The Football Association announced the appointment of Paul Fairclough as the new England National Game XI Manager
The FA announced the appointment of Paul Fairclough as the new England National Game XI Manager on 23 January 2003.
Paul took over the managerial reigns from John Owens and faced his first test as Manager on the 11 February at KV Ostend, against the Belgian U20 international side.
Mike Appleby, FA National Leagues Manager was quick to welcome the new manager on board, saying:
"Paul brings a wealth of experience to the role of National Game XI manager from both the professional and national game, and I am immensely looking forward to working with him.
"He has a proven track record of success at this level of the game, winning four Championships in ten years with Stevenage Borough.
"As well as converting to the UEFA 'A' Coaching Award, Paul has also gained a wealth of coaching experience from around the world and from Arsene Wenger, where Paul is currently also working as a Club Scout.
"We look forward to him bringing all of this experience to the job of England National Game XI Manager."
Paul started his playing career in the fabled Anfield bootroom under the legendary gaze of Bill Shankly, but after failing to break into the first team he moved on to University, before spending fourteen years playing non-League football for Wealdstone and St Albans City amongst others as a midfielder and sweeper.
In 1988 he started his first managerial job at Hertford Town, where he spent two years at the helm before moving to local rivals Stevenage Borough. Two successive promotions in his first two seasons took Stevenage into the Isthmian League Premier Division, and in 1993-94, he took the club into the Vauxhall Conference.
The club's finest ever moment was secured in 1995-96 when Stevenage Borough secured the Vauxhall Conference Championship, and with it a place in the Football League for the first time in their history.
Cruelly, the club were denied their promotion after failing to satisfy Football League ground grading regulations, but the excitement did not stop there.
In one of the most memorable FA Cup runs of recent years in 1997-98, Stevenage under Paul's leadership overcame the challenge of Cambridge United and Swindon Town, before setting up a Fourth Round tie against Newcastle United. After coming back from a goal down to secure a famous 1-1- draw, the side eventually went down fighting 2-1 in the replay, further enhancing the reputation of the Conference clubs and the quality of players below The Football League.
After leaving Stevenage in 1998, Paul embarked on sports consultancy work for Nike UK, where his work took him to Barcelona, Inter Milan and Brazil's training camp, as well as embarking on a spell as Club Scout for Arsenal Football Club, and coaching work as an Academy Director in Cameroon.
The lure of club management saw him return for two seasons as Manager at Stevenage Borough in February 2000, before returning to Arsenal, where he has been employed as an integral part of Arsene Wenger's Scouting team during their Champions League campaigns.
In 2004, Fairclough took over at Barnet and went on to enjoy nearly five years in charge at Underhill, working in the Football League. He left that role in December 2008, leaving the north London outfit as an established League Two club.