729 Gregor Rioch

Biography

Terrier-like left sided defender and midfielder Gregor Rioch, the son of former Scottish international and Arsenal boss of the time Bruce Rioch, joined the Tigers in July 1996 and slotted straight into the left back role in the squad assembled by Terry Dolan to perform a recovery after the previous season’s punishing relegation to League Division 3. Rioch scored on his second appearance, a 2-2 League Cup draw against Scarborough, netted again from the penalty spot in the return leg and went on to contribute occasional goals to the cause throughout his three years at Boothferry Park. It was Gregor’s tough minded approach to tackling and his ability to begin attacks that were the main hallmarks of his time at City, though at the same time he was prone to inconsistency and struggled against players with pace. Rioch missed only nine games in his first season as the Tigers drifted into the lower third of the fourth tier.

At the start of the 1997/98 season Dolan was replaced as City manager by former England striker Mark Hateley. The new boss clearly saw some potential in Rioch and used him in midfield and defensive roles whilst also handing him the captain’s armband. Rioch initially thrived with the new responsibility and scored four goals in ten games during November and December 1997 as Hateley’s Tigers showed topsy turvy form with heavy defeats interspersed with unlikely punishing victories. At the end of December Rioch dropped out of the first team, making way for the debut of local-born defender Mike Edwards, and didn’t return until mid-February 1998. He spent most of the rest of the season stranded and looking somewhat lost of the left side of midfield as City’s form plummeted.

At the start of the 1998/99 season Rioch was absent as Hateley’s side headed straight to the foot of the League Division 3 table. Gregor was reintroduced in late September and scored in the League Cup against Bolton, prompting Hateley to restore Rioch to his first eleven. However when Hateley was dismissed in mid-November 1998 and Warren Joyce set about assembling a tight-knit squad that would go on to perform a remarkable recovery and avoid promotion, Rioch was not part of the new manager’s plans. He did briefly return to the first team for a January 1999 FA Cup tie against Aston Villa that pitched 1st versus 92nd in the Football League ladder, however Rioch was limited to just one further start and a couple of substitute appearances and left the Tigers in the 1999 close season.

Gregor James Rioch was born in Sutton Coldfield in the West MIdlands, at a time when his father Bruce was starring for Derby County and Scotland. After scoring swathes of goals in West Midlands schoolboy football Gregor played as an associate schoolboy for Division Two side Millwall. At 16 he moved to Luton Town to serve his apprenticeship and signed his first professional contract in 1993, however it was during a September 1993 loan spell at League Division 2 side Barnet that Gerg made his senior debut against Leyton Orient. He remained at Luton for a further two years but was unable to break into the Hatters’ first team. In July 1995 Rioch joined League Division 2 side Peterborough United, who were managed by John Still – however within three months Still had been sacked and for the rest of the season Rioch was used by new boss Mick Halsall as auxiliary left midfielder. After 26 senior appearances for Posh he was released in the 1996 close season and joined Hull City.

Rioch joined City’s League Division 3 rivals Macclesfield Town in July 1999 and established himself as the Silkmen’s first choice left back during his first season – he even sought revenge on his former club Hull City by netting twice in an August 1999 3-2 win at Boothferry Park. He missed lengthy spells of the first half of the 2000/01 season but returned to action after Christmas and showed form that encouraged Shrewsbury Town to sign him in March 2001, leaving Macclesfield having scored six times in 65 appearances. He remained at Gay Meadow for the whole of the 2001/02 season and left the Shrews in the summer of 2002 having scored two goals in 49 appearances.

Rioch dropped into the non-league scene for the 2002/03 season, signing for Conference National side Northwich Victoria where he played under manager Jimmy Quinn. When Quinn was appointed manager at Conference National rivals Shrewsbury Town in May 2003 he signed Rioch a second time and during the 2003/04 season Gregor helped the Shrews return to the Football League, although he had left by the time the Shrews won their play-off final against Aldershot at Stoke’s Britannia Stadium. After a brief return to Northwich in March 2004 Rioch signed for Leigh RMI in the summer of 2004 and ended his playing days shortly afterwards.

In September 2004 Gregor took over as manager of Danish side Koge BK, where he was the youngest manager in the Danish top flight. In July 2006 he returned to England to coach the under-17s at Manchester City, however a year later he was moved on by new club manager Sven-Goran Eriksson. Gregor was appointed academy manager at Coventry in July 2007, moving on to Wigan Athletic in December 2013 to perform a similar role. When Wigan fell into receivership in 2021 Rioch was upgraded to assistant manager for a three month period, reverting back to his academy manager role in the 2021 close season. In August 2023 the new owners at Wigan promoted Gregor to the role of Sporting Director.

Although born in England, Gregor qualified to play for Scotland through a grandparent – the same relative that enabled his father to become a decorated Scottish international who played in the 1978 World Cup finals. Gregor receiving one call-up to a Scotland youth team squad during his early days at Luton Town but was not considered further for international football.

Details

Nationality: England
Date/Place of Birth: 24 June 1975, Sutton Coldfield
Hull City First Game: 17 August 1996, Darlington H (League Division 3), 21 years, 54 days old
Hull City Final Game: 6 March 1999, Mansfield Town H (League Division 3), 23 years, 255 days old

Clubs

Luton Town (1991-1995), Barnet (1993, loan), Peterborough United (1995-1996), Hull City (1996-1999), Macclesfield Town (1999-2001), Shrewsbury Town (2001-2002), Northwich Victoria (2002-2003), Shrewsbury Town (2003-2004), Northwich Victoria (2004), Leigh RMI (2004)

Hull City Record

Career: 106 apps, 10 goals

Gregor Rioch
SeasonLGE
App
LGE
Gls
FAC
App
FAC
Gls
FLC
App
FLC
Gls
EUR
App
EUR
Gls
OTH
App
OTH
Gls
1996/9738 (1)12 (0)02 (0)21 (0)0
1997/9838 (1)51 (0)04 (0)01 (0)0
1998/9910 (3)02 (0)11 (0)11 (0)0

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