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In Focus: Paul Tisdale

All you need to know about the new man at the helm at Stadium MK…

6 June 2018

Following his appointment as First-Team Manager, mkdons.com takes a closer look at the career of Paul Tisdale.

Although famous for his exploits as a manager, the Maltese born Tisdale started his footballing career as a player on the South Coast with Southampton Football Club.

The 45-year-old came through the ranks at the Saints before signing his first professional contract in June 1991 before being loaned out to Northampton Town in February 1993 - where he featured five times for the Cobblers.

After his short spell in Northamptonshire, Tisdale returned to Southampton and made his debut for the Club in their League Cup clash with Huddersfield Town in October 1994.

His first goal for the Saints came in March 1996 as he slotted past Manchester City goalkeeper Eike Immel as the Saints fell to a 2-1 defeat at Maine Road.

After a short loan spell with Huddersfield Town, Tisdale would eventually leave Southampton in 1997 having made 18 appearances for the Club.

Having departed The Dell, Tisdale travelled to the South West of England as he joined Bristol City. Unfortunately, appearances at Ashton Gate limited, with Tisdale getting his first taste of life at Exeter City on a 3-month loan spell from the Robins in 1997.

The midfielder played 10 times for the Grecians before travelling abroad featuring for FinnPa in Finland and Panionios of Greece before returning to England to spend a year with Yeovil Town.

Injury forced Tisdale into an early retirement, with Tisdale getting his first taste of coaching when he joined Team Bath in 2000.

He entered the University of Bath into the 2002-2003 Emirates FA Cup where his team became the first university side to enter the competition since Gonville and Caius in 1881.

They entered the preliminary rounds and advanced through four qualifying rounds to reach the First Round proper, before losing to Mansfield Town.

During his time with Team Bath, Tisdale led the Club to four promotions before leaving to take up the vacant manager’s position at National League side Exeter City in 2006.

Within his first 12 months at Exeter, Tisdale led the Grecians to their first appearance in the play-offs as they eventually lost to Morecambe 2-1 at Wembley in 2007.

The following campaign, Tisdale again reached the play-offs as his side overcame Torquay United in the semi-finals before running out 1-0 winners over Cambridge United at Wembley, becoming one of only four managers to lead the Devon-based side to promotion.

The success continued at Exeter as the following season Tisdale guided the Club to second place in Sky Bet League Two during their first season back in the EFL, in doing so, he became the first Exeter manager to win successive promotions.

Tisdale continued to display his managerial prowess as he secured the Club’s Sky Bet League One safety with a final day victory over Huddersfield Town in May 2010.

In the 2010-11 season, Tisdale guided Exeter to their best ever finish as he guided the Club to 8th place – just one point off a play-off position.

The following season Exeter suffered relegation from Sky Bet League One before Tisdale’s side finished tenth the next year, while the 2013/14 season the Club placed 17th come the end of the campaign.

In the 2014/15 season, Exeter just missed out on a play-off position as they finished tenth and while they matched their points tally from that campaign come May 2016 – they would finish 14th.

Fortunes soon changed at St James Park as their 2016/17 exploits saw them finish in fifth place – earning a play-off position in the process. After overcoming Carlisle 6-5 on aggregate in the Semi-Finals they fell at the final hurdle as Blackpool ran out 2-1 winners in the Final.

Last season saw Tisdale earn a fourth place finish, just four points off an automatic promotion spot and having seen off Lincoln City they would grace the Wembley turf against Coventry City.

It was Mark Robin’s side that were victorious and following the defeat, Tisdale departed Exeter after a 12-year spell with the Club.


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