Nigel Worthington: Wikis


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Nigel Worthington
Personal information
Date of birth 4 November 1961 (1961-11-04) (age 48)
Place of birth    Ballymena, Northern Ireland
Height 1.81 m (5 ft 11+12 in)
Playing position Left-back
Club information
Current club Northern Ireland (manager)
Senior career1
Years Club App (Gls)*
Ballymena United
Notts County
Sheffield Wednesday
Leeds United
Stoke City
00? 0(?)
067 0(4)
338 (12)
043 0(1)
012 0(0)
009 0(0)   
National team
1984–1997 Northern Ireland 066 0(0)
Teams managed
Norwich City
Leicester City (caretaker)
Northern Ireland

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

Nigel Worthington (born 4 November 1961 in Ballymena, County Antrim) is a Northern Irish football manager and former player. He is currently manager of the Northern Ireland national team.

As a player, he was a left full back and occasional left midfielder, playing the majority of his club football for Sheffield Wednesday. As an international player, he is Northern Ireland's 9th most capped player with 66 appearances. At both Sheffield Wednesday and Leeds United Worthington played under Howard Wilkinson who would be a major influence on Worthington's own managerial style. Bryan Hamilton was also important to Worthington's career, since he made Worthington his international captain when manager of Northern Ireland and also invited him to Norwich to assist him when he (Hamilton) was manager at Carrow Road.

Worthington began his managerial career as player-manager of Blackpool in 1997 before he succeeded Hamilton as manager of Norwich City in 2000. He guided Norwich to the Premier League in the 2003–04 season but left just over two years afterwards, having failed to keep them in the top-flight in 2005. He was briefly caretaker manager of Leicester City in 2007 prior to starting his current role as manager of Northern Ireland.


Playing career

As a tough-tackling no-nonsense defender, Worthington started his career with home town team, Ballymena United, where he was Northern Ireland Young Player of the Year in 1980, prior to his transfer to Notts County where he spent three years.

Worthington is best remembered for his time at Sheffield Wednesday, where he spent ten years, and was a member of the Owls' side that won the League Cup as well as promotion to the top flight in 1990–91. Two years later, Worthington and his teammates were losing finalists in both the League Cup and FA Cup.

After leaving Wednesday in the summer of 1994, Worthington spent two years at Leeds United and one season at Stoke City. He was then named player-manager at Blackpool in 1997.


International career

Internationally, Worthington made his debut in a 1–1 draw away to Wales in May 1984. This was notable for being Northern Ireland's final game in the last ever British Championship, the point gained being enough for Northern Ireland to win (and keep in perpetuity) the famous old trophy. In Northern Ireland's subsequent successful Qualifying Campaign for the 1986 World Cup Finals in Mexico, Worthington was an important member of Billy Bingham's squad, starting two Qualifying matches and coming on as substitute in three more. In the Finals tournament itself, Worthington started two of Northern Ireland's three matches, against Algeria and Spain. Worthington's 66th and final cap was gained when he came on as a substitute in Northern Ireland's 3–0 victory in a home friendly against Belgium in February 1997.

Managerial career


Worthington's managerial career started as the player-manager at Blackpool at the beginning of the 1997–98 season. He soon retired from playing to take on sole managerial duties, but two and a half seasons in charge ended with his resignation following a worrying dip in form that saw the club lying in the thick of the Second Division relegation battle. He had little sympathy from the fans on his departure who accused him of adopting a long-ball game.

Norwich City

After acting as assistant to Howard Wilkinson with the England under-21 team, Worthington moved to Norwich City at the start of the 2000–01 season as assistant to Bryan Hamilton. He was appointed caretaker manager on 4 December 2000 after Hamilton resigned and the following month was appointed as permament manager[1] and he later saved the club from relegation to the Second Division.[2] The 2001–02 season, Worthington's first full season, saw the club reach the play-off final but lost to Birmingham City on penalties.

In his third full season in charge, 2003–04, Worthington took Norwich to the Premier League after winning the First Division with a club record 94 points.[2] However, the club struggled in Premier League and found itself in a battle against relegation. Before the final game of the season the club was in pole position to survive but they were defeated 6–0 by Fulham and ended the season 19th in the table having conceded 77 goals — only five other teams have ever conceded more goals in a Premier League season.

Norwich were tipped to make an instant return to the Premier League in the 2005–06 season having retained the majority of their squad.[3] The club failed to mount the expected promotion challenge which led to some supporters calling for Worthington to leave the club.[4] Despite pressure from supporters, Worthington retained his position to remain in charge for the beginning of the 2006–07 season. After a defeat to Plymouth Argyle in September 2006, Norwich's majority shareholders, Delia Smith and Michael Wynn-Jones, released a statement expecting Worthington to improve the team's performance in the following matches.[5] Norwich's following game, a 4–1 defeat to Burnley, was Worthington's final game in charge as he was sacked almost immediately after the result.[6]

Leicester City

Towards the end of the 2006–07 season, Worthington was appointed caretaker manager of relegation threatened Championship side Leicester City.[7 ] Despite losing his first game to former club Norwich, he was able to steer the Foxes to safety and stated his desire to become Leicester's permament manager.[8] He lost out on the position to Martin Allen.[9 ]

Northern Ireland

Worthington was appointed as manager of Northern Ireland in June 2007, initially on a short term contract until the end of the Euro 2008 qualifying tournament in November.[10 ] At the time of his appointment, Northern Ireland led their qualification group. Although Northern Ireland eventually finished third in their qualification group, the Irish Football Association were suitably impressed enough to give Worthington a two-year contract until 2010.[11]

Managerial stats

As of 3 April 2009.
Team Nat From To Record
G W L D Win %
Blackpool England 8 July 1997 23 December 1999 134 44 56 34 32.83
Norwich City England 4 December 2000 2 October 2006 280 114 104 62 40.71
Leicester City England 11 April 2007 25 May 2007 5 2 3 0 40.00
Northern Ireland Northern Ireland 1 June 2007 Present 17 7 7 3 41.17


Ballymena United

Sheffield Wednesday

  • League Cup: Winner 1991, Runner-up 1993
  • 1993 F.A. Cup: finalist

Norwich City (Manager)

  • Football League Division One Championship winner 2004

See also


  1. ^ "Worthington handed Norwich chance". BBC Sport. 2001-01-02. Retrieved 2008-02-05.  
  2. ^ a b "Worthy cause for a party". BBC Sport. 2004-05-04. Retrieved 2008-02-05.  
  3. ^ "The Championship form guide". BBC Sport. 2005-08-01. Retrieved 2008-02-05.  
  4. ^ "Supporters' meeting calls for change at the top". BBC Norfolk. 2006-03-06. Retrieved 2008-02-05.  
  5. ^ "Owners blast Norwich performance". BBC Sport. 2006-09-25. Retrieved 2008-02-05.  
  6. ^ "Norwich sack manager Worthington". BBC Sport. 2006-10-01. Retrieved 2008-02-05.  
  7. ^ "Worthington takes Leicester job". BBC Sport. 2007-04-11. Retrieved 2007-04-11.  
  8. ^ "Worthington awaits Foxes decision". BBC Sport. 2007-05-02. Retrieved 2008-02-05.  
  9. ^ "Allen named new Leicester manager". BBC Sport. 2007-05-25. Retrieved 2007-05-25.  
  10. ^ "Worthington named N Ireland boss". BBC Sport. 2007-06-01. Retrieved 2007-06-01.  
  11. ^ "IFA to name Worthington as boss". BBC Sport. 2008-01-07. Retrieved 2008-02-05.  
  • 12 Canary Greats by Rick Waghorn, published by Jarrold Publishing (2004), ISBN 978-0711740266

External links


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