Paul Hart

Paul Anthony Hart (born 4 May 1953) is an English former professional footballer who played as a defender.

Paul Hart
Personal information
Full name Paul Anthony Hart[1]
Date of birth (1953-05-04) 4 May 1953 (age 68)[1]
Place of birth Golborne,[1] England
Height 6 ft 2 in (1.88 m)[2]
Position(s) Defender
Senior career*
Years Team Apps (Gls)
1970–1973 Stockport County 87 (5)
1973–1978 Blackpool 143 (15)
1978–1983 Leeds United 191 (16)
1983–1985 Nottingham Forest 70 (1)
1985–1986 Sheffield Wednesday 52 (2)
1986–1987 Birmingham City 1 (0)
1987–1988 Notts County 23 (0)
Total 567 (39)
Teams managed
1988–1991 Chesterfield
2001–2004 Nottingham Forest
2004–2005 Barnsley
2006 Rushden & Diamonds
2009 Portsmouth
2009–2010 Queens Park Rangers
2010 Crystal Palace (caretaker)
2011 Swindon Town
2015 Notts County (caretaker)
* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only

The son of Johnny Hart, a football inside forward and manager, Hart had five-year spells with both Blackpool and Leeds United, and also played for Nottingham Forest and Sheffield Wednesday, amongst others.

He began his management career with Chesterfield in 1988, but left within three years and spent the following decade as a youth team coach for Leeds United and then Nottingham Forest.

In 2001, he returned to management with Nottingham Forest, later managing Barnsley, Rushden & Diamonds, Portsmouth, Queens Park Rangers, Crystal Palace and most recently Swindon Town.

In 2014, he joined the youth set-up at Notts County as their Acting Academy Manager.

Playing career

He made his Blackpool debut on 22 October 1973, two months after signing for the Seasiders, and only made two more appearances that season. Eventually, though, he established himself as a regular first-teamer and, in 1976–77, when he scored six goals as Blackpool challenged for promotion, he was ever-present.

In March 1978, after making 143 league appearances, scoring fifteen goals in the process, Hart left relegation-bound Blackpool for Leeds United for £300,000, as a replacement for Gordon McQueen. Hart spent five years at Elland Road, playing 191 games.

In 1983 Hart signed for Nottingham Forest to replace Willie Young, where he played 87 games and scored three goals. Hart actually scored in the controversial 1983–84 UEFA Cup semi-final against Anderlecht, but the goal was ruled out for no apparent reason and Anderlecht subsequently admitted having bribed the official.[3] A year later Hart was sold to Sheffield Wednesday in May 1985.

Hart had further spells at Birmingham City (breaking his leg in his only game for them) and Notts County (as player-coach) before retiring from playing in 1988, having made 567 league appearances.

Managerial and coaching career


After the spell at Notts County, Hart was appointed manager of Chesterfield in 1988. Joining the club when they were firmly rooted to the bottom of the Third Division, he reorganised and revitalised the playing side of the club with assistant Chris McMenemy. Thanks especially to a number of notable number of home wins in the first three months of 1989 and a surprising 3–1 win at second place Sheffield United in early January, the team climbed out of the bottom four. However, this proved to be only a temporary abatement of the club's problems at that time. Despite bringing great performances from striker Dave Waller, who equalled the club's record for goals in consecutive games – eight – Chesterfield were relegated in the penultimate game. The following season saw Chesterfield reach the play-off final at Wembley after spending almost the entire season in the top seven, underlying Hart's ability and promise as a young manager. The team was defeated 0–1 by Cambridge United for whom Dion Dublin scored the winning goal. In February 1990, he gave 19-year-old Sean Dyche his Football League debut. Given no funds for squad improvement for the 1990–91 season, results and form were extremely indifferent. He was sacked on New Year's Day, 1991.

Leeds United

Hart then moved into youth coaching firstly at Nottingham Forest, and then subsequently took charge of Leeds United's fledgling academy. Hart's proteges won the FA Youth Cup in 1993 and 1997 and formed the backbone of the Leeds side that reached the Champions League semi-finals in 2000–01. With International players such as Harry Kewell, Jonathan Woodgate, Ian Harte, Alan Smith, Gary Kelly, Paul Robinson, Matt Jones and Stephen McPhail.

Nottingham Forest

Hart then returned to take charge of Nottingham Forest's academy after a high-profile fall-out with Leeds manager George Graham over the promise of Jonathan Woodgate. Forest's Under-19 side became immensely successful winning the Under-19 title in 1999–2000. As the first team were faltering, and the club spiralling further into debt, players such as David Prutton, Jermaine Jenas, Keith Foy, Chris Doig, David Freeman, Kevin Dawson, Gareth Williams, Richard Cooper and Gareth Edds were blooded, with a further line of players including Barry Roche, Andy Reid, Brian Cash, Eugen Bopp, John Thompson and Michael Dawson following subsequently.

On 12 July 2001, Hart was promoted from Youth Academy Director to manager, succeeding David Platt, who had recently left the club to become the manager of the England under-21 team.[4] After less than a month of his tenure, Hart made his entire squad available for transfer, after being informed he had to drastically reduce the wage bill to avoid the club going into financial ruin.[5] As a result, Hart lost several experienced and key players, notably Andy Johnson to West Bromwich Albion for £200,000,[6] Alan Rogers to Leicester City for an undisclosed fee,[7] and Stern John to Birmingham City for £100,000.[8]

During the 2002–03 season, with the financial problems alleviated somewhat, and having the benefit of a settled side, Hart guided the club to the First Division play-offs, losing 4–3 after extra-time and 5–4 on aggregate to Sheffield United in the semi-finals.[9]

Forest started the 2003–04 season well, but a run of 14 games without a win resulted in Hart being sacked after a 1–0 home defeat to Coventry City on 7 February 2004.[10]


Less than a month after being forced out of the City Ground, Hart accepted the offer of the manager's job at Second Division club Barnsley.[11] However, he left the club a year later after failing to mount a serious promotion challenge.[12]

Rushden & Diamonds

In May 2006, Hart took over as manager of Rushden & Diamonds, following the departure of Barry Hunter.[13] After an average start to the season, Diamonds embarked on an eight match winless run, leading to Hart leaving the club in October by mutual consent.[14]


Hart joined Premier League club Portsmouth as Director of Youth Operations in 2007.[15] He was asked to take over as caretaker manager, initially for one game only following the sacking of Tony Adams on 9 February 2009.[16] Shortly afterwards, Hart brought Brian Kidd in as his assistant.[17] He won his first game in charge 2–0 at home to Manchester City on 14 February 2009.[18] Hart continued as caretaker manager until the end of the 2008–09 season, Portsmouth executive chairman Peter Storrie announcing in March 2009, after a close 1–0 defeat to Chelsea, "(Alexandre Gaydamak) and I have been delighted with how the team have fared. They both have so much experience in the game and they have the respect of the players. We will review the managerial situation again at the end of the season."[19]

Hart was appointed as permanent manager on a two-year contract on 21 July 2009.[15][20] In the 2009–10 season, however, Portsmouth, a club in turmoil and on the brink of administration, had the worst ever start by a Premier League team, losing their first seven league games. This run was finally ended when Portsmouth recorded a 1–0 win over Wolverhampton Wanderers at Molineux on 3 October 2009.[21] On 24 November 2009, with only two Premier League wins in 13 games and three points adrift at the bottom of the table, Hart was sacked.[22] He declined the offer of an alternative role as technical director responsible for players aged 18–21, and left the club.[22]

Queens Park Rangers

On 17 December 2009, Hart was appointed manager of Queens Park Rangers following the exit of Jim Magilton the previous day, with Mick Harford joining him as assistant manager.[23] On 15 January 2010, after only five games in charge, Hart left the club, with his assistant Mick Harford taking temporary charge.[24]

Crystal Palace

On 2 March 2010, Hart was appointed caretaker manager of Crystal Palace with Dougie Freedman as assistant manager and John Pemberton as first-team coach.[25] This followed the departure of Neil Warnock a day earlier, who left the club to become the manager of Queens Park Rangers, bringing Mick Jones and Keith Curle with him.[26] Crystal Palace were in administration, and Hart's task was to keep them in the Championship.[27] This was achieved on Hart's final day in the job after a 2–2 draw with Sheffield Wednesday, which saw the hosts relegated instead.[27] Hart left Crystal Palace at the end of the season.[28]

In June 2010, it was announced that Hart was on the shortlist to become the successor to Phil Brown at the recently relegated Hull City.[29] The job however was given to former Leicester City manager Nigel Pearson.[30]

Swindon Town

Hart was appointed manager of Swindon Town on 3 March 2011, with his new club in the League One relegation zone.[28] He appointed former Notts County manager Ian McParland as his assistant.[28] On 28 April 2011, Hart was sacked after failing to lead Swindon out of the relegation zone, with the club managing only one win in 11 games under his tenure,[31] a 1–0 away win over Brentford on 9 April 2011.[32]

Charlton Athletic

On 3 June 2011, Hart joined Charlton Athletic as Academy Director.[33] He left the club on 21 May 2014 following a restructure in the Charlton Academy.[34]

Notts County

On 2 October 2014, Hart was appointed as acting academy manager at League One club Notts County, following the suspension of academy manager Mick Leonard.[35] He later became caretaker manager,[36] a day after the sacking of manager Shaun Derry on 23 March 2015, following a run of three wins in 24 league games.[37] Hart guided the club to three draws in three games,[38] before the appointment of Ricardo Moniz as manager on 7 April 2015.[39] He subsequently left Notts County, stating it was always his attention to leave after the departure of Shaun Derry.[38][40]

Return to Leeds United

On 29 August 2015, it was announced that Hart would return to Leeds United as the Academy Director and Under-21s Manager.[41] He left the club on 1 April 2016 due to personal matters.[42]

Luton Town

On 3 May 2016, Hart was appointed as the assistant manager of League Two club Luton Town.[43][44]

Stoke City

In January 2019 Hart was appointed assistant manager to Nathan Jones at Stoke City.[45] Hart and Jones left Stoke on 1 November 2019.[46]

Luton Town

On 19 June 2020, Hart returned to Luton Town for the remainder of the season[47]. It was confirmed he would continue as part of the back room staff for the 2020/21 season.

Career statistics


Club Season Division League FA Cup League Cup Other Total
Stockport County 1970–71 Fourth Division 9100000091
1971–72 Fourth Division 360201000390
1972–73 Fourth Division 424406000524
Total 8756070001005
Blackpool 1973–74 Second Division 3000000030
1974–75 Second Division 37410101[lower-alpha 1]0404
1975–76 Second Division 33220003[lower-alpha 2]1383
1976–77 Second Division 42620403[lower-alpha 2]0516
1977–78 Second Division 28310213[lower-alpha 2]0344
Total 14315607110116617
Leeds United 1977–78 First Division 120000000120
1978–79 First Division 404218100506
1979–80 First Division 30310204[lower-alpha 3]2375
1980–81 First Division 384202000424
1981–82 First Division 321202000361
1982–83 Second Division 393403000463
Total 191151111714222319
Nottingham Forest 1983–84 First Division 36011209[lower-alpha 3]1462
1984–85 First Division 34120101[lower-alpha 3]0381
Total 7013130101843
Sheffield Wednesday 1985–86 First Division 342302000392
1986–87 First Division 18000111[lower-alpha 4]0201
Total 522303110593
Birmingham City 1986–87 Second Division 1000000010
Notts County 1987–88 Third Division 23020004[lower-alpha 5]0290
Career Total 5673831237329466447
  1. Appearances in Texaco Cup
  2. Appearances in Anglo-Scottish Cup
  3. Appearances in UEFA Cup
  4. Appearances in Full Members' Cup
  5. One appearance in Third Division play-offs and three appearances in Football League Trophy

Managerial statistics

As of match played 6 April 2015.
Managerial record by team and tenure
Team From To Record Ref
Chesterfield 2 November 1988 1 January 1991 111 38 30 43 034.2 [49]
Nottingham Forest 12 July 2001 7 February 2004 134 42 44 48 031.3 [49]
Barnsley 4 March 2004 4 March 2005 51 14 19 18 027.5 [49]
Rushden & Diamonds 23 May 2006 16 October 2006 16 4 4 8 025.0 [49][50]
Portsmouth 9 February 2009 24 November 2009 30 9 6 15 030.0 [49]
Queens Park Rangers 17 December 2009 15 January 2010 5 1 2 2 020.0 [49][51]
Crystal Palace (caretaker) 2 March 2010 2 May 2010 14 3 6 5 021.4 [49]
Swindon Town 3 March 2011 28 April 2011 11 1 4 6 009.1 [49][52]
Notts County (caretaker) 23 March 2015 7 April 2015 3 0 3 0 000.0 [49][38]
Total 375 112 118 145 029.9



  • Calley, Roy (1992). Blackpool: A Complete Record 1887–1992. Breedon Books Sport. ISBN 1-873626-07-X.


  1. "Paul Hart". Barry Hugman's Footballers. Retrieved 22 January 2020.
  2. Dunk, Peter, ed. (1987). Rothmans Football Yearbook 1987–88. London: Queen Anne Press. p. 58. ISBN 978-0-356-14354-5.
  3. "Forest sues Anderlecht over '84 bribery scandal". BBC Sport. 24 December 1997. Retrieved 9 February 2009.
  4. "Hart named new Forest boss". BBC Sport. 12 July 2001. Retrieved 5 January 2008.
  5. Taylor, Daniel (1 August 2001). "Debt-ridden Forest put entire squad up for sale". The Guardian. London. Retrieved 4 May 2016.
  6. Spellman, Damian (19 September 2001). "Boro's bid for McCarthy foiled by red tape". The Guardian. London. Retrieved 4 May 2016.
  7. Bailey, Graeme (16 November 2001). "Rogers completes Foxes switch". Sky Sports. Retrieved 4 May 2016.
  8. Johnson, William; Davies, Christopher (8 February 2002). "Ginola wings in for Everton". The Daily Telegraph. London. Retrieved 4 May 2016.
  9. "Blades overcome brave Forest". BBC Sport. 15 May 2003. Retrieved 4 May 2016.
  10. "Forest sack Hart". BBC Sport. 7 February 2004. Retrieved 5 January 2008.
  11. "Barnsley bring in Hart". BBC Sport. 4 March 2004. Retrieved 5 January 2008.
  12. "Barnsley part company with Hart". BBC Sport. 4 March 2005. Retrieved 5 January 2008.
  13. "Hart takes over as Rushden boss". BBC Sport. 23 May 2006. Retrieved 5 January 2008.
  14. "Diamonds part company with Hart". BBC Sport. 16 October 2006. Retrieved 5 January 2008.
  15. "Portsmouth appoint Paul Hart as permanent manager following club takeover". The Daily Telegraph. London. 21 July 2009. Retrieved 4 May 2016.
  16. "Portsmouth confirm Adams sacking". BBC Sport. 9 February 2009. Retrieved 9 February 2009.
  17. "Kidd to assist Hart at Portsmouth". BBC Sport. 11 February 2009. Retrieved 1 December 2017.
  18. "Portsmouth 2–0 Man City". BBC Sport. 14 February 2009. Retrieved 14 March 2009.
  19. "Hart to stay at Pompey for season". BBC Sport. 3 March 2009. Retrieved 4 March 2009.
  20. "Portsmouth takeover gets go-ahead". BBC Sport. 21 July 2009. Retrieved 21 July 2009.
  21. "Wolves 0–1 Portsmouth". BBC Sport. 3 October 2009. Retrieved 4 May 2016.
  22. "Struggling Portsmouth part company with boss Paul Hart". BBC Sport. 24 November 2009. Retrieved 24 November 2009.
  23. "Paul Hart becomes the new QPR man ager". BBC Sport. 17 December 2009. Retrieved 15 January 2010.
  24. "Manager Paul Hart leaves QPR after five games". BBC Sport. 15 January 2010. Retrieved 15 January 2010.
  25. "Paul Hart takes over as Crystal Palace boss". BBC Sport. 2 March 2010. Retrieved 2 March 2010.
  26. "Neil Warnock is named manager of Queens Park Rangers". BBC Sport. 1 March 2010. Retrieved 4 May 2016.
  27. "Paul Hart emotional after Palace draw relegates Owls". BBC Sport. 2 May 2010. Retrieved 4 May 2016.
  28. "Swindon Town appoint Paul Hart as manager". BBC Sport. 3 March 2011. Retrieved 3 March 2011.
  29. Taylor, Louise (3 June 2010). "Paul Hart in talks to be Hull City manager as Iain Dowie's hopes fade". The Guardian. London. Retrieved 4 May 2016.
  30. "Hull City name Nigel Pearson as new manager". BBC Sport. 29 June 2010. Retrieved 11 August 2010.
  31. Butt, Steve (28 April 2011). "Breaking news: Swindon Town sack Paul Hart". Swindon Advertiser. Retrieved 24 August 2020.
  32. "Brentford 0–1 Swindon". BBC Sport. 9 April 2011. Retrieved 4 May 2016.
  33. "Ex-Swindon boss Paul Hart joins Charlton academy". BBC Sport. 3 June 2011. Retrieved 4 May 2016.
  34. Liddle, Ian (21 May 2014). "Paul Hart leaves Charlton, Steve Avory to become Academy Manager". Charlton Athletic F.C. Archived from the original on 22 May 2014. Retrieved 21 May 2014.
  35. "Paul Hart takes acting Notts County academy manager post". BBC Sport. 2 October 2014. Retrieved 4 May 2016.
  36. "Notts County: Paul Hart takes interim charge of League One club". BBC Sport. 24 March 2015. Retrieved 4 May 2016.
  37. "Shaun Derry: Notts County sack manager". BBC Sport. 23 March 2015. Retrieved 4 May 2016.
  38. "Paul Hart: I never wanted Notts County manager position". BBC Sport. 8 April 2015. Retrieved 4 May 2016.
  39. "Ricardo Moniz: Notts County confirm new manager". BBC Sport. 7 April 2015. Retrieved 7 April 2015.
  40. "Paul Hart had always planned to leave Notts County after Shaun Derry's departure". Nottingham Post. 8 April 2015. Archived from the original on 29 September 2015. Retrieved 4 May 2016.
  41. Hay, Phil (29 August 2015). "Leeds United: Paul Hart set for Leeds academy comeback". Yorkshire Evening Post. Leeds. Retrieved 29 August 2015.
  42. Hay, Phil (1 April 2016). "Leeds United confirm departure of academy director Hart". Yorkshire Evening Post. Leeds. Retrieved 4 May 2016.
  43. "Paul Hart: Luton Town name ex-Portsmouth boss as assistant manager". BBC Sport. 3 May 2016. Retrieved 4 May 2016.
  44. "Paul Hart joins as Assistant Manager". Luton Town F.C. 3 May 2016. Retrieved 4 May 2016.
  45. "Paul Hart: Stoke City boss Nathan Jones appoints ex-Notts County technical director as assistant". BBC Sport. Retrieved 17 January 2019.
  46. "Club Statement". Stoke City. Retrieved 1 November 2019.
  48. Paul Hart at the English National Football Archive (subscription required)
  49. "Managers: Paul Hart". Soccerbase. Centurycomm. Retrieved 8 April 2016.
  50. "Official Club History". Rushden & Diamonds F.C. Archived from the original on 23 April 2010. Retrieved 29 December 2009.
  51. "Paul Hart is latest manager to be shunted out of QPR". The Guardian. London. 15 January 2010. Retrieved 8 April 2016.
  52. "Paul Hart – Manager Profile". Swindon Town F.C. Archived from the original on 8 May 2016. Retrieved 8 April 2016.