Who is Paul Pilkington?

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Paul Pilkington Biography & Facts

Kevin William Pilkington (born 8 March 1974) is an English football coach and former professional footballer who is now the goalkeeping coach at EFL Championship club Luton Town. As a player, he had a 25-year career as a goalkeeper, playing 439 league and cup games. Noted for his shot stopping abilities, Pilkington notably played in the Premier League for Manchester United before dropping down to the English Football League, where he played in nearly 350 games in his time at Mansfield Town and Notts County, helping Mansfield win promotion out of the Third Division in 2001–02. He spent five years with Mansfield and then another ten years over two spells with Notts County; at both clubs he was usually the first choice keeper, rather than a back-up keeper as he was at most other clubs. He has also represented Rochdale, Rotherham United, Celtic, Port Vale, Aberystwyth Town, Wigan Athletic and Luton Town. Following his retirement, Pilkington moved into coaching and has worked as a goalkeeping coach for Ilkeston, Notts County, Luton Town, and Cambridge United. During the 2018–19 season, he briefly came out of retirement to act as a back-up keeper for Cambridge. Playing career Manchester United Pilkington started his footballing career at Manchester United, signing after he was scouted playing non-league football for Harrowby United. He featured in their FA Youth Cup triumph in 1992, after which he signed a professional contract. He found himself to be the third choice behind Peter Schmeichel and one of Gary Walsh, Tony Coton or Raimond van der Gouw, and although he was selected as an unused substitute in their two goalless draws with Russian side Torpedo Moscow in the 1992–93 UEFA Cup, he did not play a first team game until 16 November 1994, when he appeared as a substitute for the injured Peter Schmeichel in a 3–0 win over Crystal Palace in the Premier League on 16 November 1994. However, manager Alex Ferguson decided to select Walsh as goalkeeper for the 10 league games in which Schmeichel was absent, meaning that Pilkington was on the substitutes bench in each of these games, and back in the reserves once Schmeichel returned to fitness and Walsh returned to the bench. Pilkington won the Denzil Haroun Reserve Team Player of the Year award for the 1994–95 season.Walsh was sold to Middlesbrough just before the start of the 1995–96 season, enabling Pilkington to become United's second-choice goalkeeper. Pilkington made the first competitive start of his career in one of the most embarrassing games of United's modern history on 20 September 1995, when as the Premier League's second placed team they were beaten 3–0 at home by Second Division strugglers York City. His first league start came on 2 December 1995, when United drew 1–1 with Chelsea, Dennis Wise getting the better of Pilkington in the game at Old Trafford. He played a further two league games that season. In February 1996 he joined Division Three side Rochdale on a six-week loan, as the arrival of Coton had reduced him to third choice goalkeeper after six months as second choice. Coton left for Sunderland just before the start of the 1996–97 season, but Pilkington's hopes of becoming second choice goalkeeper again were ended by the arrival of 33-year-old Dutchman Van der Gouw. He played no part in United's 1996–97 season, instead joining Rotherham United on a three-month loan in January 1997. He played 17 games for the Second Division club, keeping just two clean sheets in a sub-par team that finished the season seventeen points adrift of safety from relegation. Pilkington played two games of United's disappointing 1997–98 campaign. On Boxing day he kept goal in a 2–0 defeat of Everton at Old Trafford, though two days later he conceded three at Highfield Road – Coventry City winning 3–2. He spent two months on loan with Scottish Premier League giants Celtic in the run-up to their 1998 title triumph, but he failed to make the field. Port Vale He signed with Port Vale on a free transfer in June 1998. Unable to dislodge the veteran Paul Musselwhite in the 1998–99 season, a young Pilkington played nine Division One games in mid-season, Vale losing all but two of them. Again forced to play second fiddle in 1999–2000, he played in sixteen games, keeping three clean sheets. He was at Vale Park for the end of an era – following John Rudge's dismissal, he was first choice keeper under Brian Horton from March onwards, but was released at the end of the season. Mansfield Town Following a brief spell with Welsh Premier League Aberystwyth Town, Pilkington joined Second Division side Wigan Athletic in early September 2000. After just six days he dropped down to Mansfield Town in the fourth tier. He played just three games for the "Stags" that season, before summer signing Michael Bingham from Blackburn Rovers was recruited as competition for the number 1 jersey. Promoted to first choice keeper in 2001–02, he played almost fifty games as the club achieved promotion in third place. Early in the season, Pilkington conceded a goal in bizarre circumstances during a League Cup First Round defeat to Notts County. Opposition keeper Steve Mildenhall put a free kick into Pilkington's net from inside of his own half of the field. In a first half to forget, County's Danny Allsopp also scored a 31st minute hat-trick. After recovering from a broken wrist in September, he played 36 games the next season, as Mansfield came straight back down. Pilkington played 55 competitive games in 2003–04. He kept a clean sheet in the 2004 play-off final, though Huddersfield Town won 4–1 on penalties. In 2004–05, Pilkington was busy once again, keeping goal on 46 occasions. At the end of the campaign he was out of contract. Offered a one-year deal, manager Carlton Palmer was confident of his signature. However, with the new deal paying less than his previous contract, he rejected the offer, despite Palmer being "95% sure" Pilkington would sign. Pilkington instead signed with League Two rivals Notts County in June 2005. Notts County In his first season at Meadow Lane, he played 48 games. In a difficult season, the experienced keeper helped the "Magpies" defence to compensate for their woeful scoring record. A clean sheet kept against Oxford United on 18 March proved vital as Oxford finished 23rd, three points behind County. Had Pilkington conceded a goal that day then it eventually would have been Notts County who would have lost their Football League status for the first time in the league's history. He dislocated a shoulder in April, which caused him to miss the last games of the season.Notts County were a lot more comfortable the following season, Pilkington making 40 appearances, all but one of them in the league. Boss Steve Thompson had some explaining to do when he dropped Pilkington in favour of Saul Deeney for a brief period in December. In 2007–08 the club again narrowly avoided relegation into the .... Discover the Paul Pilkington popular books. Find the top 100 most popular Paul Pilkington books.

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