‘He’s somebody who does everything to the letter, does everything properly, everything to the best of his ability – and he deserves a rhythm and a run of games. Unfortunately, if you are looking for fairness, football is probably the wrong place to look.” Danny Cowley.
Bringing in a 31-year-old EFL experienced defender at the end of August you need to ask “how has that happened? The reality appears to be that no EFL or Step One club will consider Downing, despite his 338 games, because of his recent injury record. That is how football works, it’s no slight on our manager or our club. Providing we make arrangements eyes wide open to the situation, the deal can work for both.
Initially, Paul Downing’s football career was progressing well. He was another graduate from the highly successful WBA Academy. As was trumpeted elsewhere, a raw 18-year-old Paul was loaned to Hereford United in 2010, playing 6 games, though a dismissal in the last one blotted his copybook a little. The defender went on to be a mainstay of Walsall’s defence and by the age of 24, Downing had an impressive 221 EFL appearances behind him. But his 43 appearances for the Franchise during 2016/17 were to be his last season as a first choice, injury free performer. He signed for a series of EFL clubs but all too often, his body led him down. His managers Tony “Mogga” Mowbray, Robbie Stockdale and Danny Cowley were generous in their praise for a model yet highly frustrated player.
Stockdale 2022: “We’ve got a very calming figure that looks a class act on the pitch but acts like a class act off the pitch.”
Danny Cowley: “Paul’s an excellent professional and an intelligent defender and a really good human being,”
During October and November 2021, Paul had a hamstring issue which seemed to morph into a calf injury. Between January and March 2022, a scan showed up a groin injury for the Taunton-born defender. The following month, he fractured his ankle and was out “for a significant period of time.” Pompey released him in July 2022 and he hasn’t played since. He has trained with several clubs including almost certainly Solihull Moors.
Paul Downing was clearly well known to our manager. With Paul’s uncle being assistant manager at the Bluenoses and Paul’s brother Leigh working at the WBA Academy, the tie-in with our manager is obvious. In addition, Paul C and Paul D were Blackburn Rovers team mates in 2017/18.
Away from football, Paul married children’s nurse Bethany in June 2022. The couple had their first child Louie in March this year and the family live in Worcester.
Welcome to the pleasure dome, Paul.