Kevin Blackwell

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Kevin Blackwell
Personal information
Full name Kevin Patrick Blackwell [1]
Date of birth (1958-12-21) 21 December 1958 (age 62) [1]
Place of birth Luton, England [1]
Height 5 ft 11 in (1.80 m) [2]
Position(s) Goalkeeper [1]
Club information
Current team
Middlesbrough (assistant manager)
Youth career
Cambridge United
Senior career*
Bedford Town
Barton Rovers
Middlesex Wanderers
1979–1980 Barnet 25 (0)
1980–1986 Boston United 227 (0)
1986 Barnet 5 (0)
1986–1989 Scarborough 69 (0)
1989–1993 Notts County 0 (0)
1993 Torquay United 18 (0)
1993–1995 Huddersfield Town 5 (0)
1995–1997 Plymouth Argyle 24 (0)
1998–2000 Sheffield United 0 (0)
Teams managed
2004–2006 Leeds United
2007–2008 Luton Town
2008–2010 Sheffield United
2012–2013 Bury
* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only

Kevin Patrick Blackwell (born 21 December 1958) is an English former professional football goalkeeper who since retiring as a player has worked as a coach and a manager.


Early career

Blackwell was born in Luton and began his football career as an apprentice at Cambridge United, with Ron Atkinson as his manager. After failing to make the grade at the Abbey Stadium, he moved into Non-League football, playing for Bedford Town while working as a bricklayer. He later played in the 1978 FA Vase final for Barton Rovers and for Middlesex Wanderers before being signed by Barnet.

In 1980, he moved to Boston United for a fee of £5,000, saving a penalty at Wembley in the 1985 FA Trophy final. He returned to Barnet in 1986 before Neil Warnock signed him for Scarborough in November the same year.

That season saw Scarborough promoted to the Football League and Blackwell remained at the club for their first two league seasons, making 44 league appearances in addition to those made in the Conference. Warnock moved to Notts County in January 1989, and in November of that year he returned to Scarborough to sign Blackwell for £15,000. In just over 3 years at Meadow Lane, Blackwell never made a league appearance, and in January 1993, when Warnock took over at Torquay United, Blackwell followed him, playing 18 league games in a successful battle to stay in the Football League.


At the end of the season, Warnock moved to Huddersfield Town and in August 1993, Blackwell once again joined him, this time taking on coaching duties in addition to his playing role. His playing opportunities were limited to three full league appearances, plus another two as a substitute.

In August 1995, Blackwell followed Warnock to Plymouth Argyle on a free transfer and was appointed player-youth coach. Warnock left in February 1997, but Blackwell remained at Argyle, working as assistant manager to Mick Jones. He remained registered as a player, solely as a precautionary measure, but in March 1998 returned to full-time training as emergency cover for Argyle's only keeper Jon Sheffield. He was never called upon and ended his career after 24 league appearances for Argyle.

In June 1998, Jones was sacked after Plymouth's relegation, and a month later Blackwell also left with new manager Kevin Hodges wanting to appoint his own management team, which was understandable given how well Hodges and Steve McCall had worked together at Torquay United the previous season.

By now Neil Warnock was manager of Bury, and Blackwell was soon appointed goalkeeping coach at Bury, eventually becoming assistant manager. In October 1998, Blackwell found himself making headlines from an incident that had happened during his time at Huddersfield. He was taken to court by the family of a girl whose arm was broken by one of his stray shots during the warm-up.[ citation needed ] Soon after Torquay chairman Mike Bateson banned his own players from shooting at the goals during the pre-match warm up and the case was delayed so an out of court settlement could be reached.[ citation needed ]

In December 1999, Neil Warnock was appointed manager of Sheffield United and took Blackwell with him as his assistant. In September 2000, Blackwell's thoughts were turned to playing again, he was still registered as a player and due to injuries was the only cover for the Blades' first choice keeper.

In August 2014 Blackwell was reunited with Neil Warnock at Crystal Palace. Working together for the first time in eleven years, Blackwell being appointed a Technical Director. Blackwell was asked to continue his role after Warnock had departed until the appointment of Alan Pardew. [3]

In February 2015 Blackwell started coaching at Barnet, helping Martin Allen with the Bees' title push in the Conference Premier until the end of the season.

In November 2015 Blackwell was brought in by Warnock, then interim manager at Queens Park Rangers, to assist him at the club. [4]

In February 2016, Blackwell was appointed assistant manager to Warnock at Rotherham United along with Ronnie Jepson. [5] The management team left Rotherham in May of the same year, having guided the club to safety in the Championship. [6]

In October 2016, Blackwell again teamed up with Warnock and Jepson, as assistant manager at Cardiff City. [7]


Leeds United

Blackwell left Sheffield United for Leeds United to join Peter Reid as his Assistant Manager in 2003. He remained in this role under Eddie Gray following Reid's dismissal before taking over as manager of Leeds in the summer 2004 following the club's relegation from the Premiership. Handed the task of rebuilding Leeds' team after huge debts forced the jettisoning of its highly paid stars, Blackwell made a record number of signings for the club in 2004–05. He focused on value for money, buying players that, while talented, had not made the highest grade. Although early results were poor, perhaps affected by boardroom turmoil that saw the new board struggle to put the club onto a sound financial footing and in time led to its takeover by Ken Bates,[ citation needed ] Blackwell led the side to challenge for the playoffs, before a run of draws slowed progress, leaving Leeds in mid-table.

Blackwell had been seen as a temporary appointment, perhaps to be replaced by a more glamorous name,[ citation needed ] but his success in stabilising the team – and his initial popularity with fans – led Bates to suggest he had a long-term future at the club.

In the summer of 2005 Blackwell was given financial backing and bought some high-profile players for the new season. Proven strikers Richard Cresswell, Rob Hulse and Robbie Blake gave Blackwell plenty of firepower up front, while USA winger Eddie Lewis arrived to supply the ammunition. Once again Blackwell had convinced in-demand players to join Leeds. Blackwell's shrewd tactics away from Elland Road and attacking style at home (where 9 out of 10 matches were won) proved very effective and, by the end of February, Blackwell had guided Leeds to 3rd spot and an almost guaranteed play off spot, with automatic promotion remaining a possibility. The Leeds team, however, then produced some distinctly average performances and settled for their play-off place.

Blackwell took his Leeds team into the Championship play-off final, after beating Preston North End 3–1 on aggregate in the semi-finals. However, Leeds lost the final 3–0 to Watford on 21 May 2006. A string of bad results followed in both pre-season and the start of the 2006–07 and on 20 September 2006 his contract as Leeds United manager was terminated. As Blackwell left the club, Leeds were lying 23rd in the table, with seven points from eight games.

After leaving Leeds, Blackwell travelled around Europe going to big-name clubs such as Real Madrid and Internazionale acquiring knowledge of further training techniques to help him with his management career. [8] On 20 November 2006, he announced he was suing Leeds United for wrongful dismissal after it was confirmed he was sacked for gross misconduct on the grounds of "negative comments made in the press about the club's finances". [9]

Luton Town

On 27 March 2007, Blackwell was announced as the new manager of Luton Town and began his tenure with a draw against Burnley. [10] Luton were already in the bottom 3 when Blackwell took over and were 9 points from safety with 3 games to go. Blackwell set about rebuilding the side, his priority to get in some experience. To achieve this he sold centre back Leon Barnett to West Bromwich Albion, and defender Kevin Foley to Wolves, as well as releasing centre-back Russ Perrett and £500,000 signing Adam Boyd, who went on to score 14 goals that season for Leyton Orient. He also lost Markus Heikkinen on a free transfer. In replacement he brought in high-profile players such as Paul Peschisolido, Chris Perry, Don Hutchison, Paul McVeigh and Paul Furlong. He also signed some younger players in Alan Goodall, Richard Jackson and Dave Edwards.

The club entered administration in late 2007, and in January 2008 Blackwell announced he would leave Luton after working a month's notice. However, he was sacked a week after making this statement. [11] [12]

Sheffield United

Blackwell, took the position of Sheffield United manager replacing Bryan Robson on 14 February 2008 until the end of the season. He was assisted by his former Luton Town assistant Sam Ellis. [13]

After the Blades 2–0 defeat at home to Charlton Athletic on 1 March 2008, Blackwell was critical of his team's performance, describing it as "insipid" and "embarrassing" in an interview on BBC Radio Sheffield. [14] [15] Since then, the team went on a five-game unbeaten run drawing at Ipswich Town and winning four in a row against Plymouth Argyle, Coventry City, Norwich City and Barnsley to improve his chances of landing the job permanently. The 4-match winning streak ended to a 3–1 defeat against Preston North End. The team responded with a 3–0 victory against Leicester City, James Beattie scored his first hat-trick of the club in that game. In his first Sheffield derby as manager, the Blades showed much improved passion levels as they came from 2–0 down against Sheffield Wednesday to draw 2–2 with Beattie scoring a stunning free kick very late in the game to rescue a point. This was followed by a 2–1 victory at Burnley, with another superb Beattie free kick, and a 2–0 victory over Hull when United went down to ten men after skipper Chris Morgan was sent off. In the penultimate game of the season, the Blades won 2–1 against Bristol City with Speed scoring a brace. With one game remaining in the season, United remained in with a chance of making the play offs, a considerable achievement after the Robson era. Sheffield United lost 3–2 on the last day of the season against Southampton and finished ninth, four points off the final playoff place.

In the 2008–2009 season Blackwell took Sheffield United to The Championship play off final after beating Preston North End 2–1 over two legs. Sheffield United lost the final 1–0 against Burnley.

On 14 August 2010 after losing 3–0 to Queens Park Rangers, the club website confirmed that Blackwell had left the club by mutual consent. [16]


It was announced on 26 September 2012 that the board had hired Kevin Blackwell as permanent manager. Blackwell had previously managed at Leeds United and Sheffield United, and his appointment was widely regarded as something of a coup for Bury. Blackwell began his tenure with a 2–2 draw at Stevenage followed by a 1–0 home loss to Swindon Town prompting him to blast some of his players as 'garbage'. After being winless in his first five games in charge of Bury before they beat Hartlepool United 2–1 to earn their first win of the season, the result sparked a run of form which saw Blackwell's side lose only once in eight games in all competitions, a spell which included five victories. Bury were a point clear of the relegation zone by the end of November, a remarkable turnaround from being seven points adrift when Blackwell took over. In mid December the club was placed under a transfer embargo due to falling into financial difficulty as a result of poor attendance figures. This led to numerous players being released and loaned out to keep the club solvent which ultimately crippled the playing side of the club. As the season wore on Bury F.C were not able to fill a team sheet leading to the last few games with only twelve players available. Bury were officially relegated from league one on Saturday 13 April 2013 after losing at home 1–0 to Oldham Athletic following a late Matt Smith header.

Managerial statistics

As of 12 October 2013
Leeds United Flag of England.svg 1 June 200420 September 200611444373338.60
Luton Town Flag of England.svg 27 March 200716 January 20084716102134.04
Sheffield United Flag of England.svg 14 February 200814 August 201012553363642.40
Bury Flag of England.svg 26 September 201214 October 20135713182622.81

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  1. 1 2 3 4 "Kevin Blackwell". Barry Hugman's Footballers. Retrieved 2 May 2020.
  2. Dunk, Peter (20 August 1987). Rothmans Football Yearbook 1987–88. Queen Anne Press. p. 316. ISBN   978-0-3561435-4-5 . Retrieved 2 May 2020.
  3. "kevin Blackwell | LinkedIn". Retrieved 25 January 2016.
  4. "Kevin Blackwell appointed to Queens Park Rangers backroom staff". Sports Mole. Retrieved 20 September 2017.
  5. "Kevin Blackwell: Rotherham have got two managers when I'm with Neil Warnock – Millers Time". Retrieved 20 September 2017.
  6. Association, Press (18 May 2016). "Rotherham to part company with Neil Warnock after failing to agree new deal". The Guardian. ISSN   0261-3077 . Retrieved 20 September 2017.
  7. sport, The Guardian; agencies (5 October 2016). "Cardiff City appoint Neil Warnock as new manager". The Guardian. ISSN   0261-3077 . Retrieved 20 September 2017.
  8. Bevan, Chris (20 October 2006). "Blackwell learns from Euro visits". BBC Sport . Retrieved 20 October 2006.
  9. "Blackwell to sue Whites". Sky Sports. 20 November 2006. Archived from the original on 29 September 2007. Retrieved 20 November 2006.
  10. "Luton unveil Blackwell as manager". BBC Sport. 27 March 2007. Retrieved 27 March 2007.
  11. "Boss to leave Luton". BBC Sport. 11 January 2008. Retrieved 11 January 2008.
  12. "Blackwell sacked as Luton manager". BBC Sport. 16 January 2008. Retrieved 16 January 2008.
  13. "Blackwell in for Robson at Blades". BBC Sport. 14 February 2008. Retrieved 14 February 2008.
  14. Tallentire, Mark (3 March 2008). "Charlton on the up after three months of trying to win away". The Guardian . London: Guardian News and Media . Retrieved 9 December 2009.
  15. "Blades interviews: Kevin Blackwell | 01/03/08 | United 0–2 Charlton". BBC South Yorkshire. 1 March 2008. Retrieved 9 December 2009.
  16. "Club Statement" Archived 16 August 2010 at the Wayback Machine 14 August 2010 Link retrieved 15 August 2010