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Len Ashurst
Personal information
Date of birth 10 March 1939 (1939-03-10) (age 70)
Place of birth Liverpool, England
Playing position Defender
Youth career
1953–? Liverpool
Senior career*
Years Team Apps (Gls)
1957–1970 Sunderland 409 (4)
1970–1973 Hartlepool United 46 (2)
Teams managed
1971–1974 Hartlepool United
1974–1975 Gillingham
1975–1977 Sheffield Wednesday
1978–1982 Newport County
1982–1984 Cardiff City
1984–1985 Sunderland
1989–1991 Cardiff City
1992–1993 Weymouth
* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only.
† Appearances (Goals).

Len Ashurst (born 10 March 1939 in Liverpool) is a former footballer, manager and football administrator in England.


As a player, Ashurst was a left-sided defender. He joined Liverpool in 1953 as an apprentice. After being released, he joined Sunderland in 1957, where he would go on to spend 14 years.[1] He made his debut the following year against Ipswich Town and went on to make 458 appearances for the club; putting him 2nd in the all time appearances list in Sunderland's history, and one of only two outfield players to top 400 appearances. He scored four Sunderland goals during his time at the club.

In the late sixties, alongside Jimmy Montgomery, Cecil Irwin, Martin Harvey, Charlie Hurley and Jim McNab, Ashurst formed one of the most notable and most settled back fives in Sunderland's history.

After receiving a testimonial match against Newcastle United, Len was given a free-transfer to Hartlepool United where he became a player-coach. After finally retiring from playing in 1973, Ashurst managed Gillingham, Sheffield Wednesday, Newport County and Cardiff City before returning to Sunderland as manager in March 1984.

Ashurst was manager of Newport County from 1978 to 1982, the most successful period in the clubs history. Newport were promoted to the Third Division in the 1979-80 season and won the Welsh Cup, entitling them to play in the 1980-81 season European Cup Winners' Cup, reaching the quarter finals. Ashurst was sacked by Newport County in February 1982.

His time as Sunderland manager was not successful, despite taking them to their first ever League Cup final.[2] Performance in the league was poor and Sunderland were relegated from the first division. Ashurst was sacked in May 1985.

After the Sunderland job, Ashurst went on to become a coach with Kuwait national football team and later the Qatar national football team.

After returning to England, he was assistant manager of Blackpool, and then in September 1989 he returned for a second spell as manager of Cardiff City following the departure of Frank Burrows. He spent two years in Ninian Park before resigning in 1991 as the team struggled both on and off the pitch.[3] His last managerial role was a one year stay at Weymouth.[4]

Since the mid 1990s, Ashurst has been heavily involved in an administrator's role at the Football Association specifically with regards to the Academy system.[5]

Ashurst published his autobiography 'Left Back in Time' in March 2009.


External links



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