Michael Appleton has today been named as the new manager of Charlton Athletic. The Addicks have announced the former Preston North End midfielder as the successor to Dean Holden, who was the first managerial casualty in the Football League this season.

Appleton will be tasked with trying to lead the side back into the Championship for the first time since 2020. The 47-year-old does have ample experience in League One after successful stints as manager of Oxford United and Lincoln City.

The former Manchester United player’s last spell as manage was with North End’s rivals Blackpool. He took over last summer after Neil Critchley departed to join Aston Villa as Steven Gerrard’s assistant manager.

The Tangerines endured a difficult season, and although Appleton was hindered by injuries, he was sacked in January after just seven wins from 29 games. He was replaced by Mick McCarthy who didn’t even see the season out himself. It was Stephen Dobbie who was interim manager when relegation to League One was finally confirmed.

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Michael Appleton played an important part in Preston’s Division Two title winning season in 2000, and had a great start to life in Division One as well. Halfway through that season he was snapped up by West Bromwich Albion, and both The Baggies and North End ended up making it into the play-offs.

Michael Appleton
17 Nov 2000: Michael Appleton of Preston North End clears the ball from danger during the Nationwide League Division One match against Watford pla…

Just a few months later in November 2021 Appleton would play his last game of professional football. Aged just 25 he tore his cruciate ligaments in his knee, and two years later he would announce his retirement.

A few years later Appleton and West Brom ended up suing the surgeon who had done the operation on his knee, and Appleton was awarded £1.5 million, after claiming for loss of earnings due to the botched proedure.

Appleton’s first taste of managerial action came with West Brom as a caretaker. He then went on to manage Portsmouth who were in a dire financial situation, before taking over Blackpool for his first spell in 2012. Just 65 days later though he moved to Lancashire rivals Blackburn Rovers. His time at Ewood Park would only 67 days however, despite a famous FA Cup 5th Round win away to Arsenal.

Three years at Oxford United brought a promotion from League Two and two appearances in the final of the Football League Trophy. He then had one year as assistant manager at Leicester City, before three years at Lincoln which saw them reach the League One play-off final in 2021 only to lose to Blackpool.

He will be looking to take Charlton one step further.

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