The Football Association are delighted to announce the appointment of Paul Fairc
The Football Association are delighted to announce the appointment of Paul Fairclough as the new England National Game XI Manager.
Paul takes over the managerial reigns from John Owens and will face his first test as Manager on the 11th February at KV Ostend, in the U-23 international in Belgium.
Alex Stone, the Press Officer for the National Game 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 this season he has been employed as an integral part of Arsene Wenger's Scouting team during their Champions League campaign.
Paul will be retaining his role with Arsenal whilst working for The FA, and has already been talking to Steve Avory - Caretaker Manager for November's fixture against Italy, who will remain as Assistant Manager - ahead of the international in Belgium next month.
Speaking about his appointment as National Game XI Manager he said:
"I am very honoured and delighted to be asked by The FA to take this role, and cannot wait to get started.
"There are some fantastic young players currently in the Conference who I will be looking at ahead of the U-23 international in Belgium, before the open-age international in March against Holland.
"When I was Manager at Stevenage, the first player to be selected for the England team was David Venables, and it was a huge honour for David, the club and all the supporters.
"Being selected for your country is the biggest honour you can receive in the game, and I know the players enjoy the kudos of being selected, but as a former Conference Manager I will be sensitive to the needs of Managers when there will inevitably be promotion and relegation issues to address."
When talking about the managerial style of the Arsenal Double-winning Frenchman, Paul remarked:
"During my time with Arsenal, one of Arsene's qualities that I have learnt most from is his man-management skills. He is sensitive and perceptive to the day-to-day attitudes of his players, takes a genuine interest in them, and constantly looks at how individually he can improve their game."
If the student can implement 'The Professor's' theory over the coming months, players and managers from across the National League System stand to reap the rewards.
Details of Paul's first squad for the U-23 International against Belgium will be revealed exclusively on TheFA.com early next month.