Carl Fletcher (Welsh footballer)

Carl Neil Fletcher (born 7 April 1980) is a former professional football player and manager, who most recently was head coach at Leyton Orient. As a midfielder Fletcher represented Wales at senior international level for five years, scoring one goal in 36 appearances.

Carl Fletcher
Fletcher playing for Wales in 2008
Personal information
Full name Carl Neil Fletcher[1]
Date of birth (1980-04-07) 7 April 1980 (age 41)
Place of birth Camberley, England
Height 5 ft 9 in (1.75 m)[2]
Position(s) Midfielder
Senior career*
Years Team Apps (Gls)
1997–2004 Bournemouth 193 (19)
2004–2006 West Ham United 44 (3)
2005Watford (loan) 3 (0)
2006–2009 Crystal Palace 68 (4)
2008Nottingham Forest (loan) 5 (0)
2009Plymouth Argyle (loan) 13 (1)
2009–2012 Plymouth Argyle 88 (7)
2013–2014 Barnet 3 (0)
Total 417 (34)
National team
2004–2009 Wales 36 (1)
Teams managed
2011–2013 Plymouth Argyle
2019 Leyton Orient
* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only and correct as of 17:21, 9 January 2014 (UTC)

Having made his professional debut for Bournemouth in 1998, Fletcher went on to play for West Ham United, Watford, Crystal Palace, Nottingham Forest and Plymouth Argyle, making 414 appearances in league competition and scoring 34 goals. Born in Camberley, Fletcher retired from playing in 2012 to focus on his role as manager of Plymouth Argyle, keeping the Pilgrims in League Two despite serious financial issues. His time as Plymouth Argyle manager has since seen Fletcher described as "a crucial figure in the club's history both now and years into the future."[3] He resumed his playing career in October 2013 with Barnet.

Playing career

After playing football for Oakdale Middle School (1988–1992), Fletcher moved onto being Captain of his local football team in Poole, Dorset. Fletcher started his career at Football League club Bournemouth, making his debut in February 1998 as a 17-year-old. He made 185 league starts for the south-coast club, including captaining the side to a 5–2 victory over Lincoln City in the 2003 Division 3 playoff final and scoring 2 of the goals himself, before earning a move to West Ham United in 2004 for £275,000.[4]

Fletcher then played in the Premier League after West Ham won promotion the season he signed for them. He also had a month-long loan spell at Watford. Upon his return from Watford in October 2005, he made 12 league appearances for West Ham. Fletcher's last league game was on 7 May 2006. In the last game of the season, with Tottenham Hotspur needing a win to qualify for the Champions League, Fletcher scored the first goal in a 2-1 West Ham win with the Tottenham team affected by food poisoning. It was his only Premier League goal.[5][6] On 13 May 2006, Fletcher was drafted into the West Ham team to face Liverpool in the FA Cup Final due to the suspension of Hayden Mullins.

The FA Cup final proved to be his last competitive match for the Hammers, however, as he signed for Crystal Palace in that summer, for £400,000.[7] He was immediately appointed as captain by manager Peter Taylor. After Neil Warnock took over, the captaincy went to Mark Hudson. Fletcher captained Wales for the first time on 28 May 2009 against Iceland. However, he was substituted after just 41 minutes after damaging his ankle ligaments.

After Neil Warnock was appointed as Palace manager, Fletcher found first-team opportunities limited, starting many games on the substitutes bench, which eventually led to him and teammate Paul Ifill being placed on the transfer list in August 2008. Fletcher was signed on loan by Nottingham Forest in October of that year due to their ever-growing injury list. However, he only made five appearances in this period and due to a problematic back injury, was sent back to Palace.

Fletcher signed a month-long emergency loan deal with Plymouth Argyle on 20 February 2009,[8][9] scoring on his debut against Sheffield United.[10] A string of commanding performances led to the loan being extended a month later until the end of the 2008–09 campaign.[11] Following his release by Crystal Palace in May 2009, Fletcher signed a two-year contract with Plymouth.[12][13] Having been made captain by Paul Sturrock, he led the team in this role throughout his time as a player with the club. Fletcher extended his contract by 12 months during the summer of 2011.[14] He retired from playing at the end of the 2011–12 season in order to focus on management.

Fletcher resumed his playing career in October 2013 when he joined Conference Premier side Barnet.[15][16] Prior to signing a contract he trained with the club during pre-season and also spent time back at Bournemouth.[15][17] He made six appearances, three in the league, before being released in January 2014.[18]

Coaching and managerial career

Fletcher was appointed caretaker manager of Plymouth Argyle on 19 September 2011,[19] a day after Peter Reid was sacked by acting chairman Peter Ridsdale.[20]

Plymouth Argyle were recovering from a tulmultous 2010/11 campaign that had seen the Club docked 10 points and being served its third winding-up petition in three years. They had failed to win a game when Fletcher took charge. He led the club to their first win of the season, beating Macclesfield Town 2–0.[21] The club was taken over by Akkeron Group at the end of October and Fletcher immediately became the club's full-time manager, having won two and drawn one of his seven games as caretaker.[22]

Fletcher managed to guide Plymouth Argyle to League Two safety, a run of six games unbeaten between 17 March and 11 April proving critical. Beren Cross, journalist at Plymouth Live, said, "Many fans will look back on Fletcher as a crucial figure in the club's history both now and years into the future. That campaign will forever be marked as a point of resistance in the club's history, a season in which the rot, the slump was stopped."[3]

He signed a one-year rolling contract at the end of the 2011–12 season and retired as a player. "I have enjoyed playing. There have been highs and lows, and tough days and good days, but it's on to a new era in my life," he said to The Herald. "I'm starting again and trying to build my reputation up as a manager now."[23]

Fletcher was sacked on 1 January 2013 after a run of eight defeats in 13 league games left the club 21st in the League Two table.[24][25][26] In a tearful post-match interview with BBC Radio Devon, he said that "since I've been down here we've been through a lot, that's football really. I might be a young manager but I know if you don't win games you don't keep your job."[27][28]

Fletcher was appointed youth team manager at Bournemouth on 15 January 2014 after leaving Barnet.[29]

In October 2019, Fletcher was appointed as head coach with EFL League Two club Leyton Orient.[30] He was sacked on 14 November after 29 days and five games in charge, without a win.[31]

Personal life

In September 2010, Fletcher was unsuccessful in an attempt to get out of jury duty at Plymouth Crown Court by saying that he was too well known in the local area.[32][33]

Career statistics


Appearances and goals by club, season and competition
Club Season League Cup Total
Bournemouth 1997–98 100010
1998–99 200020
1999–00 24330273
2000–01 43641477
2001–02 35530385
2002–03 45370523
2003–04 40240442
2004–05 621072
West Ham United 2004–05 33230362
2005–06 12150171
Watford 2005–06 300030
Crystal Palace 2006–07 37320393
2007–08 28110291
2008–09 303060
Nottingham Forest 2008–09 500050
Plymouth Argyle 2008–09 13100131
2009–10 41420434
2010–11 38210392
2011–12 9131122
Barnet 2013–14 303060
Career 4213645246638

International goals

Scores and results list Wales' goal tally first.
1.6 February 2008Racecourse Ground, Wrexham Norway1–03–0Friendly

As a manager

As of 10 November 2019
Managerial record by team and tenure
Team From To Record Ref
Plymouth Argyle 19 September 2011 1 January 2013 70 17 27 26 024.3 [34]
Leyton Orient 16 October 2019 14 November 2019 5 0 2 3 000.0 [34]
Total 75 17 29 29 022.7



West Ham United



  1. Hugman, Barry J., ed. (2007). The PFA Footballers' Who's Who 2007–08. Edinburgh: Mainstream Publishing. p. 142. ISBN 978-1-84596-246-3.
  2. "Carl Fletcher". Premier League. Retrieved 3 January 2013.
  3. "Carl Fletcher reflects on the togetherness, adversity and fond memories of life at Plymouth Argyle". PlymouthLive. 23 November 2013. Retrieved 23 November 2013.
  4. "Fletcher joins West Ham". BBC Sport. BBC. 31 August 2004. Retrieved 25 July 2011.
  5. "West Ham 2-1 Tottenham". BBC News. 7 May 2006.
  6. "Carl Fletcher".
  7. "Palace sign West Ham's Fletcher". BBC Sport. BBC. 29 July 2006. Retrieved 25 July 2011.
  8. "Fletcher Signs". Plymouth Argyle F.C. Archived from the original on 23 February 2009. Retrieved 3 January 2013.
  9. "Fletcher joins Plymouth on loan". BBC Sport. BBC. 20 February 2009. Retrieved 3 January 2013.
  10. "Plymouth 2–2 Sheff Utd". BBC Sport. BBC. 21 February 2009. Retrieved 3 January 2013.
  11. "Fletcher happy to stay at Argyle". BBC Sport. BBC. 19 March 2009. Retrieved 3 January 2013.
  12. "Fletcher Arrows In". Plymouth Argyle F.C. 9 June 2009. Archived from the original on 12 June 2009. Retrieved 3 January 2013.
  13. "Plymouth complete Fletcher deal". BBC Sport. BBC. 9 June 2009. Retrieved 3 January 2013.
  14. "Plymouth captain Carl Fletcher set to stay at club". BBC Sport. BBC. 16 May 2011. Retrieved 3 January 2013.
  15. "Bees sign Carl Fletcher". Barnet F.C. 18 October 2013. Retrieved 18 October 2013.
  16. "Carl Fletcher: Barnet sign former Plymouth Argyle manager". BBC Sport. 18 October 2013. Retrieved 18 October 2013.
  17. O'Rourke, Pete (4 October 2013). "Former Plymouth manager Carl Fletcher links up with Bournemouth for training". Sky Sports. Retrieved 18 October 2013.
  18. "Carl Fletcher Leaves Barnet FC - News - Barnet Football Club".
  19. "Plymouth Argyle name Carl Fletcher as interim manager". BBC Sport. BBC. 19 September 2011. Retrieved 19 September 2011.
  20. "Peter Reid sacked as manager of Plymouth Argyle". BBC Sport. BBC. 18 September 2011. Retrieved 3 January 2013.
  21. "Plymouth 2–0 Macclesfield". BBC Sport. 24 September 2011. Retrieved 24 September 2011.
  22. "Plymouth Argyle confirm Carl Fletcher as manager". BBC Sport. BBC. 1 November 2011. Retrieved 1 November 2011.
  23. "Plymouth Argyle signs new deal with manager Carl Fletcher". The Herald. Plymouth. 28 May 2012. Archived from the original on 30 August 2012. Retrieved 3 January 2013.
  24. "Club Statement". Plymouth Argyle F.C. 1 January 2013. Retrieved 3 January 2013.
  25. "Bristol Rovers 2–1 Plymouth". BBC Sport. 1 January 2013. Retrieved 3 January 2013.
  26. "Final Carl Fletcher defeat sinks Plymouth Argyle closer to drop zone". The Herald. Plymouth. 2 January 2013. Archived from the original on 5 May 2013. Retrieved 3 January 2013.
  27. McNichol, Rob (1 January 2013). "A Courageous & Dignified Farewell". Plymouth Argyle F.C. Retrieved 3 January 2013.
  28. "Plymouth Argyle: Carl Fletcher sacked by League Two strugglers". BBC Sport. BBC. 1 January 2013. Retrieved 1 January 2013.
  29. "404 - Page not found". AFCB. Archived from the original on 27 January 2014. Cite uses generic title (help)
  30. "Carl Fletcher: Leyton Orient appoint ex-Plymouth boss as head coach". BBC sport. 16 October 2019. Retrieved 16 October 2019.
  31. "Carl Fletcher: Leyton Orient manager sacked after 29 days in charge of League Two club". BBC. 14 November 2019.
  32. Evans, Martin (30 September 2010). "Footballer told he is not famous enough to avoid jury service". The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 23 September 2018.
  33. "The trials of the celebrity juror". BBC News. 6 August 2015. Retrieved 23 September 2018.
  34. "Managers: Carl Fletcher". Soccerbase. Centurycomm. Retrieved 16 October 2019.