Tony Spearing is a product of the Norwich City youth side that
won the FA Youth Cup in 1983. As a left back, his opportunities
to play for the first team were limited by the presence of
Greg Downs and Paul Haylock. His first team debut came in May 1984 in
a meaningless end of season clash away to Tottenham Hotspur. A
broken leg on his fourth senior appearance at the beginning of
the next season ruled him out of contention for a long period
of time. He fought back from this injury and gained valuable experience
on loan to Stoke City and Oxford United. Eventually he established
himself again in the Norwich first team squad and by the time
of his eventual departure to Leicester City in July 1988, Tony
had made 82 first team appearances.
He cost Leicester £100,000 and in the next three seasons,
he made 73 appearances scoring his first league goal against Newcastle.
Under Brian Little's managerial regime, Tony did not fit in and
so transferred to Plymouth in July 1991. 35 games for the Devon
side was followed by a transfer to Peterborough where he was a
regular in their defence. The 1996/97 season brought him up to
a grand total of 111 league appearances for the Posh with two
goals to his credit. He was part of Barry Fry's summer 97 clearout
that saw Tony join Norfolk's leading non-league side King's Lynn
on a free transfer whilst former Canaries Louie
Donowa and Jon Sheffield joined
Walsall and Plymouth respectively.
Tony has proved himself popular with the Linnets' fans and became
the new manager of Lynn following Peter Morris' departure to Kettering
in May 1998. He suffered a baptism of fire as a new look King's
Lynn side endured a number of defeats at the start of the 1998/99
season. In late September, he decided that he was not suitable
to be Lynn's manager and resigned, returning to being solely a
player. His replacement was former Nottingham Forest player Gary
Mills. The tables were turned in November 2000 when Mills' resignation
resulted in Spearing taking temporary charge. Lynn's success under
Spearing's leadership despite financial difficulties saw him appointed
to the substantive post, bringing in Tommy Wright and Darren
Bloodworth as assistants.
Spearing's four and a half year reign at The Walks ended on 1st
March 2002 when the club's board "relieved him of his duties
as manager" following a review of the club's position. Since
his departure, he initially helped out old friend Henry Nicholson
by playing for Stalham's defence but signed up for AFC Sudbury.
In his first full season with the Suffolk side, Spearing and Sudbury
went on to win the Jewson League and reach the final of the FA
Vase. Unfortunately they lost the latter 2-1 to Brigg Town on
May 10th 2003. However this was to be Spearing's final appearance
for Sudbury as new manager Gary Harvey opted not to re-sign him
for the new campaign along with Wayne Anderson and Ross Taylor.
They have been partly replaced by new signings Simon Head (Halstead)
and Neil Calver (Woodbridge).
After training with Wroxham and Great Yarmouth in the summer
of 2003 to keep fit and appearing for them in pre-season friendlies,
he signed for the Bloaters as a player with the plan to help develop
the younger players at the club. In the summer of 2004, he left
Yarmouth despite playing for them against Norwich City. After
a couple of friendlies with Norwich United, he joined Wisbech
Town making his debut for the fenmen against Leiston on 21st August
2004. He parted company with the Fenmen over the weekend of 9th
In the summer of 2005, Tony helped with the coaching at cash
struck Cambridge United and Rob Newman
then appointed Spearing as his assistant manager. Spearing signed
a new contract with Cambridge on 8th April 2006 as did Newman.
However after a poor start to the 2006/7 season saw them at the
bottom of the Conference following a defeat at Exeter on 1st September
2006, Newman and Spearing were sacked with new chairman Lee
Power temporarily taking over team selection
Spearing was appointed Senior Scout at Blackburn Rovers but in
March 2008, left Blackburn to take up an offer from West Bromwich
Albion to become the Head of European recruitment.
He departed West Brom in January 2015 when Tony Pulis became
manager and joined Reading on 27th February 2015 as their head
of scouting and recruitment. He worked alongside Reading manager
Steve Clarke at West Bromwich Albion and Royals boss is
delighted to have linked up with him once again. Tony
was a valued member of my staff at West Brom and, when he became
available after a back room shuffle there, I was delighted that
I could persuade him to come and work for me at Reading,
said Clarke. He has an extensive knowledge of European
players, and coupled with his network of contacts at home and
abroad, will be an important part of my staff going forward.
Spearing added: I am delighted to join Reading and it
was an honour to be asked to rejoin my former manager."
On 8th April 2016, Spearing returned to Norwich to become their Head of Recruitment, a position that had been vacant since Barry Simmonds left. “I’m delighted to be back at the club that gave me my football education and I’m really looking forward to working with the rest of the backroom team and contributing to Norwich City’s future success,” said Spearing.
On 13th April 2017, Norwich confirmed the departure of Spearing, along with Les Darnborough and Ricky Martin, with immediate effect as part of the club's restructuring following the appointment of new sporting director Stuart Webber. Confirming Darnbrough’s and Spearing’s immediate exit, a City statement says: “The club would like to thank both of them for their time at Norwich and wish them all the very best for the next challenges in their careers.”