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Nigel Spackman
Personal information
Full name Nigel James Spackman
Date of birth 2 December 1960 (1960-12-02) (age 49)
Place of birth    Romsey, England
Playing position Midfielder (retired)
Senior career1
Years Club App (Gls)*

Queens Park Rangers
Sheffield United

119 (10)
141 (12)
051 0(0)
029 0(1)
100 0(1)
067 0(0)
024 0(0)
521 (24)   
Teams managed
Sheffield United (player-manager)

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

Nigel James Spackman (born 2 December 1960 in Romsey, Hampshire) is an English football manager and former player. He was formerly a midfield player who was an integral part of the much-admired Liverpool team of 1988.




Playing career

Spackman started at Andover and spent his first three years as a professional with Bournemouth before joining Chelsea for £35,000 in the summer of 1983. He signed for Chelsea as part of manager John Neal's re-building of the side alongside the likes of Kerry Dixon, Pat Nevin and David Speedie. Spackman scored on his debut for the club in a 5–0 opening day win over Derby County, though he was not a regular goalscorer. Chelsea were promoted at the end of that season as Second Division champions and finished 6th in the following two seasons back in the top tier, with Spackman a near ever-present. During the 1986–87 season, several key players, including Spackman, fell out with manager John Hollins and he was sporadically left out of the starting line-up or played out of position. He was sold to Liverpool in 1987 for £400,000.

Initially he was a frequently used substitute at Liverpool, and he was in the team which lost the 1987 League Cup final to Arsenal before his big year arrived. This was the year when Liverpool played what observers now cliché as "total football", earning praise from distinguished retired professionals like ex-France skipper Michel Platini and former England winger Tom Finney. Spackman only had a regular role in the Liverpool team during this season, but played an essential role.

When regular midfield general Ronnie Whelan was injured early in the campaign, Spackman was handed his No.5 shirt and he never missed a game for the whole campaign, gaining respect and plaudits for his unselfish running and industry around the park. Not the most glamorous player in a team which featured the likes of John Barnes, Peter Beardsley and John Aldridge, Spackman was quickly identified as an unsung hero beyond the appreciation of the Liverpool supporters, who loved him.

Liverpool lost just twice in the League championship all season, claiming the title with ease and Spackman was in the side which played what remains arguably Liverpool's finest club performance in English football when they beat Nottingham Forest 5–0. Spackman's stamina and unselfishness set up the last goal for Aldridge. Whelan was fit again with a month of the season left, but wasn't selected. Spackman was selected for the rest of the campaign, including the FA Cup final, which Liverpool surprisingly lost to Wimbledon. Spackman and team-mate Gary Gillespie both played that game with flamboyant bandages around their heads after the two had suffered cuts in a clash during a game against Derby County the previous week.

He left Liverpool for Queens Park Rangers in February 1989 but stayed there for less than a year, joining Scottish side Rangers in November 1989, winning honours there. He went back to Chelsea in 1992 before moving to Sheffield United in 1996 as player-coach and assistant-manager to Howard Kendall.

Managerial career

When Kendall left the Blades in 1997 Spackman became caretaker manager before being appointed as manager on 5 August. United had a good start to the season but huge losses and high wages from the previous season's promotion failure led to enforced sales of key personnel. The final straw being the sale of both of the clubs top scoring strikers (Brian Deane – 11 league goals – went to S.L. Benfica & Jan Åge Fjørtoft – 9 league goals – to Barnsley) on the same day. Even though leaving midseason, Deane would go on to become the teams top scorer that year, such was the lack of replacements. Spackman was unhappy over this and resigned in March 1998.

He later managed Barnsley between January and October 2001 but was sacked with the club near the bottom of the table. They were relegated at the end of that season. He re-entered management with Millwall in May 2006 but left only a few months later in September, with the club in the relegation zone of League One. As of 2009, he has failed to manage any club for a full season.

Media career

After Spackman left Barnsley, he began a new career in the media, becoming a pundit with Sky Sports before re-entering management with Millwall in 2006. Spackman currently appears as a regular pundit on Singapore's Football Channel, alongside other former players such as John Burridge and Rob Lee. Spackman regularly appears on Sentana Sport Saturday afternoon as an expert pundit. It is rumored that he is off to the newly created Total Soccer Channel as head football pundit. However, this may be delayed due to current contractual obligations with former Sheffield United and Blackburn left back Alan Wright to be his replacement.

Despite playing the majority of his career with Chelsea FC and having a stadium entrance at Stamford Bridge named after him, Spackman commented before the Champion's League semi-final between Chelsea and Liverpool (30 April 2008): "My loyalties have always been with Liverpool, though I don't give that away too easily," he revealed. "That is actually why I am not going to the game, because there is so much pressure. I just hope Liverpool will pull through and we play Man Utd in Moscow."

External links


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