John Harbin

John Harbin
Personal information
Full name John Harbin
Born (1947-04-12) 12 April 1947
Hazlewood Castle, Yorkshire, England
Coaching information
Years Team Gms W D L W%
20002001 Wakefield
20022002 Oldham Roughyeds
2008 Coventry City F.C. (caretaker)
2010 Yeppoon Seagulls
20112012 Central Queensland Capras
Total 0 0 0 0

John Harbin is an Australian sports coach. He first worked in rugby league before beginning a coaching career in association football. His son, Lionel Harbin, briefly played rugby league in the Super League for Wakefield Trinity Wildcats.

Early life

Born in 1947 at Hazlewood Castle in the English county of Yorkshire, Harbin grew up in Swillington Common, before emigrating with his parents to Australia at the age of ten, settling in Queensland. As a child he played rugby league and was a boxer.[1][2] After leaving school he completed a teaching degree.[3]

Coaching career

Rugby league

Harbin returned to England to coach in rugby league in the late 1990s. He was appointed head coach of Wakefield Trinity Wildcats in November 2000.[4] The club had financial problems and were expected to struggle. Wakefield's final game of the 2001 season was a relegation battle with Salford City Reds and Wakefield won, condemning Huddersfield Giants to the drop.[5] However he left the club at the end of 2001.[6]

After a brief spell as Chief Executive Officer[7] at Dewsbury Rams, Harbin joined Oldham Roughyeds as head coach in January 2002.[8]

Association football

Late in 2002 Harbin joined Oldham Athletic as fitness conditioner and sports psychologist alongside then-assistant manager Iain Dowie.[9] Dowie was later promoted to manager and moved to Crystal Palace, with Harbin following.

Dowie moved to Charlton Athletic in 2006, and again appointed Harbin to his coaching staff. After Dowie's sacking in November 2006, Harbin stayed briefly under new manager Les Reed, but departed by the end of 2006. In February 2007 he linked up with Dowie for the fourth time, at Coventry City. Striker Leon Best said that after Harbin's fitness sessions he felt he was "definitely the fittest I have ever been".[10] A year later he was placed in a joint-caretaker's role alongside first-team coach Frankie Bunn after the sacking of Dowie. Harbin again followed Iain Dowie to Queens Park Rangers and remained following Dowie's departure in October 2008. Harbin stayed at Loftus Road under new manager Paulo Sousa until Sousa left the club in the summer of 2009. Harbin would later follow Sousa to Swansea City in July 2009.[11]

Australian Rugby League

After seven years in English Football and only three months at Swansea, Harbin decided to return to Australia to take up a senior coaching role at Yeppoon Rugby League club in the Queensland Rugby League Central Division.[12][13][14] He was appointed as head coach of the Central Queensland Capras in September 2011.[15] Harbin later became the manager of the Dreamtime Lodge motel in Rockhampton.[14]

Return to English football

In June 2013, Harbin was appointed as performance manager at English League Two club Plymouth Argyle by manager John Sheridan.[16] He left his position in June 2015 after new manager Derek Adams decided to appoint his own staff.[17] He was appointed as performance coach at League One club Port Vale by manager Rob Page later in the month.[18] He followed Page to league rivals Northampton Town in May 2016.[19]


  1. "Rams' knight in shining armour". Lakeland Echo. Johnston Press. 13 December 2001. Retrieved 8 July 2010.
  2. Turner, Andy. "Football: Group hug! How Uncle John fits into Dowie's plan.". Coventry Evening Telegraph. Coventry Newspapers. Retrieved 8 July 2010.
  3. Jackson, Peter (1 January 2006). "Putting the person before the performance." (PDF). The Bulletin of the Association for Coaching. Association for Coaching (7): 8–10. Retrieved 8 July 2010.
  4. "Super League Team-by-team guide". UK: Telegraph Media Group Limited. 1 March 2001. Retrieved 10 October 2010.
  5. Laybourn, Ian (17 September 2001). "Victory fails to rescue Huddersfield". The Independent. Retrieved 8 July 2010.
  6. "Wakefield coach resigns". BBC Sport. British Broadcasting Corporation. 22 October 2001. Retrieved 8 July 2010.
  7. Heptinstall, Stephen (16 November 2001). "Rams raid twist gives Harbin top job". Wakefield Express. Johnston Press. Retrieved 8 July 2010.
  8. Hadfield, Dave (31 January 2002). "Harbin on way back as coach". The Independent. Retrieved 8 July 2010.
  9. "Molloy takes charge of Oldham". BBC Sport. 3 July 2002. Retrieved 7 February 2016.
  10. Wildson, Michelle (19 August 2007). "Leon at his best after workouts". Sunday Mercury. Retrieved 7 February 2016.
  11. "Fitness Coach Harbin Leaves QPR". 2 July 2009. Retrieved 2 July 2009.
  12. "Ex-QPR's John Harbin Returns Home to Australia". 21 October 2009. Retrieved 21 October 2009.
  13. Kennedy, Alan (20 April 2010). "Yeppoon coach will not rest". Rockhampton Morning Bulletin. APN News & Media. Retrieved 8 July 2010.
  14. 1 2 Kennedy, Alan (22 October 2009). "Harbin home after UK football work". Rockhampton Morning Bulletin. APN News & Media. Retrieved 8 July 2010.
  15. Williams, Guy (24 September 2011). "Coach wants pride in Capras jersey". Morning Bulletin. Retrieved 7 February 2016.
  16. "Back Room Staff Announced". Retrieved 26 June 2013.
  17. "Staff Departures". Retrieved 15 June 2015.
  18. "John Harbin Appointed As Performance Coach". Retrieved 30 June 2015.
  19. "Rob Page: Northampton Town appoint Port Vale manager to replace Chris Wilder". BBC Sport. 19 May 2016. Retrieved 19 May 2016.
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