Past Masters - Paul Simpson
Feature by Master Bob
Updated Sunday, 26th July 2009
A gifted winger who never quite made it
Paul Simpson was born on 26th July 1966 in Carlisle. He began his football career with city as a schoolboy in the early 1980’s before making his City debut on 2nd October 1982 in a 3-2 win over Coventry City at just 16 years of age. City were relegated that season and Simpson was loaned out to Irish side Finn Harps the following season in order for him to gain more playing experience.
He returned to City and made ten appearances in the closing matches of the 1984/85 season and scored six goals as the blues won promotion back to the First Division. He became a regular in the team, continually raiding down the left wing delivering some superb crosses into the box.
Simpson was rapidly becoming a start at City and his talents were recognised when he was selected for the England Under 21 squad and made his debut as a substitute against Denmark at Maine Road. He also featured in the Toulon Tournament in 1987 during which he scored one goal. Simpson was one of the stars for City the following season, which saw the emergence of talent such as Andy Hinchcliffe, David White, Steve Redmond, Ian Brightwell, Ian Scott and a certain Paul Lake.
Simpson had a phenomenal season which saw him play a huge part in helping the blues to the quarter finals of both the League Cup and the FA Cup which, but for the woodwork and excellent goalkeeping, he could have had a hat-trick against Plymouth in the fifth round.
The following season was Simpson’s last at City, joining newly relegated Oxford United for £200,000 in October 1988 after making 155 appearances for the blues. City visited the Manor Ground that season and Simpson scored against his former club as Oxford took a two-goal half time lead. Simpson’s joy later turned to dismay as the blues overturned the deficit to win the game 4-2.
He remained at Oxford for four years before moving to Derby County for £500,000. He later moved to Wolves, Blackpool and Rochdale. After two spells of player manager for Rochdale and Carlisle, Simpson retired from playing in 2006 and became manager of Preston North End.
Paul Simpson was a gifted winger but never reached the heights his talent desired but even so, he will always be a deserving Past Master.