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Ian Atkins
Personal information
Full name Ian Leslie Atkins
Date of birth 16 January 1957 (1957-01-16) (age 53)
Place of birth    Sheldon, England
Height 5 ft 10 in (1.78 m)
Playing position Defender / Midfielder
Youth career
1973–1975 Shrewsbury Town
Senior career1
Years Club App (Gls)*
Shrewsbury Town
Ipswich Town
Birmingham City
Colchester United
Birmingham City
Cambridge United
279 (55)
077 0(6)
007 0(1)
077 0(1)
093 0(6)
041 0(0)
008 0(0) [1]
002 0(0)

007 0(0)   
Teams managed
Colchester United [2]
Cambridge United [2]
Northampton Town
Chester City
Carlisle United
Oxford United
Bristol Rovers
Torquay United

1 Senior club appearances and goals
counted for the domestic league only.
* Appearances (Goals)

Ian Leslie Atkins (born 16 January 1957 in Sheldon, Birmingham) is a former English professional footballer who became a manager later in his career, and now works as a coach with Sunderland. During a 20-year playing career he had eight clubs, including two spells with Sunderland and Birmingham City and playing more than 200 games with his first club Shrewsbury Town. He has managed eight Football League sides winning promotion with one of those; Northampton Town.


Playing career

Ian Atkins began his career as an apprentice with Shrewsbury Town, when he left school in 1973. He turned professional in January 1975. In seven years at the club, he made 279 appearances and scored 58 times, helping them win the Third Division championship in 1979. He helped them avoid relegation in the next three seasons before his transfer to Sunderland for a fee of £80,000 before the start of the 1982-83. Shrewsbury, against all odds, retained their Second Division status for seven seasons after Atkins left.

Atkins stayed at Roker Park for two two years, before he moved to Everton in October 1984 for a fee of £70,000. His stay with Everton lasted just one year, and he played only a minimal part in the league title and European Cup Winners' Cup triumphs.

In September 1985 he was sold to Ipswich Town for £100,000. In the three years he was at Town he played 77 matches and scored four goals, but was unable to prevent relegation to the Second Division and by the time he signed for Birmingham City in March 1988 (in a £50,000 deal) Ipswich had still not reclaimed their First Division place.

Coaching and managerial career

In the summer of 1990, Atkins was appointed player-manager of Colchester United who had just been relegated to the Conference. Despite being one of the few teams with a full-time squad, Colchester finished runners-up to Barnet. Atkins left Layer Road in July 1991 to return to Birmingham City as player-assistant manager under Terry Cooper, while Roy McDonough took over at Colchester and guided them to promotion back to the Football League as Conference champions.

In December 1992, Atkins took over as manager at Cambridge United, but was unable to prevent their relegation from the new Division One and was dismissed in May 1993. He then had a short second spell as a player at Sunderland, before he ended his playing days at Doncaster Rovers in Division Three.

In October 1994, he was appointed manager of Northampton Town. In the 1996–97 season, he guided Northampton Town to promotion by winning the Division Three promotion playoffs. They reached the Division Two playoff final the following season losing out to Grimsby Town.

The 1998–99 season saw Northampton relegated to Division Three—the third season in a row that the previous year's playoff losers had been relegated. Atkins handed in his resignation early in the 1999-2000 season, and his successor Kevin Wilson guided the Cobblers to promotion.

He was appointed manager of Division Three strugglers Chester City in January 2000, but he quit six months later, after the club were relegated to the Conference after 69 years in The Football League. Most of the damage had been inflicted before Atkins arrived, as he came within a whisker of overturning a major points deficit inherited from the time chairman Terry Smith had been manager. Atkins later had a year-long spell in charge of Carlisle United (who had survived at Chester's expense) between June 2000 and July 2001, helping them beat the drop to the Conference in difficult circumstances.

Atkins left Carlisle to become assistant manager to Alan Cork at Cardiff City in July 2001,[3] but was sacked in December 2001,[4] and soon after joined Oxford United as director of football. He took over from Mark Wright as the man in charge in November 2001, but was not formally named as manager of Oxford until April 2002.[5] 2001–02 was Oxford's first season in the bottom division of the football league for over 30 years, and they finished a record low 21st place in the final table. Atkins rebuilt the team during the 2002 close season and the new-look squad looked capable of achieving a far higher position in the coming season. Oxford United occupied the automatic promotion and playoff places in Division Three for much of the 2002–03 season, but a slight dip in form during the final weeks of the season saw them finish eighth in the final table—one place short of the playoffs. A lively start to the 2003–04 season saw Oxford United leading the Division Three table at Christmas with just one defeat in over 20 fixtures. Atkins was suspended in March 2004[6] and then dismissed the following month[7] for talking to Bristol Rovers about the possibility of taking over as manager, which he subsequently did.

Atkins was at Bristol Rovers for just over a year, and he was sacked after a disappointing start to the 2005–06 season. He returned to management in April 2006 when he was handed the seemingly impossible task of keeping Torquay United in The Football League.[8], having joined the club as an advisor to John Cornforth the previous month.[9] However, a run of four straight wins and a draw on the last day of the season lifted Torquay out of the relegation zone, and then Atkins was appointed manager for the following season.[10]

However, on 27 November 2006, Atkins was replaced as manager by former Czech World Cup star Luboš Kubík.[11] Atkins was offered the role of Director of Football,[12] but turned it down.[13]

For the 2007-2008 season, Atkins joined Tom Ross on the Birmingham radio station BRMB to co-commentate on Birmingham City matches.

He now works for AFC Sunderland as a recruitment officer (scout).

He joined BBC Radio Suffolk as a summariser for their coverage of Ipswich Town F.C. for the 2009–10 season.[14]

Notes and references

  1. ^ as player-assistant manager
  2. ^ a b as player-manager
  3. ^ "Atkins leaves Carlisle". BBC Sport. 2001-07-11. Retrieved 2007-10-26. 
  4. ^ "Cardiff sack Atkins". BBC Sport. 2001-10-01. Retrieved 2007-10-26. 
  5. ^ "Atkins handed contract". BBC Sport. 2002-04-11. Retrieved 2007-10-26. 
  6. ^ "Oxford suspend Atkins". BBC Sport. 2004-03-20. Retrieved 2007-10-26. 
  7. ^ "Rix gets Oxford job". BBC Sport. 2004-04-21. Retrieved 2007-10-26. 
  8. ^ "Atkins takes over as Torquay manager". BBC Sport. 2006-04-13. Retrieved 2007-10-26. 
  9. ^ "Atkins moves to struggling Gulls". BBC Sport. 2006-03-09. Retrieved 2007-10-26. 
  10. ^ "Atkins stays at Plainmoor". BBC Devon. 2006-05-12. Retrieved 2007-10-26. 
  11. ^ "Czech star Kubik named Gulls boss". BBC Sport. 2006-11-27. Retrieved 2007-10-26. 
  12. ^ "Atkins sorry to bow out with loss". BBC Sport. 2006-11-26. Retrieved 2007-10-26. 
  13. ^ "Torquay's Czech mate". BBC Devon. 2006-11-27. Retrieved 2007-10-26. 
  14. ^ "Seven-a-side". BBC Suffolk. 6 August 2009. Retrieved 12 August 2009. 

External links



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