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Father and son duos in The Football League

21 June 2015

Happy Father's Day! We've taken a look at some father and son duos who have graced The Football League.

Gary and Lee Johnson

Tuesday 16th April 2013 was a momentous night for the Johnson family, with father Gary and son Lee meeting on the touchline for the first time as managers.

It was Johnson junior who came out on top, watching his Oldham Athletic side take the spoils in a 1-0 victory over his father's Yeovil Town. They also went toe-to-toe last December, when Gary put one over on his son as the Glovers romped to a 4-0 triumph.

Despite having separate interests on those occasions, the pair have worked together in the past. Gary signed Lee as a player when in charge of the Watford youth system, and also recruited him in his first spell with Yeovil in 2001, and at Bristol City in 2006.

Gary is better known for his various roles in dugouts over the years, but the 59-year-old did have a spell in The Football League as a player with Cambridge United during the 90s, before hanging up his boots to take his coaching badges.

He guided Yeovil to Conference promotion in 2003, before elevating them to League 1 in 2005. He then moved to Bristol City, taking the Robins into the Championship in 2007. He almost guided the club to the Premier League the following season, but lost out in the Championship Play-Off Final at Wembley to Hull City - more on that later.

Tenures at Peterborough United and Northampton Town followed his five-year reign at City, before Johnson returned to Yeovil in 2012. He is currently the manager of Cheltenham Town, and will be tasked with returning them to The Football League in 2015/16 after relegation last season.

Lee, meanwhile, is now breaking through as a coach, and holds the post with Sky Bet League 1 outfit Barnsley, having joined from Oldham last February.

Steve and Alex Bruce

Like the Johnsons, Steve and Alex Bruce have experience of working together and the duo are set for another campaign in the same camp following Hull City's return to The Football League.

Steve had a fine playing career at the top level, most notably at Manchester United where he made over 300 senior appearances in a period when they dominated the English game.

His son may not have reached that level of success, but Bruce senior – now manager of Hull – rates him highly enough to make him an integral part of the Tigers' defence.

Alex had a brief playing spell under his father at Birmingham City, but his move to Ipswich Town was where he came into his own. The centre-back made over a century of appearances with the Tractor Boys before earning a transfer to Leeds United in 2010.

However, a family reunion occurred in 2012 when Bruce junior was brought to the KC Stadium by his dad, and the combination worked instantly, with Hull achieving promotion from the Championship that season.


It was a proud moment for the defender who, reflecting on the campaign, said: "To do it together, where I've got up there [the Premier League] and he's [Steve's] got back there; it's very pleasing. It's a season we'll both be able to look back on with fond memories, I'm sure."

With the pair set to remain at the club for the foreseeable future, the Bruces will undoubtedly be setting their sights on repeating that success in the forthcoming 2015/16 campaign.

Paul and Tom Ince

Paul and Tom Ince have also enjoyed working together in The Football League – not once, but twice.

Paul was in charge at Notts County and Blackpool while his son was in the playing squad of both teams, and the combination worked well.

Ince junior played some of the best football of his career under his father’s stewardship, with his brief loan spell at Notts County being where he started to forge a reputation for himself in the professional game.

That temporary switch was back in the 2010/11 campaign and, by the time the Inces were reunited, the attacking midfielder was already Blackpool’s key player.

The 23-year-old spent three years at Bloomfield Road, making over 100 appearances for the Lancashire club and becoming the side’s talisman.

Since, the England youth international has gone on to represent Hull City, Nottingham Forest and Derby County, where he has had differing levels of success.

He is yet to break into the starting line-up at Hull, while his time at Forest was a disappointment. However, his most recent loan spell, at Derby, was a very productive one with the youngster scoring 11 times in 18 appearances last season.

He still has some way to go to match his dad’s achievements in the game, though, with Ince senior having played for the likes of Manchester United, Inter Milan and Liverpool over the course of his glistening career at the top level.

Des and Tyler Walker

The forthcoming season is set to be a big one for Tyler Walker, after he signed a four-year contract with Nottingham Forest earlier this month.

But the 18-year-old striker, who is the son of Des, isn't fazed by the pressure that comes with having a legendary father. 

"I don't really think about what my dad did," Walker said in a recent interview with BBC Radio Nottingham. "I just try to play my game. I just want to score goals."

Walker senior notched more than 400 appearances for Forest while his son has made only seven first-team substitute outings to date, all of which came at the back-end of last term.

He hit the net in what was only his fourth showing, against Brentford, equalling his dad's tally, which he achieved in 858 senior matches, and now confidence is high for Walker junior ahead of 2015/16.

“The amount of confidence he [manager Dougie Freedman] has given me, staying behind after training sessions to put on drills that are going to benefit me, is brilliant and I really enjoy working with him.”

Dean and Josh Windass

Another young Football League player with a legendary father is Accrington Stanley's Josh Windass; son of goalscoring machine Dean, who needs no introduction.

Windass junior started out at Huddersfield Town but has found home at Accrington, where he signed a professional contract in July 2013.

After a handful of a showings in Sky Bet League 2 during 2013/14, he came to the fore last term by making 40 appearances and scoring six goals in 15 impressive outings towards the end of the campaign.

Windass senior, meanwhile, made his name for a number of clubs but arguably his most telling act was sending Hull City into the Premier League with magical volley against Gary Johnson's Bristol City in the aforementioned Championship Play-Off Final.

He's now a club ambassador for the Tigers and, interestingly, the 2015/16 Capital One Cup campaign has presented an opportunity for Windass junior to get one over on his father.

The Round 1 draw paired Accrington and Hull, and 21-year-old midfielder Josh has his sights set on hitting the net.

“I can’t believe it, it’s a quality draw,” Josh told Stanley's official website after the First Round draw. “I wanted Huddersfield which is my former club but Hull is even better.

“It would be a dream to score against them. I have had loads of texts and calls, including my dad.

“He comes to watch me when he can but he will have mixed loyalties for this one. I guess he will be supporting Hull so I will have to do my best to upset him.”

Accrington Stanley's Josh Windass excited for Hull City encounter - click here to read the full story

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