Michael Doyle (footballer, born 1981)

Michael Paul Doyle (born 8 August 1981) is an Irish professional footballer who plays as a midfielder for National League club Notts County. Born in Dublin, Doyle started his career at Celtic before a spell on loan in Denmark playing for AGF Aarhus. He subsequently spent the majority of his career at Coventry City and Sheffield United. Doyle has also been capped once by the Republic of Ireland.

Michael Doyle
Personal information
Full name Michael Paul Doyle[1]
Date of birth (1981-08-08) 8 August 1981
Place of birth Dublin, Ireland
Playing position Midfielder
Club information
Current team
Notts County
Number 8
Senior career*
Years Team Apps (Gls)
1998–2003 Celtic 0 (0)
2001–2002AGF Aarhus (loan) 22 (4)
2003–2011 Coventry City 264 (22)
2009–2010Leeds United (loan) 42 (0)
2011–2015 Sheffield United 188 (9)
2015–2017 Portsmouth 90 (3)
2017–2019 Coventry City 67 (4)
2019– Notts County 25 (0)
National team
2007 Republic of Ireland B 1 (0)
2004 Republic of Ireland 1 (0)
* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only and correct as of 15:06, 18 September 2019 (UTC)
‡ National team caps and goals correct as of 14:19, 16 December 2009 (UTC)

Club career

Early career

Doyle began his career as a trainee at Celtic turning full professional for them in August 1998. He and fellow Celtic teammate Liam Miller had a spell on loan in the Danish Premier League at club AGF Aarhus, with Doyle playing 22 League games and scoring four goals for the Danish side. During his time at Celtic, Doyle failed to make a single league appearance for the first team.

Coventry City

After the loan spell ended, Doyle signed for Coventry City which was managed by Gary McAllister after a successful trial, having been recommended by McAllister's assistant Eric Black who worked with Doyle at Celtic.[2] Doyle made his début against Peterborough United in the Football League Cup in August 2003, and scored in his appearance away against Ipswich Town in a 1–1 draw. Doyle played regularly throughout the season either side under the management of both McAllister and his successor Black.

Under Peter Reid, Doyle continued to play whenever fit, forging a useful partnership with captain Stephen Hughes. After Reid's departure Doyle continued to be favoured by new manager Micky Adams, scoring in the crucial away win at Watford, as the side avoided relegation from the Championship.

In 2005–06, Doyle continued to play regularly, captaining the side on a number of occasions since Christmas, notably in the 2–0 home win over Wolverhampton Wanderers. This came in his first match after a suspension for his dismissal in the previous home game against Crewe Alexandra for arguing with the referee. Doyle was named permanent captain of Coventry by Iain Dowie. Doyle was part of the Coventry team that beat Manchester United in the League Cup at Old Trafford, which remains one of the most famous League Cup upsets in recent years.

During the 2008–09 season, Doyle was a regular under Chris Coleman, starting 39 games for Coventry in all competitions. But due to the signing of Sammy Clingan from Norwich in the summer of 2009, Doyle found his first team place under threat, the reason for him wishing to seek guaranteed first team football elsewhere.

Leeds United (loan)

At the start of the 2009–10 season, Doyle joined Leeds United on a season long loan[3] and made his first team début in the first game of the season,a win against Exeter. Having become first choice in midfield Doyle said in an interview to Yorkshire Evening Post on in October that he would love to make his loan move from Coventry permanent, and he hoped that if he could impress manager Simon Grayson enough and earn Leeds promotion that it would help his chances in securing a permanent contract at the Elland Road club. In his first six-months at Leeds, Doyle has been a regular starter partnering either Neil Kilkenny or Jonathan Howson in centre midfield, with Doyle only missing games through suspension or being rested by Simon Grayson for squad rotation.

After Leeds were knocked out of the Football League Trophy, Doyle was dropped from the starting line-up for the first time in the league against Leyton Orient but remained a regular first team player. Leeds were duly promoted to the Football League Championship after finishing in second place in League One and thus earning automatic promotion. In total Doyle had played 52 games for Leeds in all competitions during the course of the season.[4] After promotion, Doyle claimed in interviews that he still wanted to join Leeds permanently rather than return to Coventry.[5][6] He also revealed that promotion with Leeds was his greatest achievement of his football career to date.[5]

Leeds manager Simon Grayson decided not to sign Doyle permanently,[7] Doyle returned to Coventry. During Doyle's loan at Leeds, Coventry manager Chris Coleman had been sacked and succeeded by Adrian Boothroyd, who saw Doyle as an important member of the team. Doyle started the season as first choice midfielder alongside Lee Carsley in the heart of Coventry's midfield before dropping to the bench as the season progressed. Following this and in the build up to Coventry's game against his former club Leeds, Doyle controversially stated that his time at Leeds was the best year of his life.[8] Back in the side Doyle scored his first goal for 21 months in November, a long range effort against Burnley.[9]

Sheffield United

Doyle signed for Sheffield United on a free transfer during the January 2011 transfer window, a move that reunited him with former boss Micky Adams,[10] and made his début in a 1–0 loss to Leicester City a few days later. He played regularly for the remainder of the season but with the club in decline he was unable to help to stop the Blades slipping to relegation. Regaining his place in the starting eleven at the outset of the following season, Doyle was awarded with the captain's armband as he played regularly in the centre of midfield. As the team challenged for promotion, Doyle scored his first goal for the Blades in January 2012, scoring against Yeovil Town at Bramall Lane.[11]

United failed to gain promotion, but in September 2012, Doyle signed a new three-year contract with the club, committing his future until 2015.[12] Doyle remained a regular in the side throughout the season as United fought another fruitless promotion battle.


On 6 July 2015, Doyle joined Portsmouth after being released by Sheffield United.[13] Doyle was made club captain,[14] and was an integral part of a side which finished the season in sixth place, earning a place in the play-offs; Doyle and Portsmouth ultimately lost to Plymouth in the semi-finals. He finished the season with 50 appearances and 2 goals in all competitions.

He signed a one-year contract extension on 5 January 2016, keeping him at Portsmouth until the summer of 2017.[15]

Doyle retained the captaincy during the 2016/17 season; a campaign which saw Portsmouth win the League Two championship after four years in the English professional game's basement division.[16] Though Doyle's defensive midfield partner changed several times over the course of the season, with Danny Rose and Amine Linganzi vying for a place in the first XI, Doyle remained first-choice for the screening role in front of the defence. He featured 96 times for the Blues, finding the net on three occasions.[17]

Return to Coventry City

On 11 May 2017, Doyle returned to Coventry City after having captained Portsmouth to its League Two victory.[17] He commented that he would have resigned for Portsmouth if the club would have made an offer of a contract extension.[18] Manager Mark Robins said that he was delighted in welcoming him back to his former club. He also added that his "leadership qualities on and off the pitch can not be underestimated".[19] In the same season, Doyle captained Coventry City to League 1 promotion, when the team won the 2017-18 League Two Play-Off Final at Wembley against Exeter, marking back-to-back promotion successes for Doyle as a team captain. On 31 May 2018, Coventry City confirmed that Doyle's contract extension had been triggered, with the Sky Blues' captain's contract now expiring 30 June 2019.[20] Doyle said "I came here to try and get this club back to the Championship where it should be and where it belongs..."[i]t's my club now and I will stay here and it will be my club for the rest of my life. "[21]

Doyle triggered a one-year contract extension with Coventry at the end of the 2017–18 season.[22]

Notts County

On 31 January 2019, Doyle signed for Notts County.[23]

International career

Doyle made his debut for the Republic of Ireland when he appeared as a substitute for Andy Reid in a 1–0 win over Holland in Amsterdam in 2004 but it was to be his only cap.[24] In 2007, he played for the Republic of Ireland B team.

Career statistics

Career statistics

As of 18 September 2019
Appearances and goals by club, season and competition
Season Club Division League FA Cup EFL Cup EFL Trophy Play-offs Total
Coventry City 2003–04[25] Championship 4053020476
2004–05[26] 4422031493
2005–06[27] 4403020490
2006–07[28] 4032000423
2007–08[29] 4273040497
2008–09[30] 3725120443
2010–11[31] 1735120243
Total 26520191131000029722
Leeds United (loan) 2009–10[32] League One 420603010520
Sheffield United 2010–11[31] Championship 1600000160
2011–12[33] League One 43340202030543
2012–13[34] 44340102020 523
2013–14[35] 432701110523
2014–15[36] 43150701010571
Total 1889200111606023110
Portsmouth 2015–16[37] League Two 44240000020502
2016–17[38] 46100000000461
Total 90340000020963
Coventry City 2017–18[39] League Two 44340001030523
2018–19[40] League One 23110000000241
Total 67450001030764
Notts County 2018–19 League Two 17000000000170
2019–20 National League 800000000080
Total 25000000000250
Career total 677365412728011077739


    Leeds United


    Coventry City



    1. "Michael Doyle". Barry Hugman's Footballers. Retrieved 7 March 2017.
    2. "Ex-Coventry City captain Michael Doyle joins Portsmouth". Coventry Telegraph. Retrieved 8 October 2017.
    3. "Doyle to Leeds in season loan". Coventry City F.C. 6 August 2009. Archived from the original on 8 August 2009. Retrieved 13 February 2011.
    4. "United boss shrugs off Mac attack". Leeds United F.C. 4 November 2010. Retrieved 13 February 2011.
    5. "Michael Doyle: Leeds United know I want to stay". Coventry Telegraph. 13 May 2010. Retrieved 13 February 2011.
    6. "Struggle's been worthwhile for promotion – Doyle". Yorkshire Evening Post. 12 May 2010. Retrieved 13 February 2011.
    7. "Leeds United: Grayson plays down his interest in Doyle". Yorkshire Evening Post. 10 July 2010. Retrieved 13 February 2011.
    8. "Leeds United was best year of my life – Doyle". Yorkshire Evening Post. 4 November 2010. Retrieved 13 February 2011.
    9. "Doyle ends Sky Blues' bad run". Sky Sports. 20 November 2010. Retrieved 13 February 2011.
    10. "Doyle's the boy for Blades". The Sun. 26 January 2011. Retrieved 13 February 2011.
    11. "Doyle ends long wait as Blades overhaul Owls again". The Yorkshire Post. 10 January 2012. Retrieved 14 January 2012.
    12. "Sheffield United skipper Michael Doyle signs new deal". BBC Sport. 20 September 2012. Retrieved 19 May 2013.
    13. "Michael Doyle: Portsmouth sign ex-Sheffield United midfielder". BBC Sport. BBC. 6 July 2015. Retrieved 6 July 2015.
    14. "Doyle pride at being named captain". www.portsmouth.co.uk. Retrieved 19 April 2017.
    15. Weld, Neil. "Michael Doyle signs contract extension at Pompey Portsmouth". www.portsmouthfc.co.uk. Retrieved 19 April 2017.
    16. "Notts County 1-3 Portsmouth". BBC Sport. 17 April 2017. Retrieved 19 April 2017.
    17. "Michael Doyle: Coventry City re-sign Portsmouth midfielder". BBC. Retrieved 8 October 2017.
    18. "Michael Doyle: Portsmouth captain would have signed new deal before Coventry move". BBC. Retrieved 8 October 2017.
    19. "can confirm they have agreed a contract with former Sky Blue Michael Doyle from Portsmouth". Coventry City. Retrieved 8 October 2017.
    20. "coventry-city-announce-retained-list-following-end-of-201718-season".
    21. "coventry telegraph football/transfer-news".
    22. "Michael Doyle: Coventry City captain triggers contract extension". BBC Sport. 31 May 2018. Retrieved 2 June 2018.
    23. "Notts County sign Michael Doyle, Sam Stubbs and Virgil Gomis on deadline day". BBC Sport. BBC. 31 January 2019. Retrieved 1 February 2019.
    24. "soccerscene.ie". soccerscene.ie. Retrieved 30 November 2016.
    25. 2003 at Soccerbase
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    41. Law, James (28 May 2018). "Coventry City 3–1 Exeter City". BBC Sport. Retrieved 28 May 2018.
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