Where are they now? Alan Knill

8th September 2018

Ever wondered what former Swans stars have been up to since hanging up their boots?

Well you are in the right place.

As part of a regular feature, we take a look at what some ex-Swansea City favourites have done since leaving SA1.

This week we catch up with Alan Knill.

There was a familiar face in the opposition dugout when Swansea City played Sheffield United in their opening Championship fixture of the 2018-19 season.

Former Swans defender Alan Knill is assistant manager to Chris Wilder at Bramall Lane.

“When the fixtures came out, I had a smile on my face seeing Swansea City were our first opponents,” says Knill, who made 89 league appearances for the Swans between 1987 and 1989, scoring three times.

“I always keep an eye out for my old clubs and want them to do well, except for when they are up against my team of course!”

Born in Slough on October 8, 1964, Knill’s playing career began at Southampton, where he rose through the ranks before signing his first professional contract in 1982.

However, he failed to make a first-team appearance for the Saints and departed two years later for Halifax Town, where he scored six goals in 118 league games before making the switch to South Wales.

“It was a big step up for me joining Swansea from Halifax,” he reflects. “Although moving to South Wales wasn’t as big an upheaval as it might sound.

“All my family are Welsh and from Bridgend so, even though it was quite a big move in terms of miles, it was to somewhere I had a connection with already.”

Knill was an ever-present during the 1987-88 season, making 58 appearances in all competitions.

The last and most significant of those games was the Fourth Division play-off final second leg against Torquay United, when a 3-3 draw secured a 5-4 aggregate win and promotion to the third tier.

“That play-off final against Torquay was a classic,” he smiles.

“It was pretty tense with so many goals across the two legs, but obviously we were delighted to get the result in the end.

“It was a fantastic time for me at Swansea. Promotion was the big highlight, but I also got to play with some really good players like Andy Melville, Chris Coleman, Colin Pascoe, Alan Davies and Joe Allon.”

Knill also gained recognition at international level, earning his one cap for Wales in a World Cup qualifier against the Netherlands in September 1988.

“I went from playing a match against Southend United to marking Marco van Basten within a few days,” he recalls.

“Terry Yorath was my manager at club and international level at the time, so obviously that helped me get into the Wales team.

“It’s just a shame I never got another opportunity to put that Welsh shirt on again.”

After departing the Swans, Knill turned out for the likes of Bury, Cardiff, Scunthorpe and Rotherham before hanging up his boots in 2001.

A career in coaching followed as he progressed through the ranks at Rotherham, before also taking charge of Bury, Scunthorpe and Torquay.

“I had always wanted to get into coaching during my playing career,” he adds.

“I’d never had any ambition of becoming a manager. I’ve always seen myself as a coach first and manager second. But, once you get that first taste, it kind of draws you in.

“When I eventually left Rotherham, I went into coaching as an assistant at Chesterfield before getting the manager’s job at Bury.

“Things went well at Bury but I left to go to Scunthorpe, which didn’t really work out, and neither did my time at Torquay.”

He “jumped” at the chance to team up with Wilder as his assistant at Northampton Town in January 2014 and the pair have gone from strength to strength, winning the League Two title with the Cobblers in 2016 before capturing the League One crown with Sheffield United the following year.