Player name in full: Paul Andrew Lake
To/from dates: 1987 to 1992
Number of appearances: 130
Goals scored: 11
Biography and City Career:
Paul Lake was born on 28th October 1968, along with his twin sister, Tracey, in St Mary’s hospital, Manchester. He was brought up in Denton, Manchester.
Paul was an outstanding footballer from an early age, beginning his football career at the age of 8, when he was selected for Denton Youth Under 12’s team. He soon came to the attention of the local City scout and moved to the Cheadle-based, feeder club, Blue Star F.C. His dream of playing for City moved a step closer in July 1985 when he signed YTS forms.
As a member of the ‘class of ‘86’, Paul played a full part in the successful City youth team under the coaching of Tony Book, Glyn Pardoe and chief scout, Ken Barnes. The team that beat Manchester United 3-1, over the 2-legged final of the FA Youth Cup, also included future First team players Steve Redmond, Andy Hinchcliffe, Ian Brightwell and David White.
Lake was given his First team debut for City in January 1987. He was to net his first goal for City a few weeks later in a 1-1 draw with Luton at Maine Road.
Paul soon established himself as a versatile, first team regular, playing at full back, centre half, midfield and as an orthodox striker.
Lake was to play a full part in several notable games in City’s recent history including the 10-1 defeat of Huddersfield and the 5-1 victory over Ferguson’s United team in 1989.
Howard Kendall made Lake club captain for the 1990-91 season but, just 3 games into the campaign, Paul injured the anterior cruciate ligament in his right knee. This was the start of an ultimately, unsuccessful 6-year battle to regain his fitness. After several operations, years of rehabilitation work and a couple of short-lived returns to the pitch, Paul finally retired in 1996. City immediately granted him a testimonial season and over 20,000 fans turned up at Maine Road for his testimonial match against Manchester United.
In 1980 Paul scored the winning goal at Wembley for St Mary’s R.C. Primary school in the final of the Smiths Crisps 6-a-side competition.
In the 1988/89 season Paul played for England Under 21’s on 5 occasions.
In January 1990, Paul was named in Bobby Robson’s provisional, 30-man squad for the World Cup. He was widely tipped to be a future England captain.
Paul used his injury battle as a stimulus for a second career and began training in physiotherapy, whilst working with the medical team at City. He had roles at Burnley, Altrincham and Oldham Athletic before graduating as a Physiotherapist from the University of Salford in 2003.He went on to work for both Macclesfield Town and Bolton Wanderers whilst running his own physiotherapy practice.
In 2010, Paul finally returned to his ‘spiritual home’ when he was given the role of Ambassador for City in the Community.