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Ian Woan
Personal information
Full name Ian Woan
Date of birth December 14, 1967 (1967-12-14) (age 42)
Place of birth    Heswall, England
Height 1.83 m (6 ft 0 in)
Playing position Midfielder
Club information
Current club Portsmouth (Coach)
Youth career
1983–1985 Manchester City
Senior career1
Years Club App (Gls)*
Caernarfon Town
Nottingham Forest
Swindon Town
Columbus Crew
Miami Fusion
Shrewsbury Town
Syracuse Salty Dogs
00? 0(?)
00? 0(?)
00? 0(?)
00? 0(?)
218 (31)
003 0(0)
022 0(3)
0030 (0)
001 0(0)
050 0(7)
00? 0(3)   
Teams managed
2009 Portsmouth (caretaker)

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

Ian Woan (born 14 December 1967 in Heswall, Wirral) is an English former footballer in the mid-1990s who is currently coach of the Under 18s at Portsmouth.

Woan started his career in 1985 at Manchester City but never made a start for the then First Division club. After playing in the lower leagues for five years, his big break came, aged 22, when on 14 March 1990 he joined Nottingham Forest for a fee of £80,000 from Runcorn.

Woan was frustrated not to make an appearance for the Midlanders in the latter half of the 89/90 season but his endeavour was rewarded almost ten months after joining the twice European Champions. Woan made his debut for The Reds on 2 January 1991 as a substitute in the 6-2 victory over Norwich City and went on to make 12 appearances that season adding 3 league goals to the team’s cause. Woan successfully forced himself into first team contention with consistent displays down the left wing as Forest reached the FA Cup Final, and started as Forest recorded 16 goals in just 3 games. While considered to be lacking pace and work-rate, this was more than compensated by his fierce shooting and elegant passing.

95/96 - Woan's finest season

Praised for his attacking flair, crossing and shooting ability, but questioned over his work-rate and team ethic, Woan established himself as one of the most prominent figures in the Forest team. His guile and ability helped the team finish in 3rd place in the 94/95 season booking a UEFA Cup place for the following year.

A strong European cup run saw Forest reach the last 8 of the competition, but despite Forest team-mate Steve Stone being called up to the Three Lions squad, Woan never received the call. This despite the fact Woan was one of the few naturally talented English left footed midfielders plying his trade in the top flight. Nethertheless, the 95/96 season was to prove a high point for the winger and in hindsight probably his greatest ever campaign. Forest mounted two quarter-final cup runs – in the FA and UEFA Cups – but finished a disappointing 9th in the league and failed to qualify for Europe.

Woan produced some of his best displays that season culminating in probably his finest individual performance for Forest when Woan netted two free kicks at Home in the 5th round of the FA Cup. Woan later confided "I knew I wouldn't stand a chance [of taking the free kicks] had Stuart [Pearce] not been injured."

Woan did not disappoint. The first free kick from 25 yards was struck to perfection beating Ian Walker in the Spurs' goal. The second free kick was even better. Steve Stone was brought down by Ronny Rosenthal just outside the box as the winger attempted a wide dash into the box but was upended. The ball was placed on the right hand line of the penalty box and Woan had the audacity to attempt a shot at goal from such a tight position. Woan sent in a crashing left-footed effort that proved unsavable for England goalkeeper Walker for the second time that night. The commentator who was covering the match for TV famously said the line "Ian Woan makes them moan" after this goal was scored.

Woan later admitted, "I've tried that a hundred times and it always ends up in the Trent!" Forest drew the game 2-2 and went on to win the replay at White Hart Lane 3-1 on penalties with Woan converting his spot kick after a 1-1 draw at White Hart Lane. The Home game had initially been postponed due to snow which meant soon after their victory, Forest faced Aston Villa in the quarter-finals and were disappointed to lose 1-0.

It was a disappointing end to a marvellous season for Nottingham Forest, but Woan still had one final contribution to make that season. Newcastle United - clinging on to their hopes for a first Premier League title - badly needing a win at the City Ground on 2 May 1996, but a typical long distance effort from Woan was to deny the Toon Army who drew the game 1-1 and subsequently lost the title to Manchester United.

Along with Frank Clark's departure in December 1996, Woan's Forest career began to suffer although the winger was the only player to remain with the Reds for the entirety of the 90’s decade. During his ten year spell at the club, Woan made 189 league appearances – as well as 32 substitute appearance – delivering 31 goals during his time. The midfielder was considered a dead ball specialist – although Stuart Pearce was often above him in the pecking order – as well as possessing a deadly long range shot and good crossing ability.

Post Forest days

Upon leaving Forest in 2000, and after a short trial with Bolton Wanderers, Woan signed for Swindon Town and in the 2000/01 season, producing 3 goals from 25 appearances in a successful stint. A year later Woan found himself joining American outfit Columbus Crew. Married to an American wife, the then 33 year old winger endured a difficult season in Major League Soccer with the team winning just two of their eight opening matches. This led to the replacing of Tom Fitzgerland, the man who had secured Woan's signature in America. Without Fitzgerald, Woan was less in demand and his American dream petered out in unexplosive fashion. At the end of the season, Woan was traded to the Miami Fusion and finished out his MLS career with them.[1]

Unsurprisingly, Woan returned to England and signed for struggling Shrewsbury Town who languished at the bottom of the Third Division (now League Two). Woan enjoyed linking up with ex-Forest striker Nigel Jemson and the pair notably inspired the Shrews to one of their greatest ever results. The Shropshire outfit defeated Everton – who featured a young Wayne Rooney – in January 2003 in the third round of the FA Cup with Jemson scoring twice. It was Woan's last minute cross that insured the Premiership side’s fate but the Shrews were to be knocked out 4-0 by Chelsea the next round in a televised match. Shrewsbury Town were relegated that season and Woan returned to America.

Woan joined the Syracuse Salty Dogs of the A-League (the U.S. second tier) and competed in another season in the States before deciding to return to England and back to Swindon Town where he had played so well following his glory days at Nottingham Forest. Woan is now a qualified coach and was in charge of the under 18 side at the County Ground until deciding to move to Rushden & Diamonds as first team coach for Paul Hart in July 2006. Following the sacking of Hart later on in 2006, Woan then returned to Nottingham Forest, chrged with coaching some of the youngsters coming through the Forest Academy. In March 2007 he was signed for Hucknall Town by one-time team-mate Andy Legg, but did play in any games.

On 7 July 2007, it was announced that Woan had joined Premier League outfit Portsmouth as coach of their Under-18s. In December 2009, he was appointed joint Caretaker Manager at Portsmouth along with Paul Groves, following the dismissal of Paul Hart. His appointment only lasted several days, and he moved aside for the arrival of Avram Grant as the full time manager.


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