Keith Curle has secured his first promotion as a manager after guiding Northampton to success in the League Two play-off final.
The Cobblers thrashed Exeter 4-0 on Monday and will play in the third tier next season.
Here, the PA news agency profiles the man at the helm.
Having taken up his first position when appointed as Mansfield player-manager in December 2002, 56-year-old Curle is one of the most experienced managers in the English Football League. He has also had spells in charge of Chester, Torquay, Notts County and Carlisle before taking over at Sixfields in October 2018.
As a former England centre-back, Curle enjoyed a long and distinguished playing career before progressing into management. After beginning at Bristol Rovers, he made more than 700 appearances in over two decades. He played in all four divisions but shone in the top flight with Wimbledon and Manchester City, earning three international caps. There were also significant stints at Wolves, Bristol City and Sheffield United among the 10 clubs he represented.
Curle guided Mansfield to the Third Division play-off final in his first full season in charge but has had to wait until now to clinch a promotion. Near misses have included Notts County edged out of the League One play-offs on goal difference in 2011-12 and Carlisle losing in the League Two semi-finals in 2017.
Learning from promotion master
Between leaving Torquay in 2007 and taking over at Notts County in 2012, Curle worked as a first-team coach under promotion specialist Neil Warnock at Crystal Palace and QPR. Their greatest feat came when they guided QPR to the Premier League in 2011, one of Warnock’s record eight promotions in English football.
Curle is one of only five managers in England’s professional game from an ethnic minority background – a sixth, Sol Campbell, departed Southend on Tuesday. His play-off victory came on the same day the Premier League, EFL and Professional Footballers’ Association announced the setting up of a new scheme to improve the representation of individuals from ethnic minority backgrounds in the coaching ranks.
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