Leeds United F.C. History
Leeds United F.C. History : Foreword
1919-29 - The Twenties
1930-39 - The Thirties
1939-46 - The War Years
1947-49 - Post War Depression
1949-57 - The Reign of King John
1957-63 - From Charles to Revie
1961-75 - The Revie Years
1975-82 - The Downward Spiral
1982-88 - The Dark Years
1988-96 - The Wilko Years
1996-04 - The Rollercoaster Ride
2004-17 - Down Among The Deadmen
100 Greatest LUFC Players Ever
Greatest Leeds United Games
Players' Profiles
Managers' Profiles
Leeds City F.C. History
Leeds City F.C. Player and Manager Profiles
Leeds United/City Statistics
Leeds United/City Captains
Leeds United/City Friendlies and Other Games
Leeds United/City Reserves and Other Teams

Worthington: Nigel

1994-1996 (Player Details)

Left Back/Midfield

Born: Ballymena, Northern Ireland: 04-11-1961

Debut: West Ham United (a): 20-08-1994

5’11” 12st 8lb (1982)

Howard Wilkinson first spotted Worthington playing for his native Ballymena, where he was ‘Young Footballer of the Year’, and signed him for Notts County in July 1981 for £100,000, a couple of months after he had collected an Irish Cup-winners’ medal after a 1-0 win over Glenavon and also an Ulster Cup-winners’ medal. Shortly after Wilkinson joined Sheffield Wednesday, he pursuaded County to part with the Northern Ireland Youth International in February 1984 for £125,000. He scored four goals in sixty-seven League games and featured in eighteen games in Cup Competitions at Meadow Lane. Rarely had money been so well spent as Worthington proved to be one of the Owls’ most consistent performers over the next ten years, becoming a regular member of his national team and playing in Wednesday’s League Cup triumph over Manchester United at Wembley in 1991, the same year as they gained promotion back to the EPL. Two years later, Worthington and his teammates were losing finalists in both the League Cup and FA Cup. After rejecting new terms from Sheffield Wednesday, Worthington opted to join his old boss, Howard Wilkinson, at Leeds. It was the third time Wilkinson had signed the Northern Ireland International. He scored twelve goals in three hundred and thirty-four starts and four substitute appearances at Hillsbrorough. He notched a further two goals in seventy-nine appearances in Cup and other competitions. A tribunal fixed the fee at £325,000 after the deal went through in in July 1994 and Worthington was used as cover at left-back and the left side of midfield, but became the boo-boys target in his second season when, at the age of thirty-four, the speed required to fit into United’s game plan, as Tony Dorigo’s deputy, seemed to have deserted him. At Leeds he pushed his International appearances through the sixty cap barrier and in his final season often wore the captain’s armband for Northern Ireland. He became Northern Ireland’s ninth most capped player with sixty-six caps. He also picked up eighteen Under-Eighteen caps and played once for the Irish League. He was freed at the end of the campaign, leaving for Stoke City, where he made twelve League appearances and scored once in three League Cup games, before becoming Player/ Manager at Blackpool in 1977. He soon retired from playing, after four League starts and five games from the bench, to take on sole managerial duties, but two and a half seasons in charge ended with his resignation. It followed a worrying dip in form that saw the club lying in the thick of the Second Division relegation battle. He had little sympathy from the fans on his departure and they accused him of adopting a long-ball game. After acting as assistant to Howard Wilkinson with the England Under-Twenty-one team, Worthington moved to Norwich City at the start of the 2000-01 season as assistant to Bryan Hamilton. He was appointed caretaker manager on 4th December 2000 after Hamilton resigned and the following month was appointed as permament manager and he later saved the club from relegation to the Second Division. The 2001-02 season, Worthington's first full season, saw the club reach the play-off final but lost to Birmingham City on penalties. In his third full season in charge, 2003-04, Worthington took Norwich into the EPL after winning the First Division with a club record ninety-four points. However, the club struggled in the EPL and found itself in a battle against relegation. Before the final game of the season the club was in pole position to survive but they were defeated 6–0 by Fulham and ended the season nineteenth in the table having conceded seventy-seven goals. Only five other teams have ever conceded more goals in an EPL season. Norwich were tipped to make an instant return to the EPL in the 2005-06 season having retained the majority of their squad. However, the club failed to mount the expected promotion challenge which led to some supporters calling for Worthington to leave the club. Despite the pressure from supporters, Worthington retained his position to remain in charge for the beginning of the 2006-07 season. After a defeat to Plymouth Argyle in September 2006, Norwich's majority shareholders, Delia Smith and Michael Wynn-Jones, released a statement expecting Worthington to improve the team's performance in the following matches. Norwich's following game, a 4–1 defeat to Burnley, was Worthington's final game in charge as he was sacked almost immediately after the result. Towards the end of the 2006–07 season, Worthington was appointed caretaker manager of relegation threatened CCCL side Leicester City. Despite losing his first game to former club Norwich, he was able to steer the Foxes to safety and stated his desire to become Leicester's permanent manager. He lost out on the position to Martin Allen. Worthington was appointed as manager of Northern Ireland in June 2007, initially on a short term contract until the end of the Euro 2008 qualifying tournament in the November. At the time of his appointment, Northern Ireland led their qualifying group. Although Northern Ireland eventually finished third in their qualification group, the IFA were suitably impressed enough to give Worthington a two-year contract until 2010.

League 33/101
F.A. Cup 6/10
League Cup 4/10