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Former Manchester United assistant manager Mike Phelan returning to Norwich City as first-team coach

Mike Phelan (left) and manager Alex Ferguson as Manchester United celebrate with the Premier League trophy. Phelan will now join Norwich City as a first team coach.

Mike Phelan (left) and manager Alex Ferguson as Manchester United celebrate with the Premier League trophy. Phelan will now join Norwich City as a first team coach.

PA Wire/Press Association Images

Mike Phelan will return to Norwich City on Wednesday to join manager Neil Adams’ backroom team as first-team coach.

Mike Phelan factfile

MIKE PHELAN

Age: 52

Born: Nelson, Lancashire

Playing career

Position: Midfield/right back

Burnley (1979–1985)

Norwich City (£60,000) 1985–1989 – 194 (10 goals)

Manchester United (£750,000) 1989–1994

West Brom (free) 1994–1995

Career total: 485 (21)

International career

One cap: 1989 England v Italy

Coaching career

Norwich City - December 1995, assistant manager to Gary Megson, and managed the reserves

Blackpool - summer 1995 followed Megson to Blackpool

Stockport – summer 1996, followed Megson again.

Manchester United: Summer 1999, worked at United’s Centre of Excellence. Made first team coach summer of 2001. Appointed assistant manager in September 2008. Left Old Trafford in summer 2013.

Canaries career

Joined on July 13, 1985.

Won Second Division title in his first season

Appointed club captain in December, 1987 following Steve Bruce’s departure to Manchester United

Led City to fourth in First Division and to FA Cup semi-finals in 1998-89

Signed for Manchester United on July 1, 1989.

The 52-year-old former assistant manager to Alex Ferguson at Manchester United will join the Canaries to work under manager Adams and alongside current first-team coach Gary Holt.

City Hall of Fame member Phelan replaces Mark Robson, who was sacked from his role at the beginning of the international break following City’s heartbreaking late defeat at Nottingham Forest.

“I am delighted to have the opportunity to return to Carrow Road,” said Phelan, who captained and made almost 200 appearances for the club between 1985 and 1989.

“I have many fond memories and am looking forward to helping Neil and the team to progress and ultimately getting back into the Premier League where they deserve to be.”

Adams added: “It’s really important that we replaced Mark Robson with the best possible coach we could find and I decided Mike was the outstanding choice.

“I’m delighted to bring in someone with Mike’s experience to work with myself, Gary Holt and the rest of the coaching staff.

“He’s someone who has a strong connection with Norwich City and I know him well, having worked with him before when I was a player and he was coaching here.

“In terms of the quality and the experience that Mike will bring, there are few better. It’s a great coup for us. He’s really keen to come in.”

Phelan was also assistant manager to Gary Megson and reserves manager at City in 1995, during Adams’ own spell as a player at the club.

Megson’s sacking saw Phelan follow his old manager to Blackpool and Stockport, before he joined Manchester United’s academy set-up in 1999.

From there, he was appointed Ferguson’s assistant in 2008 until the Scot’s retirement in the summer 2013 – where there was always a steady stream of domestic and European accolades.

During Phelan’s playing days at Norwich, the club won the second division title in 1986 before registering fourth and fifth top-flight finishes under Dave Stringer.

What do you make of Mike Phelan’s appointment? Leave your views below…

Follow Michael Bailey on Twitter @michaeljbailey

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79 comments

  • Phelan will certainly help out with the defence as a former defender.. Adams and Holt both midfielders... this still does not address a coach for the strikers... people often forget that Alex Ferguson himself was a pretty useful forward in Scotland.... maybe one Mr Holt can be persuaded to come back in a playercoach capacity too

    Report this comment

    jops

    Saturday, November 22, 2014

  • It was not Morecambe and Wise, Cornwall Canary and I am slightly worried that discussion of the Norwich City management immediately brings Monty Python to mind. Maybe not surprised but worried.

    Report this comment

    waclor

    Friday, November 21, 2014

  • Hopefully it wil be a good omen but I am not going to get too excited yet.The third member of that successful MUFC team hasnt exactly set the world alight

    Report this comment

    Trevor Sadd

    Friday, November 21, 2014

  • I seem to remember the phelan megson combination as a disaster but I am sure phelan is a much improved coach since his spell under ferguson. You like to think that phelan must believe in the Norwich players to take a number 2 position to Adams. Perhaps he can resolve the mystery why Norwich players are performing so well internationally but so badly for Norwich. Good move I think for Norwich

    Report this comment

    Canaryinslovenia

    Friday, November 21, 2014

  • Didnt expect anyone to be 'pleased' to see me posting again but thank you. Wont be regular though. Still always reading though. :) Hopefully some more positive times ahead (now).

    Report this comment

    Mattias333

    Friday, November 21, 2014

  • Great appointment. To get someone who worked for so long and so successfully at Manchester United is a major coup for City. I think though it puts more pressure on Adams because if this doesn't turn things around, then i think the buck will need to stop at him. With a new coach and 2 home games coming up, it is a massive week for Norwich and Adams. 2 wins needed. Come on City.

    Report this comment

    Carts

    Friday, November 21, 2014

  • Lincs - yes that is the key question. While I am delighted to see someone experienced at a high level come in to provide Adams with a mentor, there are numerous and very basic problems that must be addressed and cannot allow to continue because they are the things that are sending us into the current spiral. There can be no hiding from this and we will clearly see if issues are being rectified on the pitch. Personally I hope they will work together successfully because the last thing we need now is instability.

    Report this comment

    malaga flier

    Friday, November 21, 2014

  • .....The jobs are completely different!....First get your manager in place!...We have!....Then allow him to appoint his assistants!!...He did!....If they do not 'Gel', then changes have to be made!.... Neil Adams has made the change he felt was necessary!....Surely that is a sign of a good manager!.....We must wait and watch, and hope! ....and if further adjustments are required they will take place .....

    Report this comment

    Stew Pydsodd

    Friday, November 21, 2014

  • Good appointment I think. Interesting to see how Adams Phelan pans out. Time will tell. As Morecambe and Wise used to say " always look on the bright side of life " so here's hoping for a happy relationship. Good to see you back posting Matt333.

    Report this comment

    Cornwall Canary

    Friday, November 21, 2014

  • Why is everyone here being so negative. Great appointment, a top addition to the team and now onward and upwards. Happy days :)

    Report this comment

    b arclay

    Friday, November 21, 2014

  • MP is coach, not manager. It will be interesting to see if there are early signs the much stated problems of team selection, players in wrong positions, tactics are addressed. With four homes games coming up and a couple of tough ones away the answers should soon be apparent. I want to believe in the squad again. Was never sure about Adams.

    Report this comment

    Lincs Canary

    Friday, November 21, 2014

  • @Outside The Box, all the ex managers you mention had a back room staff of helpers 'holding their hands' as you put it. It's a team game front to back. If the team has a week link then you identify that link and replace it. It's not rocket science is it? Great appointment by the way and will MP will be a great draw come the next transfer window too! OTBC

    Report this comment

    baguio

    Thursday, November 20, 2014

  • The idea some fans persist with - that Adams needs an experienced man to guide him - is surely an admission that the job is too big for him. Did Paul Lambert need anyone to hold his hand? Ron Saunders? John Bond? Why would Phelan choose to work under Adams after working under Ferguson at a club with 75,000 crowds? The answer is he must be a good bet to be the next manager - just a matter of how long.

    Report this comment

    Outside The Box

    Thursday, November 20, 2014

  • A good appointment. Not sure why anyone is expressing doubts about Phelan as I can't imagine Ferguson putting up with anyone who he did not want, especially in that position. It will be interesting to see where we have got to by Christmas. Does Pulis get on with Phelan?

    Report this comment

    andy

    Thursday, November 20, 2014

  • mostly deluded fools who are easily pleased on this blog, we need clear leadership not knee-jerk reactions appointing no hopers and yesterdays men!!

    Report this comment

    borderman

    Thursday, November 20, 2014

  • Don't quite know why Adams + co have run out of steam, but this could be just what we need to get going again. Would've preferred Phelan as manager from the get-go this season, but this is the next best thing. Man U pedigree will shine thru. Excellent appointment City !

    Report this comment

    Timbo

    Thursday, November 20, 2014

  • interesting. Why the wait till next wednesday ?

    Report this comment

    wivenhoebudgie

    Thursday, November 20, 2014

  • Typical Norwcih ...Back to the old boys failed network...Once again the club has no forward thinking and should take a leaf out of Southampton's book and look abroad!

    Report this comment

    dave123

    Thursday, November 20, 2014

  • TrueBlue - I would support your comments. Of course there could be quite a lot of different thoughts about who finishes first and who second!!

    Report this comment

    MichiganCanary

    Thursday, November 20, 2014

  • This appointment has generated a lot of support.However I am not so sure it is the correct move, maybe I will be proved to be wrong.How long has Mike Phelan been out of the scene and why is that the case? Neil Adams will now be waiting for the end game. Why keep bringing back the old stalwarts. Fresh blood required.

    Report this comment

    Mercia Canary

    Thursday, November 20, 2014

  • Malaga says it the right way. .. but hard to see Adams at the helm for very much longer. I don't know but I would bet Phelan is already on more money. As he should be Imo.

    Report this comment

    el dingo

    Thursday, November 20, 2014

  • It`s insulting to Mike Phelan`s record , to have him working under NA and Gary Holt . Sack those two amateurs , let Phelan be manager , with hopefully , Rene Mulensteen as first team coach . This was the team I suggested before NA was appointed .

    Report this comment

    dragonfly

    Thursday, November 20, 2014

  • My word, there is a real danger that the majority of posters on here are being positive.. Let's at least give it a period for his influence to take shape before we revert to our typically negative outlook. A great move by the board.

    Report this comment

    BigO

    Thursday, November 20, 2014

  • Best signing you have made all season, have to admit he might be the catalyst for a charge for you lot. Perhaps a couple of prem derbys to look forward to next year. COYB!

    Report this comment

    TrueBlue

    Thursday, November 20, 2014

  • City for promotion this season and Mike Phelan to take over as manager in Premiership. Sorted.

    Report this comment

    Letsby Avenue

    Thursday, November 20, 2014

  • First time I caught up with the news today and brilliant it is too. I just hope that those around around him listen to him!, Good luck MiKE, OTBC

    Report this comment

    JB

    Thursday, November 20, 2014

  • I feel sure Phelan will have some pretty definite views on the way the team is drilled and set up and a number of these will almost certainly be at odds with what Adams and his coaching team are delivering. It will then be a case of whether Adams is going to accept his wisdom and allow an experienced head to make necessary changes and improvements.

    Report this comment

    malaga flier

    Thursday, November 20, 2014

  • Phelan took Megson to oblivion. Look out Adams.

    Report this comment

    graham garrod

    Thursday, November 20, 2014

  • Paul Lambert. The only beam of light in two dark decades. Though I do have a good Phelan about this development.

    Report this comment

    Mad Brewer

    Thursday, November 20, 2014

  • Best news in ages, and possibly the most significant signing since Paul Lambert put pen to paper. Time will tell...

    Report this comment

    Bill Punton's bald patch

    Thursday, November 20, 2014

  • This could answer a lot of questions around NCFC and Man U.

    Report this comment

    MichiganCanary

    Thursday, November 20, 2014

  • Another monkey when we need an experienced organ grinder, I am not convinced !

    Report this comment

    borderman

    Thursday, November 20, 2014

  • Great appointment. Mike Phelan has played and coachedmanaged at the highest level. Considering that he has had no appointment since leaving Utd., I wonder why he was not approached after CHs departure. Hard to see Adams, a youth team coach , not being removed as manager at some stage.

    Report this comment

    norman hall

    Thursday, November 20, 2014

  • Matt333`s back! And I agree with his take on this. And Jim`s.

    Report this comment

    Mad Brewer

    Thursday, November 20, 2014

  • I think this is a great appointment, both for the team and Neil Adams. What I really didn't want was the baby thrown out with the bathwater. It now looks as if NCFC could be building up a managerial dynasty, just like in the good old days. I don't think there is the slightest chance that Phelan was or is interested in the manager's position, if he was he'd have been in a manager's job by now. Well done City.

    Report this comment

    PaulWho

    Thursday, November 20, 2014

  • The sign of a good manager, is a person who appoints people better than themselves. Well done Neil and Mc, amazing appointment shows real intent to put things right.

    Report this comment

    aeleven

    Thursday, November 20, 2014

  • Look cynicism is useless .What is more important is to keep the young talent redmond murphy for example and for gods sake Adams listen to Phelan

    Report this comment

    johnty

    Thursday, November 20, 2014

  • Now Mike Phelan is here for Gods sake don't let Adams have anything to do with transfer dealings or recommendations leave this to Phelan. Hope Adams and Holt resign.

    Report this comment

    El tel

    Thursday, November 20, 2014

  • Mattias or should I call you Lurchio, I still think he is here to support NA and not replace him, he seems to be happy as a coach and I'm sure there have been lots of offers and chances to take the reins at a myriad of clubs but lo and behold he rolls up at NCFC as first team coach.

    Report this comment

    Gibbo

    Thursday, November 20, 2014

  • Im not back Lobbo. I Never went anywhere. Just very rarely post these days. Always lurking in the shadows having a good read though ;) Hopefully this turns out to be a positive move but like I previously said, I cant help thinking it's just a matter of time until he becomes gaffer. Im a pessimist but I dont believe for a second that Phelan was Adams choice like Adams claims. End of the day though, regardless of whether its under undermining Neil Adams (wasn't that what Robson got the boot for???) bringing in someone to 'help' him, you cant argue the fact that he, as well as the team need 'help'. If it works out then superb work once again from the board.

    Report this comment

    Mattias333

    Thursday, November 20, 2014

  • It could indeed be a case of 'too many chefs', but on the other hand something needs to change. Although Van Wolfswinkel likely to be negative, his recent criticism of NCFC coaching and style of football possibly had a grain of truth.

    Report this comment

    Lastsongster

    Thursday, November 20, 2014

  • Certainly hope so Soglio. As you say being a number 2 is certainly different to being a number 1.

    Report this comment

    Chilly62

    Thursday, November 20, 2014

  • At Last!! Excellent news!!......and Mattias333 - I totally concur!

    Report this comment

    Hants Canary

    Thursday, November 20, 2014

  • This is really good news !!! An impressive move by the board....

    Report this comment

    Mustardman

    Thursday, November 20, 2014

  • A good appointment bringing great experience from the top level to what has been a grade B coaching set up. After Phelan left Man U he did say he was looking for a managerial appointment but I agree with others that he is probably a better coach. The board have worked themselves into a right old pickle and like most of us, I have no sympathy with them but where we are at the moment this is an excellent move

    Report this comment

    Bury Yella Fella

    Thursday, November 20, 2014

  • Welcome 'home' Mike. I recall your astute passes and tackling back - just what the lads at Norwich need to be encouraged to do more effectively. OTBC NMTD'

    Report this comment

    mardler

    Thursday, November 20, 2014

  • Just what a lot of us have been calling for - an experienced mentor to sit alongside Adams. Hope the chemistry will work.

    Report this comment

    malaga flier

    Thursday, November 20, 2014

  • 'Mattias333', Welcome back, 'brew' has been pining. I hope this gives NA the boost he needs but I agree with what you say.

    Report this comment

    Lobbo

    Thursday, November 20, 2014

  • There have been issues off the field at Carrow Road, never mind on. The only way is up!

    Report this comment

    Capri

    Thursday, November 20, 2014

  • Welcome back Mike. A very good move in the right direction, a shame he was not appointed at least a week earlier to enable him to have a real influence on Saturdays game. I now feel confident that we have somebody on board who is capable of sorting out our shaky defence.

    Report this comment

    TrevorKeith

    Thursday, November 20, 2014

  • Incredible news! This is more like it Norwich! OTBC.

    Report this comment

    Powers1902

    Thursday, November 20, 2014

  • Brilliant appointment.....had the pleasure of meeting Mike when he was a player at Carrow Road...when I sold Canary Pool tickets....never a great player but a very good player...and what I understand from friends in Manchester....Mike was the tactics man for Sir Alex !!

    Report this comment

    Rod Saye

    Thursday, November 20, 2014

  • Mattias, I'm not so sure, if his influence bears fruit then why change a winning team, then if it all goes to pot he might not make it as manager, oh dear what a conundrum. As it is, seems a good thing.

    Report this comment

    Gibbo

    Thursday, November 20, 2014

  • Chilly, people within the game have suggested that Phelan was the mastermind behind Ferguson, and it is a surprise he has not been picked up till now. Perhaps he is a No2, rather than a Manager, which is a very different role. This could be a fantastic appointment, if the two can work out who is doing what, where and when.

    Report this comment

    Soglio Star

    Thursday, November 20, 2014

  • oh and he will have experience in handling prima donna players...

    Report this comment

    Surrey Canary

    Thursday, November 20, 2014

  • brilliant. will bring some gravitas and respect - and a replacement manager perhaps if things go belly up with Neil, but hopefully they won't know. Phelan will also have a lot of contacts and will help bring quality players to the club as well. I see Scott Sinclair may be looking for a move in January - is he a possibility, and release Lafferty from winger duties...

    Report this comment

    Surrey Canary

    Thursday, November 20, 2014

  • You cannot deny that Phelan has a wealth of experience and I can't think of anyone better who is available to be employed by City at this time. Looking forward to the transformation hope he has the teacup mentality of Ferguson to jar the players into 90 + minutes of effort.

    Report this comment

    goldie

    Thursday, November 20, 2014

  • Not sure if this is a good appointment or not. Did he have that much of a say at Man Utd or was he just Fergie's gofer? Time will tell i suppose but at least we are doing something to try and change our current run of form.

    Report this comment

    Chilly62

    Thursday, November 20, 2014

  • Fantastic news!! I think looking back at Mike' career if he wanted to manage he would have done so by now. Perhaps he has found what he enjoys and is clearly amongst the best in the world at. This could be the start of a great pairing but before I get too ahead of myself let's see what happens on the pitch.

    Report this comment

    Paul Smith

    Thursday, November 20, 2014

  • Haha - I bet when Neil Adams said he wanted competition for every position he was not thinking of his own.

    Report this comment

    Mart

    Thursday, November 20, 2014

  • Outstanding Appointment. I don't all these 'Phelan to be the manager or next manager' comments. He's a coachassistant - call it what you will. That doesn't make him a good manager. I believe in Neil Adams and his philosophy, and he has made a shrewd signing in Mike Phelan!

    Report this comment

    Lewis Esquire

    Thursday, November 20, 2014

  • A fantastic choice. You can't put a price on the experience he gained working with Fergie at Man Utd. Welcome back Mike! OTBC!!!

    Report this comment

    Mellow_Yellow

    Thursday, November 20, 2014

  • i agree jim.cannot understand why they have made him adams assistant.surely phelan is a much better prospect than adams.if has got to learn from him then phelan should be the headmaster.

    Report this comment

    bluelight

    Thursday, November 20, 2014

  • Long time ago since he presented me with the Cambs U25 Bowls R-U award! I did read somewhere some time ago that he took a lot of the credit for the MANU success. Not lacking in confidence and will hopefully have a big impact

    Report this comment

    DJ_FRAMBOISE

    Thursday, November 20, 2014

  • His knowledge could help fix our team and help Adams become a better manager.

    Report this comment

    21

    Thursday, November 20, 2014

  • Fantastic!

    Report this comment

    21

    Thursday, November 20, 2014

  • Good ambitious appointment. Well done McNally et al.

    Report this comment

    DJ_FRAMBOISE

    Thursday, November 20, 2014

  • Muddy marvellous - and I think Matt might be right. Really looking forward to Saturday now. OTBC

    Report this comment

    el dingo

    Thursday, November 20, 2014

  • FANTASTIC to read so much positivity re this appointment and I hope it proves to be 'the missing piece of the jigsaw!'

    Report this comment

    Mr Ed

    Thursday, November 20, 2014

  • This sounds like good news. Whilst i continue to remain somewhat baffled at our determination to appoint experienced helpers to help our manager rather than just appoint an experienced manager in the first place having someone like Phelan around can only be good for the players and for Neil.

    Report this comment

    Jim

    Thursday, November 20, 2014

  • Great scoop, a real boost - very happy with this appointment ! OTBC

    Report this comment

    Dubai Canary

    Thursday, November 20, 2014

  • Excellent news.

    Report this comment

    Peter Watson

    Thursday, November 20, 2014

  • Can only be good news. Hopefully he'll help Neil to tighten up our loose cogs so we can start to push towards the top two again.

    Report this comment

    Colin

    Thursday, November 20, 2014

  • Great appointment! Phelan should command the respect of all players and supporters! Looking forward to an instant boost in the motivation of the squad.

    Report this comment

    kenfoggo

    Thursday, November 20, 2014

  • terrific appointment,i am sure results will improve.

    Report this comment

    mickthesheep

    Thursday, November 20, 2014

  • He's got the right credentials, could be an inspired choice. Welcome aboard Mike.

    Report this comment

    cutty

    Thursday, November 20, 2014

  • AC Canary, No let him work with NA, and hopefully NA will learn from Plelan,

    Report this comment

    Derek McDonald

    Thursday, November 20, 2014

  • Would not be surprised if in 2 Months, Adams will be gone and replaced with Phelan in charge.

    Report this comment

    Mattias333

    Thursday, November 20, 2014

  • Great addition..in fact swap him around with Adams

    Report this comment

    AC Canary

    Thursday, November 20, 2014

The views expressed in the above comments do not necessarily reflect the views of this site

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