Neil McNab
Neil
McNab

Neil McNab was handed his first managerial post, at Exeter City, on October 17 2002 at the age of 45, with former Darlington boss Gary Bennett moving to St James Park as his assistant.

The former Portsmouth and Manchester City coach replaced John Cornforth, who was sacked by the Grecians after a disappointing start to the season.

Exeter Chairman John Russell said after the appointment: "Both Neil and Gary come with the highest recommendations. When we mentioned their names to other managers in the game we got a massively positive feedback. What we like most about them is that they are both hungry and will live and eat Exeter City."

Neil took over with Exeter struggling - placed 21st in the Third Division after picking up just three league wins from their opening 13 games.

After initially having a positive impact on the side, which appeared to be helping them move away from the danger zone, results took a turn for the worse, and a 2-0 defeat to Bournemouth on February 22 was The Grecian's fifth straight loss, leaving them bottom of the table.

Three days later the board decided to act, dismissing McNab and Bennett after just four months in their posts.

Neil enjoyed a long playing career spanning over twenty years. He joined Tottenham from Greenock Morton in 1973, staying at White Hart Lane for five years, before moving to Bolton. Spending much of his career in the North, the midfielder had a loan spell at Leeds and spent six years with Manchester City, making over 200 appearances for the Maine Road club from 1983 to 1989, before joining Tranmere, then Huddersfield, and finishing his career with a brief spell at Darlington in 1993.

Born in Greenock on June 4 1957, Neil undoubtedly dreamed of playing for Scotland. He unfortunately never won a full cap but did represent his country at schoolboy and under-21 level.

Having spent three seasons playing for Brighton at the end of the seventies, Neil's move to Exeter signalled a return to the South Coast. His experience as a coach prior to his appointment at St James Park included spells at Portsmouth, under the guidance of Graham Rix, and his old club Manchester City during Alan Ball's tenure.

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