by Appleton's former manager Sir Alex Ferguson and former team mates Ryan Giggs and Gary Neville, Manchester United's former captain. Appleton won his case[31] and on 23 March 2007 he was awarded £1.5 million in damages – thought to be one of the biggest pay-outs to an English footballer[32] – as El-Safty had admitted he wrongly operated on him. It was said that he could have earned £500,000 a year in the Premier League and the High Court also commented that his career could have lasted until 2009.[11]

Managerial statistics

As of 19 March 2013
Team From To Record
G W D L Win %
West Bromwich Albion (caretaker) 6 February 2011 12 February 2011 1 0 1 0 &00.00
Portsmouth 10 November 2011 7 November 2012 51 13 11 27 25.49
Blackpool 7 November 2012 11 January 2013 12 2 8 2 16.67
Blackburn Rovers 11 January 2013 19 March 2013 15 4 5 6 26.67
Total 79 19 25 35 24.05

References

External links

  • BBC Sport profile
  • Soccerbase
  • Soccerbase
  • Lincoln City F.C. Official Archive Profile
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