Report this comment
  • "Welcome to the club Michael, it's a tough job and despite the new team in the boardroom sounds like money will be tight, the fans are demanding but loyal and you will be well supported. Hopefully you will give us something to cheer!"
  • This field is mandatory
  • This field is mandatory
  • Please note we will not accept reports with HTML tags or URLs in them.


  • Enter the above word in the box below

Michael Appleton a perfect fit for Oxford United, says new chief executive

Michael Appleton

Michael Appleton

First published in Headlines Oxford Mail: Photograph of the Author by , Chief Sports Reporter covering Oxford United. Follow us on twitter: @oxfordmailoufc. Call me on 01865 425458

MICHAEL Appleton officially starts work at Oxford United today, with the man who made the appointment comparing him to Liverpool boss Brendan Rodgers.

The new head coach will meet the players for the first time this morning to end a whirlwind few days at the club.

The move to sack Gary Waddock and bring in the former Portsmouth and Blackburn boss on Friday took everyone by surprise.

It was part of a shake-up at boardroom level with the arrival of Darryl Eales as chairman and Mark Ashton as chief executive.

Ashton has known Appleton for more than a decade and sees similarities between the 38-year-old and the previous manager he hired, during his time at Watford.

He said: “I look for a specific DNA in managers and coaches.

“The last manager I appointed was a gentleman called Brendan Rodgers.

“He was a coach at Chelsea who no-one had heard of at that point, but I saw something in Brendan and he has exceeded everyone’s expectations.

“If Michael gets anywhere near that we’ll have all done very well.

“I see that hunger, determination and professionalism and he has been educated in that way.”

Appleton will need to hit the ground running, with the season less than five weeks away and United’s first pre-season game, at Farnborough, this Saturday.

He will be the fourth person picking the side in less than six months, with caretaker manager Mickey Lewis and Waddock following on from Chris Wilder’s exit in January.

United are in need of some stability, with Appleton in a similar position.

He will be remembered by many for stints at Blackpool and Blackburn, which both lasted just over two months, following on from a year at a financially troubled Portsmouth.

Ashton believes Appleton has been unfortunate and is confident this will not be a short-term arrangement.

He said: “Michael’s taken on some challenging roles.

“His words to me were ‘yes the next club I go to is vitally important, but more important are the people’.

“With myself, Darryl and Ian (Lenagan) he sees stability and he’s adamant he wants to be somewhere he is successful for a long period of time, so we think the fit is right.”

The pair first met at West Brom, when Appleton was a player and Ashton, a former goalkeeper at the Hawthorns, was running the club’s centre of excellence.

When injury cut short the midfielder’s career, the club offered him the chance to work in the coaching system.

Ashton said: “What was clear was as a player he was a natural leader.

“We brought him in and he started with the under 13s and progressed through to assistant manager to Roy Hodgson.

“He was educated in a way of working with a group of people who allow the first team head coach to focus on purely winning football matches.

“He understands that and hence we felt the fit was perfect.”

Latest United news:

Andy Whing delighted at shutting out Adebayo Akinfenwa threat

Oxford Mail:

7:40am Monday 24th November 2014

ANDY Whing relished playing his part in restricting Adebayo Akinfenwa’s impact as Oxford United shared a goalless draw with AFC Wimbledon.

John Campbell set to have medical today at Oxford United

Oxford Mail: oxford united logo 1200pix

6:40am Monday 24th November 2014

PROLIFIC non-league striker John Campbell is expected at Oxford United today ahead of a proposed move from Jarrow Roofing.

Who was Oxford United's man of the match against Wimbledon?

Oxford Mail: oxford united logo 1200pix

5:50pm Saturday 22nd November 2014

Oxford Utd 0, AFC Wimbledon 0

Oxford Mail: oxford united logo 1200pix

4:56pm Saturday 22nd November 2014

OXFORD United's winning run against AFC Wimbledon came to an end as they played out a goalless draw at the Kassam Stadium.

What's in our interactive back page of the Oxford Mail today?

Oxford Mail:

1:02pm Saturday 22nd November 2014

Getting ready for a sporty weekend? Explore our interactive back page, with links to the stories and the latest headlines

Comments (4)

Please log in to enable comment sorting

Comments are closed on this article.

Send us your news, pictures and videos

Most read stories

Local Info

Enter your postcode, town or place name

About cookies

We want you to enjoy your visit to our website. That's why we use cookies to enhance your experience. By staying on our website you agree to our use of cookies. Find out more about the cookies we use.

I agree