University, Wembley & crossing the Yorkshire divide, Paul Heckingbottom’s journey to become Hibs head coach



After a protracted search for a successor to Neil Lennon, Hibs have named Paul Heckingbottom as their new head coach.

After a journeyman career which saw the former Manchester United youth player turn out for the likes of Darlington, Bradford and Sheffield Wednesday, he moved into further education and coaching with boyhood heroes Barnsley.

Here, Capital City Press looks back on Heckingbottom’s managerial journey to Easter Road.

August 2012: After serving as the head of football academy at Barnsley College, Heckingbottom lands his first role in the professional coaching ranks, becoming under-21s manager at Barnsley.

June 2013: Heckingbottom illustrates his studious streak by graduating from a two-year Sports Coaching degree at Leeds Beckett University with honours.

February 2015: A maiden taste of life in the hot-seat for Heckingbottom, who steps up to a caretaker role following the departure of Danny Wilson. He guided the club to wins over Crewe and Scunthorpe following a heavy defeat by Crawley in his three games at the helm.

February 2016: Heckingbottom again steps up to the caretaker role after Lee Johnson leaves Oakwell to join Bristol City – and he would go on to make the job his in the subsequent four months.

April 2016: Heckingbottom guides Barnsley to glory in a cup competition for the first time in 104 years as the Tykes defeat Oxford United – ironically managed by his rival for the Hibs job, Michael Appleton – 3-2 in the EFL Trophy final at Wembley.

May 2016: Heckingbottom masterminds another unforgettable afternoon at Wembley for the Oakwell faithful as they defeat Millwall 3-1 in the League One playoff final in front of 52,000 fans, having defeated Walsall over two legs in the semis.

June 2016: A glorious campaign for the Barnsley boss was capped with more educational success, completing his Sports Coaching Masters at Leeds Beckett University.

June 2016: Heckingbottom is confirmed as the permanent Barnsley manager on a 12-month rolling contract after securing their return to the Championship.

May 2017: Barnsley consolidate their position in the second tier, finishing 14th with a side that included current Rangers loan star Ryan Kent, claiming notable wins over Aston Villa, Leeds and Wolves along the way.

February 2018: Just six days after it was reported that he had signed a new contract with Barnsley, Heckingbottom crossed the Yorkshire divide to join Leeds United, becoming the 13th man to take charge of the club in six years.

June 2018: Heckingbottom suffers the first managerial set-back in his career as he is dismissed by Leeds following just four months at the helm, having claimed four wins from 16 matches and missed out on the playoffs.

February 2019: Hibs confirm Heckingbottom as the club’s new head coach following the shock departure of Neil Lennon.

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