Who is new MK Dons manager Paul Tisdale?

Paul Tisdale
Paul Tisdale

Paul Tisdale has been synonymous with Exeter City for 12 years, but will begin life in a different dugout next season after taking over at MK Dons.

Born in Malta in 1973, the 45-year-old was the longest serving manager in English football after Arsene Wenger’s Arsenal reign ended earlier this month.

During his 10-year playing career, which began at Southampton, Tisdale struggled to hold down a first team spot in any of his 10 clubs, making 72 appearances and scoring four goals from midfield. But injury curtailed his playing career, which he drew to a close in 2000.

He first hit the headlines as a manager when he led Team Bath to the FA Cup first round in 2002/03. They became the first university team to make the first round proper in more than 100 years. During his time at Bath, Tisdale took the team to four promotions before taking up his role at Exeter City in 2006.

Then in the Conference, Exeter missed out on promotion in Tisdale’s first season after losing to Morecambe in the playoff final, but made amends a year later after beating Cambridge United 1-0.

Back in the Football League, Exeter offered Tisdale a two-year rolling contract - a deal which he was served notice on in 2016, beginning the clouds of speculation surrounding his future.

But he became the first manager to lead the Grecians to back-to-back promotion when Exeter finished second in League 2 that season.

Life in League 1 was tough, but their 2-1 win over Huddersfield Town on the final day of the season kept Exeter up. The following season was Tisdale’s most successful as he guided his side to eighth place, but they were relegated back to League 2 in 2012 where they have remained since.

Two strong campaigns in the fourth tier saw Exeter return to Wembley twice in succession, but a 1-0 defeat to Blackpool and then last Monday’s 3-1 loss to Coventry City ensured a seventh season in League 2.

During his time at St James Park, Tisdale won 241 of his 626 games - a win percentage of 38.5.