Michael Nelson became Norwich City's third signing of the 2009
summer when he signed a two year deal on 19th June 2009. The 29-year-old
central defender was a free agent having turned down a new contract
offer at Hartlepool
At 6ft 2ins tall he fits the bill and his description of what
he brings to the Carrow Road party is simple: No nonsense
City beat off interest from the Championship - thought to be
newly-promoted Scunthorpe - to land Nelson, but the north-east
native says the decision was an easy one to make. I went
to have a look around a Championship club came and had a look
around here and I made my decision. I don't think I'll regret
it. I think once you come down here the club doesn't really need
selling to you. You have a look round the stadium and around the
training ground and it speaks for itself.
Nelson started his playing career as a semi-professional, playing
for non league teams such as Spennymoor United, Leek Town and
Bishop Auckland. Nelsons performances attracted the attention
of league clubs who sent scouts to watch him. Nelson was given
a trial at Hartlepool but he was not offered a contract by the
then Hartlepool manager Chris Turner. However Nelson was offered
a contract at Bury by manager Andy Preece after Bury scout Peter
Ward convinced him to give Nelson a chance in 2001
He made 74 appearances for Bury, scoring 8 goals and was named
club captain. In 2003, he transferred to Hartlepool for £70,000.
Michael made his debut
for Norwich in the 7-1 shock home defeat to Colchester on the
opening day of the 2009/10 season. He finished the season with
36 appearances and 3 goals as City won the League One title.
Nelson left the Canaries on deadline day in January 2011 for
an undisclosed fee, joining Scunthorpe United, just an hour from
the deadline. Manager Paul Lambert explaining
that Nelson as a true professional deserved a shot at an extended
contract. Nelson and Andy Hughes,
signed from Leeds, were added to the Scunthorpe squad by manager
Ian Barraclough to add experience. However it was in vain as Scunthorpe
were relegated to League One on 30th April 2011 following a 5-1
defeat to Notts Forest.
On 14th January 2012, Nelson joined Scottish side Kilmarnock
on a two and a half year deal. On 18th March 2012, he played in
the 2012 Scottish League Cup Final which Kilmarnock won after
beating Celtic 1-0.
On 16th January 2013, Nelson returned to England joining Bradford
for a sum alleged to be around £30,000. He had made 41 appearances
for Kilmarnock, scoring three goals. Nelson and Bradford won promotion
to League One beating Aidy Boothroyd's
Northampton in the play-off final on 18th May 2013.
On 1st August 2013 Nelson signed a two-year deal with Scottish
Premiership side Hibernian, moving from Bradford City for a nominal
transfer fee. Unfortunately for Nelson, Hibs were relegated via
the play-offs to the Scottish Championship at the end of the 2013/14
On 26th August 2014 Nelson signed a one year contract with League
Two side Cambridge United shortly after agreeing mutual termination
with his previous club Hibernian.
Nelson was told on 6th May 2015 that his contract would not be
renewed by Cambridge. He was quickly linked with former club Hartlepool
but joined Barnet on trial playing in their 11th July 2015 friendly
against Crystal Palace. This was turned into a permanent contract
on 1st August 2015.
Nelson signed a new contract with Barnet in May 2017 which will see him also coach the club's Under-23s. Despite winning 3-0 against Chesterfield on the final day of the season, a game in which Nelson started, it was not enough to prevent them being relegated to the Conference. This was his 29th appearance of the season.
He left Barnet and spent the 2018/19 season with Chesterfield for whom he made 13 appearances.
In the summer of 2019, he joined Gateshead as player-coach. On 17th January 2020, he moved to Stevenage to become assistant to manager Terry Westley with whom he worked at Barnet. Nelson said “I am very excited to get started. “It is a fresh challenge for me, I have worked with Graham before and I really looking forward to doing so again. It is an important time for the Club. There are some big games coming up and it is about getting everyone to pull in the right direction. The Manager seems to have instilled some of his beliefs into the players and you can see that with the resilience they have been showing. It is about getting the attacking side going now and start winning some games.”
Nelson left the club a month later after Alex Revell was appointed manager. He then joined Blyth Spartans as a player on 26th February 2020 but was named caretaker player-manager the following week replacing Lee Clark, His appointment was made permanent on 1st May 2020 even though his spell in the dugout was cut short due to the coronavirus pandemic. Nelson said: “I’m just pleased to get it done, especially with all the uncertainty. It was unexpected when it first happened a few months ago but when the coronavirus happened, I’ve been in regular contact with everyone at the club. I’ve had meetings and there have been a lot of emails exchanged, so it’s something that we have all been working on together. I’m extremely delighted to be given the opportunity. It’s a club with a very proud history.” Nelson has comnpleted his UEFA Level A coaching qualification.
Nelson parted company with the Spartans on 17th November 2021 after suffering a ninth consecutive defeat. On 1st December 2021 Nelson became Assistant Manager to the newly appointed Graeme Lee at Hartlepool.
Nelson left Hartlepool on 7th June 2022 days after the Pools appointed new manager Paul Hartley.
After five defeats at the start of the 2022/23 season, Scunthorpe sacked manager Keith Hill. Academy manager Terry Daws was appointed Interim Manager on 1st September 2022 with goalkeeping coach Paul Musselwhite and former Iron defender Michael Nelson assisting him. When Daws stepped back to his academy role in November 2022, Nelson took on the interim manager position.
He became Head Coach at Scunthorpe on 29th January 2023 after the Iron appointed Peterborough Sports manager Jimmy Dean as their new boss. Dean and Nelson couldn't stop Scunthorpe from being relegated to the National League South on 10th April 2023 following a 2-0 defeat to Oldham.
He left Scunthorpe on 15th June 2023 due to personal reasons, stating "My time at the club has come to an end. I have been given an opportunity to work extremely close to the family home which will allow me to be at home with my family every night (something I haven't been able to do throughout a lot of my career). Although my time at the club came at a very turbulent time I thoroughly enjoyed working with the fantastic staff there. Not just the football staff, but all the office staff and hospitality staff as well." He became Football Academy Manager at Park View Academy of Sport while also working as a first team coach at part-time side Chester-Le-Street United