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Ian Atkins (born in Sheldon, West Midlands on 16 January 1957) was manager of Bristol Rovers between April 2004 and September 2005. He was selected for the job earlier in 2004, but for contractual reasons he was forced to spent some time on 'gardening leave' before taking over the team in April. Prior to him taking control Russell Osman and Kevan Broadhurst had covered as joint caretaker managers.

During his only full season as Bristol Rovers manager, 2004-05, the team broke the club record for the most league draws in a single season with twenty-one.

Managerial record at Rovers[]

Season Comp Pld W D L F A GD[1] Pts[1] Pos[1][2] Round reached[3]
2003-04 Division Three 2 1 0 1 3 4 -1 3
2004-05 Division Three 46 13 21 12 60 57 +3 60 12th
FA Cup 2 0 1 1 1 2 First round
League Cup 2 1 0 1 2 2 Second round
League Trophy 6 4 1 1 9 5 Area final
2005-06 League Two 9 2 3 4 11 17 -6 9
League Cup 1 0 0 1 0 2 First round
Total League 57 16 24 17 74 78 -4 72
Cups 11 5 2 4 12 11
All 68 21 26 21 86 89


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 League games only
  2. Finishing position for completed seasons only
  3. Cup competitions only


Ian started out as an apprentice at Shrewsbury Town at the age of sixteen, and progressed through to the pro ranks in January 1975 when he turned 18. He spent seven years as a pro at Gay Meadow and made 279 league appearances in defence and midfield and scored 55 times, before being signed by Sunderland for a transfer fee of £80,000 in 1982. After playing 77 league games and scoring six goals for Sunderland, Ian was transferred to Everton for £70,000 in 1984 where he made just seven league appearances in one year for the club, scoring once. In 1985 he began a three-year stint with Ipswich Town, who paid Everton £100,000 for his services. He then went on to play for Birmingham City for two years, starting in 1988, before taking his first managerial position in 1990 as player-manager of Colchester United.

He returned to Birmingham City in 1991 for a second spell at the club, this time as player-assistant manager, before returning to a player-manager role in 1992 at Cambridge United. After this he was a player at Sunderland for the second time and Doncaster Rovers in 1993 and 1994 before hanging up his boots for good.

In 1994 he took over as manager of Northampton Town, which is where he really made his name as a manager, taking the team to promotion to Division Two in 1997. He spent five years in charge of the Cobblers, until relegation to Division Three in 1999 caused him to resign early in the 1999-2000 campaign. His next job was at Chester City, but another relegation with them caused him to resign again. He spent a season at the helm of Carlisle United in 2000-01, but the team struggled in Division Three, and Ian left to become assistant manager of Cardiff City in the summer of 2001. His stay at Cardiff was brief however, and he was sacked only a few months after his appointment.

Shortly after leaving Cardiff, Ian was appointed as Director of Football at Oxford United, and in November 2001 he took over the manager's role following the departure of Mark Wright from the club. Most of his time at Oxford was spent at or near the top of the Division Three league table, but in March 2004 he was suspended for talking to Bristol Rovers about the vacant manager's position there. A month later he was sacked, and took over as the Rovers boss.

After leaving Rovers Atkins was appointed as an advisor to Torquay United manager John Cornforth in March 2006, but a month after joining he replaced Cornforth in a successful bid to save Torquay from relegation. He was replaced in November 2006 by Czech manager Luboš Kubík, and has yet to return to football management.