|Full name||Paul Whitehead Sturrock|
|Date of birth||10 October 1956|
|Place of birth||Ellon, Aberdeenshire, Scotland|
|Height||5 ft 8 in (1.73 m)|
|1972–1973||Vale of Atholl|
* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only.
Paul Whitehead Sturrock (born 10 October 1956) is a Scottish football manager and former player. He was most recently manager of Football League Two team Yeovil Town. According to an analysis by the Financial Times he was among the country's best ever managers, even though he has mostly managed clubs at Championship level and below.
As a player, Sturrock spent his entire senior career with Dundee United, making more than five hundred appearances between 1974 and 1989. He won the Scottish Football League title with United in 1982–83 and the Scottish League Cup twice, in 1979 and 1980. He was named the SFWA Footballer of the Year in 1982. At international level, Sturrock played twenty times for Scotland and appeared at the 1982 and 1986 World Cups.
Sturrock's managerial career began with St Johnstone in 1993, where he went on to win the Scottish First Division title in 1996–97 before returning to Dundee United as manager. Since 2000, Sturrock has worked as a manager in English football, initially with Plymouth Argyle where he helped the club to win two promotions before moving on to a brief spell with Southampton. He has subsequently also managed Sheffield Wednesday, Swindon Town and Southend United as well as returning to Plymouth for a second spell. He became Yeovil Town manager in April 2015, but left the club eight months later.
He is known by fans as Luggy (from the Scots language word lugs, Eng: ears). Sturrock announced in July 2008 that he was suffering from a mild form of Parkinson's disease. His son, Blair, is also a professional footballer.
Sturrock was born in Ellon, Aberdeenshire and grew up in Pitlochry, Perthshire, where he was educated at the local primary and secondary schools and played for amateur side Grandtully Vale. In 1972 he joined Vale of Atholl of the Perthshire Amateur First Division (where he returned as coach in his latter days with Dundee United), and in the 1972–73 season he scored approximately 100 goals. He then moved on to Bankfoot Athletic, and in the 1973–74 season he scored 53 goals as they finished 2nd in the Scottish Junior FA First Division. He had trials with Morton and St Johnstone, but was signed for Dundee United by then manager Jim McLean on 1 July 1974.
In his first season at Tannadice he made nine League appearances and came on from the substitutes' bench for three more and in the process he scored six goals. His first goal for Dundee United was one of two he scored in a 2–2 draw with Rangers at Tannadice on 5 April 1975. Dundee United finished fourth in the League that year. In the following season, he made 18 League appearances, eight as sub, and scored three times. He was also played as a substitute in two of the three Scottish Cup ties and was on from the start in five out of six League Cup games and scored once. He also started in three of the four UEFA Cup games netting one in that competition, too.
1976–77 not only saw Dundee United consolidate their Premier League position but throughout the campaign Sturrock was an ever-present, playing in all 36 League games and scoring 15 times. Adding that total to one each in the Scottish Cup and League Cup he was top scorer at the Club that year. He played in United's only Scottish Cup tie, a 4–1 defeat at St Mirren. He also appeared four times plus once as sub out of the six League Cup ties. In a short-lived Anglo Scottish Cup campaign he was brought on as sub in one leg of the tie against Aberdeen. This season was also significant in international terms for Sturrock as he made his Under-21 debut against Czechoslovakia in a 0–0 draw on 12 October 1976 in the first ever Scotland Under-21 side. Four months later on 9 February 1977 he netted his first international goal in an Under-21 game in which Scotland beat Wales 3–2.
He continued to be a regular in Dundee United's side and featured regularly in European competition.
In 1982–83, Dundee United won the Scottish League Championship, losing only four League games during the season. Sturrock contributed to this success with eight goals in his 28 appearances. He also set up Ralph Milne for his fourth-minute opener against Dundee in the final League game. The Scottish Cup that year had been yet another early exit at the hands of St Mirren. Sturrock scored seven in the nine games he turned out in on the way to a League Cup quarter-final exit. He also played in seven of the eight games and scored once in a UEFA Cup run that ended with an exit in Prague.
His playing career ended in 1989. In 385 league appearances from 1974 to 1989 he scored 109 goals for the club. His final tally of 576 games in which he scored 171 goals makes him Dundee United's top attacking player of all time.
Sturrock stayed at Tannadice for the next five years, in the role of coach. He left the club in 1993 after twenty years continuous service.
He still holds the record for the most goals in a Scottish Premier League fixture, scoring five times for Dundee United against Morton on 17 November 1984. He has since been joined in this feat by Marco Negri for Rangers against Dundee United in 1997, by Kenny Miller in 2000 against St Mirren, by Kris Boyd for Kilmarnock and for Rangers both against Dundee United in 2004 and 2009 respectively, and by Gary Hooper for Celtic against Hearts in 2012.
Sturrock made his full international debut for Scotland against Wales on 16 May 1981, and on 8 November 1981, he scored his first goal for Scotland in the 2–1 World Cup qualifier defeat against Portugal in Lisbon.
In 1993, Sturrock became the manager of First Division team St Johnstone, having been recommended by the outgoing manager, John McClelland. Despite some early poor form - which included a 4-0 Scottish Cup humbling at the hands of Stenhousemuir - Sturrock eventually guided the team to a comfortable promotion in 1996–97.
In September 1998 Sturrock was appointed manager at Dundee United. He made a bright start to his time as manager at Tannadice, where he was feted by the fans for his excellent spell as a player. His United team failed to recover from the sale of top scorer Billy Dodds in December 1999, when they were lying third in the table. The team scored few goals following Dodds's departure, and Sturrock resigned after two games of the 2000–01 season.
Sturrock shocked Dundee United fans by resigning from the club in August 2000 to move to manage Plymouth Argyle, a club which had reached the lowest ebb in its history, struggling in the English Football League Third Division. A shake-up at boardroom level took place, Sturrock began to build his own squad. The following season, he guided them to the Third Division title breaking numerous records in the process, including a club and league points total of 102. In October 2003, Sturrock had successfully taken Argyle back to the top of the Football League Second Division and left when Plymouth had just 12 games to play in what would prove to be another season when they would finish as divisional champions and return to the Football League Championship, formerly known as the First Division. As a result of his success at Home Park he has remained a folk hero and legend amongst Argyle supporters, and was named as the manager of Argyle's Team of the Century. He is featured on one of the many murals within Argyle's Home Park stadium and remains one of the club's most respected and successful managers.
Sturrock was named as the successor to Gordon Strachan as manager of Southampton on 4 March 2004. On 23 August 2004 it was announced that Sturrock was leaving the club 'by mutual consent', after a disappointing run of form and rumours of player unrest and boardroom dissatisfaction with his management.
He was then appointed by League One club Sheffield Wednesday languishing in 14th place on 23 September 2004, and he guided the club to the League One play-offs. After beating Brentford in the semi-final with an aggregate score of 3–1, Sturrock took Wednesday to the play-off final at the Millennium Stadium and beat Hartlepool United 4–2 after extra-time, winning promotion to the Championship. Despite numerous injuries to key players he helped Wednesday to finish 10 points clear of relegation in their first season back in The Championship.
A slow start to the 2006–07 season sparked rumours that Wednesday were about to sack Sturrock, but this speculation looked to be false when he agreed a new four-year contract on 14 September. But he was sacked on the evening of 19 October, just five weeks and three games after agreeing this new deal. The new contract was agreed while the club were at the bottom of the League, while he was sacked when they were fourth from bottom.
In late October 2006, Swindon Town allowed their management team of Dennis Wise and Gustavo Poyet to join Leeds United. Swindon pounced at the opportunity to acquire the services of Sturrock and on 7 November 2006 Sturrock was confirmed as manager with Kevin Summerfield and John Blackley following him from Wednesday. Sturrock's first season in charge at Swindon was a success, achieving promotion from League Two to League One.
Swindon made a decent start to the 2007–08 season, maintaining their position in the top half of the league table after the first 8 games.
Return to Plymouth
On 27 November 2007, Sturrock resigned his post as Swindon Town manager after just over a year with the club to rejoin previous club Plymouth Argyle. Sturrock also brought back to the club assistants Kevin Summerfield and John Blackley, who were previously with him during his first successful spell as manager. Sturrock then proceeded to take the club to its highest league position in 20 years: tenth in the Championship. However, the team subsequently struggled and finished five points and one place outside the Championship relegation zone in the 2008–09 season. On 10 December 2009, Sturrock was removed as Plymouth Argyle manager and put into a business support role by chairman Sir Roy Gardner. On 22 April 2010 the Plymouth board confirmed that Paul Sturrock had left his role within the club to pursue other managerial opportunities. Following Sturrock's departure, it emerged that the board had mis-managed the finances of the club and Argyle entered administration.
On 5 July 2010 he was confirmed as manager of League Two Southend United. Former Salisbury City manager Tommy Widdrington was named as Sturrock's assistant manager while one of Sturrock's former players at Plymouth Argyle and Sheffield Wednesday, who served as captain at the latter, Graham Coughlan was soon appointed as a player-coach.
Sturrock faced the tough task of rebuilding the Southend side with only five first team players available for selection at one stage of pre-season, with only Anthony Grant, Matt Paterson and Scott Spencer surviving. Sturrock soon appointed new signing Craig Easton, who he had previously managed at Swindon Town, as captain while another player from one of Sturrock's old clubs, Chris Barker, was later appointed as vice-captain, having initially been signed on loan, and then permanently on deadline day. It was not an easy task for Sturrock as his assistant, Tommy Widdrington left for "footballing reasons" on Wednesday 15 December 2010. After a mid table finish in his first season, he enjoyed more success during the 2011–12 season where Southend led League 2 for most of the campaign. Sturrock was named Manager of the Month for September by the Football League. He has been widely praised for his job at Southend United, bringing the best out of players on a very low playing budget and with a minimal coaching team.
Sturrock was sacked as manager of Southend United on 24 March 2013 although it was agreed that he could lead out the players in the final of the Football League Trophy to be held at Wembley on 7 April. Sturrock declined the offer.
After a brief spell as an advisor to Conference Premier side Torquay United, he departed just four days after taking the job, after being appointed manager of Football League One side Yeovil Town on 9 April 2015, with the club all but relegated.
Following his retirement from professional football, Sturrock returned to live in the South West. He remains involved in local football, being given an advisory role at non-league Plymouth Parkway. He also writes a regular column for local newspaper the Plymouth Evening Herald. Even in retirement, Sturrock remains a highly respected character and is recognised as one of Plymouth Argyle's greatest managers.
As a player
(All with Dundee United)
- Scottish League Cup: 1980, 1981
- Scottish Football League Premier Division: 1982–83
- UEFA Cup runner-up: 1986–87
- Scottish Cup runner up: 1981, 1985, 1987, 1988
- Scottish League Cup runner up: 1982, 1985
As a manager
- St Johnstone
- Plymouth Argyle
- Sheffield Wednesday
- Swindon Town
- Football League Third Division Manager of the Year: 2001–02
- Football League Second Division Manager of the Year: 2003–04
- Football League Third Division Manager of the Month: September 2001, October 2001, February 2002
- Football League Second Division Manager of the Month: October 2003, December 2003
- LMA Managers Performance League: January 2004
- Football League One Manager of the Month: November 2004
- Football League Two Manager of the Month: January 2007, September 2011, November 2012
|Club performance||League||Cup||League Cup||Continental||Total|
|Scotland||League||Scottish Cup||League Cup||Europe||Total|
|1974–75||Dundee United||Division One||12||6||-||-||1||0||13||6|
Research by Soccer economists Simon Kuper and Stefan Szymanski found Sturrock to be among the highest performing managers in English football. The measure was based on game success after controlling for the club's wage bills
|St Johnstone||1 August 1993||5 September 1998||197||90||56||51||45.69|
|Dundee United||5 September 1998||7 August 2000||85||27||19||39||31.76|
|Plymouth Argyle||31 October 2000||4 March 2004||178||85||47||46||47.75|
|Southampton||4 March 2004||23 August 2004||13||5||2||6||38.46|
|Sheffield Wednesday||23 September 2004||19 October 2006||104||35||29||40||33.65|
|Swindon Town||7 November 2006||27 November 2007||52||26||11||15||50.00|
|Plymouth Argyle||27 November 2007||10 December 2009||99||28||22||49||28.28|
|Southend United||5 July 2010||24 March 2013||161||67||43||51||41.61|
|Yeovil Town||9 April 2015||1 December 2015||30||6||8||16||20.00|
- Prior, Peggy. "Paul Sturrock 2000–2004". Argyle Managers. Greens on Screen. Retrieved 25 March 2013.
- Cockcroft, Lucy (25 July 2008). "Plymouth Argyle manager Paul Sturrock is battling Parkinson's Disease". Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 25 March 2013.
- Kuper, Simon (27 January 2012). "Football's best managers". Financial Times. Retrieved 3 May 2016.
- "Club History". Dundee United FC. Retrieved 25 March 2013.
- "Sturrock leaves Saints". BBC Sport. 23 August 2004. Retrieved 25 March 2013.
- "Sturrock axed by Owls". football.co.uk. 19 October 2006. Retrieved 25 March 2013.
- "Sturrock takes charge at Swindon". BBC Sport. 7 November 2006. Retrieved 25 March 2013.
- Bright, Richard. "Paul Sturrock comes full circle to Plymouth". Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 25 March 2013.
- Prior, Peggy. "Paul Sturrock 2007–2009". Argyle Managers. Greens on Screen. Retrieved 25 March 2013.
- "Sturrock named as Southend boss". BBC News. 5 July 2010. Retrieved 25 March 2013.
- "Southend sign Barker". BBC News. 31 August 2010. Retrieved 25 March 2013.
- "Widdrington leaves Southend". BBC News. 15 December 2010. Retrieved 25 March 2013.
- Phillips, Chris (24 March 2013). "Southend United have parted company with manager Paul Sturrock". Southend Echo. Retrieved 25 March 2013.
- "Paul Sturrock: Southend United part company with manager". BBC Sport. 24 March 2013. Retrieved 25 March 2013.
- "Paul Sturrock leaves Torquay United role after four days". BBC Sport. 8 April 2015. Retrieved 9 April 2015.
- "Paul Sturrock: Yeovil Town confirm manager appointment". BBC Sport. 9 April 2015. Retrieved 9 April 2015.
- "Yeovil Town: Paul Sturrock leaves League Two's bottom club". BBC Sport. 1 December 2015. Retrieved 1 December 2015.
- "The tenth annual LMA Awards dinner winners". League Managers Association. Retrieved 25 August 2010.
- "LMA honour for Wenger". League Managers Association. Retrieved 25 August 2010.
- "Sturrock receives prize from Ranieri". League Managers Association. Retrieved 25 August 2010.
- "Football's best managers".
- "Paul Sturrock's managerial career". Soccerbase. Retrieved 9 April 2011.
- Paul Sturrock career statistics at Soccerbase
- Paul Sturrock management career statistics at Soccerbase