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5 former players who became football managers in England's lower leagues

5 former players who became football managers in England's lower leagues
© Reuters
Sol Campbell has taken the reins at Macclesfield.

New Macclesfield boss Sol Campbell is the latest in a clutch of former top players to take on managerial challenges in England's lower leagues.

Here, Press Association Sport examines a few key stints.

Bobby Moore, Oxford City

MEDIA Pathe Moore
Bobby Moore, centre, lifting the World Cup with England in 1966 (British Pathe PLC)

England's World Cup-winning captain took a bizarre turn into management by taking the reins at Isthmian League outfit Oxford City. The superstar former West Ham defender took control in December 1980, only for the club to suffer relegation at the end of that campaign. Moore drafted in one Harry Redknapp to bolster his coaching staff, but the short-lived experiment ended after just two seasons.

Paul Merson, Walsall

Paul Merson Walsall Caretaker Manager
Paul Merson. pictured, in training during his stint at Walsall player-manager (Nick Potts/PA)

Former Arsenal and England wing Merson could not stop Walsall slipping out of the old League Division One when stepping up as player manager in 2004. He was handed the job on a permanent basis despite relegation, but ultimately struggled to turn his off-field career into a success. A 14th-place finish in League One the next season built frustrations, before Merson was finally sacked in February 2006, with the club languishing in further relegation trouble.

Paul Gascoigne, Kettering

SOCCER Kettering
Paul Gascoigne, pictured, during his ill-fated time as Kettering manager (Steve Parsons/PA)

Former England midfielder Gascoigne's first foray into management lasted just 39 days. In late 2005 Gascoigne took the helm at Conference North club Kettering. The chairman Imraan Ladak had idolised Gascoigne as a player and doubtless romanticised the former Tottenham star's potential role. The club sacked Gascoigne after just 39 days in post however, insisting he had been drunk during work commitments.

Paul Ince, Macclesfield

Soccer – Macclesfield Town training – Moss Rose Ground
Paul Ince, pictured, during his time as Macclesfield manager (Nick Potts/PA)

Macclesfield's record for appointing Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME) coaches and managers comfortably predates their appointment of Campbell. Former England star Paul Ince took over as player-manager at Macclesfield in October 2006 with the club bottom of League Two. Ince steered the club to safety that season, before moving on to roles with MK Dons and Blackburn.

Kevin Nolan, Notts County

Nolan dragged Notts County to League Two safety in the 2016-17 season, before inspiring a run to the play-offs the following year. But just when the former Bolton, Newcastle and West Ham star looked to push on, his tenure hit the skids. Nolan was sacked just five games into this year's campaign, back in August, with the club bottom of the table.


Click here for more stories about Paul Gascoigne

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