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Worksop appoint ex-Leeds, Walsall and Mansfield player as coach aged 28

Worksop Town have chosen to appoint an ex-Leeds, Walsall and Mansfield player as a player-coach aged 28, it’s been announced.

James Baxendale has been brought into the coaching set-up following some experience at English Football League level, of that he spent nine years, played in 154 matches and scored 8 times as a midfielder

The Northern Premier League Division One South East confirmed the news on Thursday as they now turn their attention to pre-season and the 2021/22 campaign with news on this term being cancelled with immediate effect.


Worksop Town are delighted to announce that James Baxendale has been promoted to the management team, taking on the role of player-coach.

Craig Parry has previously expressed his beliefs on promotion from within, allowing Luke Jeffs and Mark Whitehouse to go into a coaching role when their playing careers came to an end – upgrading their positions during the restructuring of the management team this month.

The next step in Parry’s reshuffle sees Baxendale be given the chance to learn his trade as a player-coach, due to his vast knowledge and understanding of the game, as well as his experience in the Football League and footballing ability.

The 28-year-old made 12 appearances last campaign – several of which he was vice-captain for – and will continue to help the Tigers on the field, as well as learning from head coach Whitehouse off it.

Manager Parry had this to say on Baxendale’s appointment: “I think when we sat around the table and looked for someone to come in and work alongside us, Bax stood out for us all.

“We made the decision pretty early in the reshuffle but wanted James to settle in and get used to working with us before making public announcements.

“From having him at my previous club and bringing him to Worksop Town as vice-captain, as well as getting to know him off the field in a personal side, I know that he brings experience in playing in the Football League, but also honesty, energy, hard work and loyalty to my management team.

“I think this is a good time for James to dip his toe in the other side of the fence and come and work with us and look at how we operate and work closely with Mark and the players, but let’s not forget how important he is going to be on the pitch as well.”

Baxendale came through the youth system at Leeds United and was a regular for the Under-18 side, though the club decided to not give him a professional contract.

After being released at the end of the 2010/11 season, he signed for then-Championship outfit Doncaster, made his pro debut in a League Cup win against Tranmere at the Keepmoat, coming on for Ryan Mason. He then made a league debut against West Ham four days later.

He was sent out on loan to Buxton, where he was named the club’s player of the month for December 2011 after a string of impressive displays. His loan spell was extended and then left in March 2012.

On the 22nd of March 2012, Hereford United then signed both Baxendale on loan from Doncaster Rovers. He returned back to the Yorkshire club in May 2012 before being released by the club after the expiry of his contract.

In August 2012, he then signed for Walsall, and endured the best spell of his career.

He netted his first goal for the club in a 2–1 win over Portsmouth on the 15th of September 2012. Seven days later, he scored again, in a 3–1 win over Preston North End. Impressive performances earned him an 18-month contract in January 2013, scored two more goals, against Preston and Oldham. Towards the end of the season, he was in and out of the squad.

He went on to score 7 goals in 103 appearances at the Bescot Stadium, the first season there he properly enjoyed considering the game time and amount he scored.

He left Walsall in 2016, and then joined up with Mansfield Town after an initially loan deal.

After making quick impact, scoring goals, and picking up man of the match awards, he turned a one month loan into a full season spell, getting dropped, played in the reserves then left by the end 2016/17.

He was released, then left English football in favour for American football with United Soccer League side Orange County SC.

He played as “a box-to-box midfielder, but for the most part, stayed out of the attack almost altogether”, captained the team, made 14 appearances then left for a return to England in 2017.

National League North side Alfreton Town came calling and signed him up, playing 13 times, was let go and signed for Kidderminster, making 15 appearance, and also played for Nuneaton, Mickleover and Grantham within the last few years.

Worksop appoint the ex-Leeds, Walsall and Mansfield player as coach aged 28 with a look at a career change, this is how fans reacted…

@17Briggsy: Si señooooorrr!!! 🐯🔥

@CraigRouse1: Good luck @JBaxo 🙌

@hxrryjxnes: BAAAAAAAXENDAAAALEEEEEE… bloke only scored screamers

@Malc76092401: Good luck in your new position @JBaxo

@scottlee94: Nicest man in football 🙌🏻 @JBaxo

@ClarkeGlenn: Good luck on the new role @JBaxo

@upthesaddlers: Bax to basics. Baxin’ lyrical. Bax to the Future.

@Kewy22: Good luck @JBaxo

@DeanSpencer11: Love to see this! Baxendale has been excellent for us since joining

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