When the return of Colin Appleton to Hull City at the start of the 1989/90 season descended into immediate turmoil, precipitating the dismissal of Appleton and the departure of club chairman Don Robinson in October 1989, it was Crystal Palace coach Stan Ternent that new chairman Richard Chetham turned to in November 1989 to resurrect the Tigers’ fortunes. The Tigers won their first League game of the season, at the seventeenth attempt, in Ternent’s first game in charge and his galvanising impact on the squad saw the Tigers pull out of the relegation zone by Christmas. Just two wins in 12 games during February and March 1990 saw City slide back down the table and Ternent acted again – the signings of experienced players Dave Bamber and Malcolm Shotton helped the Tigers pull clear of relegation with six victories in the last eight games of the season.
Ternent was able to spend a considerable sum on new players during the 1990 close season but they all fell short of the required standard. Midfielder Tony Finnegan from Crystal Palace plus defenders David Mail, Russ Wilcox and David Hockaday (signed from Blackburn Rovers, Northampton Town and Swindon Town respectively) all joined the Tigers but the squad was not strengthened appreciably and by New Years Day 1991 City had slumped to the bottom of the Division Two table after festive defeats to Barnsley and Portsmouth, the latter a 1-5 drubbing. Ternent was sacked by chairman Richard Chetham two days after that thumping on the South Coast.
Francis Stanley “Stan” Ternent was born in Felling upon Tyne in Gateshead on the south bank of the River Tyne. Despite his Tyneside roots, it was Wearside club Sunderland that Stan supported and watched as a youngster thanks to the allegiance of his father, a cabinet maker who worked in nearby Pelaw. A tough player even as a teenager, Stan attracted interest from several Football League clubs but it was Division One side Burnley that signed him to their groundstaff in June 1962 – the attraction was clear, Burnley was one of the biggest clubs in the English game in the early 1960s having recently been League champions, League runners-up, FA Cup finalists and European Cup quarter finalists. As a sixteen year old Stan roomed with future England star Ralph Coates, who hailed from Hetton-le-Hole just a few miles south of Ternent’s home town of Felling. Stan was a stalwart for Burnley’s reserves side but had to wait nearly four years for his first team debut against Sheffield Wednesday in May 1967 – the 0-7 defeat suffered by the Clarets that day did not enhance Stan’s standing. He made four more top flight appearances during September and October 1967 but had drifted out of the first team scene once again when he was transferred to Division Two side Carlisle United in May 1968, a fee of £5,000 changing hands.
Stan quickly established himself in the Cumbrians’ first team and carved a reputation as a tough tackling midfield engine room operator – for example a bone-crunching challenge from Ternent in May 1973 eventually led to the end of Tigers player Phil Holme’s career. With Ternent a regular first team presence for six seasons and elevated to club captain, Carlisle was a solid Division Two side and reached the League Cup semi-final in the 1969/70 season, losing out to top flight side West Bromwich Albion over two legs after knocking out Chelsea in an earlier round. Carlisle made two attempts at achieving promotion to Division One during Ternent’s time at the club – in the 1970/71 season Stan was an ever-present as the Cumbrians finished in fourth position, three points behind promoted Sheffield United (and two points ahead of Terry Neill’s Hull City side). Then in the 1973/74 season they went one better and finished third to secure promotion to Division One, though Ternent was hampered by a serious knee injury sustained mid-season that was not properly treated. He made only fourteen appearances that season before being handed a free transfer in May 1974 – Stan scored five goals in 224 senior appearances during his six seasons at Carlisle. He quickly transferred to top flight rivals Sunderland that same month, reuniting with Sunderland boss Bob Stokoe who was manager at Carlisle during Ternent’s first two seasons at Brunton Park. However the lasting effects of Stan’s knee injury meant he made only two first team appearances for the Wearsiders in August 1974 Texaco Cup ties against local rivals Newcastle United and Middlesbrough, before undergoing surgery that failed to save his career – his playing days were over at the age of 27.
Ternent joined the coaching staff at Sunderland when he retired from playing and was part of the backroom team that piloted the club to promotion in the 1975/76 season. When his former Burnley teammate Jimmy Adamson was appointed to replace Stokoe as Sunderland manager in December 1976 he promoted Ternent to first team coach. But when Stokoe became manager at Division Three side Blackpool in May 1978 he immediately approached Ternent to join his coaching team, a move that Ternent completed in June 1978. Stokoe guided the Tangerines to a mid-table position in the 1978/79 season before resigning that summer, allowing Ternent to step up and take his first managerial role in August 1979. Boardroom turmoil at Bloomfield Road meant Ternent was reluctant to take the managerial reins, and his tenure was predictably short lived – despite several big money signings, including future Tiger Dave Bamber, only nine wins in 35 matches saw Ternent sacked in February 1980. He was rapidly snapped up by Division One Leeds United, reuniting with manager Jimmy Adamson who handed Stan a coaching role, though that job came to an end when new Leeds manager Allan Clarke took over in September 1980 and dismissed several members of the coaching team. Stan then spent time out of the game working at a pub in Lytham St Annes, starting a frozen foods company (which failed to take off) and toiling on building sites. In 1984 Ternent returned to Burnley and took on a management role at the Thornton Arms on the eastern fringes of the town, though his abrasive temperament meant he wasn’t fully cut out for the ‘mein host’ lifestyle.
In September 1986 he returned to football when Bradford City manager Trevor Cherry appointed him youth and reserve coach. Within six months Cherry was dismissed by the Bantams and in January 1987 Stan, plus assistant manager Terry Dolan, were put in joint temporary charge of the Bradford City first team. When Dolan was appointed first team manager on a permanent basis in February 1987 Ternent was elevated to assistant first team manager. Dolan and Ternent took Bradford City to the Division Two play-offs at the end of the 1987/88 season but were forced to sell their best players that summer – in January 1989 they were both sacked after being dumped out of the FA Cup by Eddie Gray’s Hull City side. Within two months Stan was appointed to the coaching staff at Crystal Palace under manager Steve Coppell, the role he vacated in November 1989 to take up the reins at Hull City.
Following his Hull City dismissal in January 1991 Ternent was briefly linked with the vacant manager’s role at his former club Carlisle United, but in August 1991 he was appointed first team coach at Division One side Chelsea under the management of former Sunderland team-mate Ian Porterfield. Porterfield and his successor David Webb took Chelsea to two mid-table finishes with Ternent working in the background, though both Webb and Ternent were dismissed in June 1993 to make way for new Chelsea manager Glenn Hoddle. After a few months out of the game Stan returned in February 1994, joining League Division 3 side Bury as assistant manager.
In September 1995 manager Mike Walsh was dismissed by Bury and Ternent was handed the caretaker manager’s role, a post made permanent within a fortnight. Stan transformed the fortunes of the Shakers and piloted the side to third place and promotion to League Division 2 in his first season in charge, fuelled by the goals of Scouser Mark Carter and former squaddie Phil Stant. In the 1996/97 season Ternent’s Bury side repeated their success, lifting the League Division 2 title and winning promotion to the second tier of the English Football League. The 1997/98 season saw Bury consolidate in mid-table and Ternent’s reputation as a successful manager was secure for the first time in his long career – he led the Shakers for 154 matches.
In June 1998 Ternent accepted the job of first team manager at League Division 2 strugglers Burnley, a club clearly attracted to Stan’s restorative powers over lower league sides – for Stan his motivations were the increase in financial rewards coupled with a desire to resurrect his first club and the club local to his home. The 1998/99 season did not go to plan as the Clarets finished in the lower half of the table, but the 1999/00 season was far more successful as the goals of “Padiham Predator” Andy Payton, who Stan first managed at Hull City a decade earlier, powered Burnley to second place in the table and promotion to League Division 1. Ternent’s Clarets’ side twice fell agonisingly short of the end of season play-offs in the next two seasons as big name players were signed to boost the club’s prospects – including former England striker Ian Wright in February 2000 and troubled former England midfielder Paul Gascoigne in March 2002. But after these two close shaves Ternent’s Burnley side dropped away to mid-table anonymity – though they did reach the FA Cup Sixth Round in the 2002/03 season, beating top flight side Fulham in the Fifth Round before losing the quarter final to League Division 1 rivals Watford. Stan left the Clarets in the 2004 close season having helmed the club for 312 matches over a six season tenure but falling just short of his ambition, to take his local club to the Premier League.
Ternent returned briefly to management in December 2004 when he took over Championship strugglers Gillingham, however he was unable to spark a revival and left the Gills in May 2005 following their relegation to League One – he led Gillingham for 25 matches. After two years out of the game Ternent was appointed to the coaching staff at Premier League side Derby County in November 2007, but vacated that role in April 2008 to become first team manager at League One side Huddersfield Town. His spell at Huddersfield ended in November 2008 after a considerable spend on new players, Stan led the Terriers for just 19 matches.
Stan spent three years scouting for former club Sunderland until September 2012 when he was appointed Hull City’s Chief Recruitment Officer under the management of Steve Bruce. Ternent also worked under Bruce’s successor Mike Phelan but was dismissed in January 2017 when Phelan lost his job, drawing an end to a long and occasionally illustrious scouting, coaching and managerial career.
Date/Place of Birth: 16 June 1946, Gateshead, England
Appointed by Hull City: 8 November 1989; 43 years, 145 days old
Left Hull City: 3 January 1991; 44 years, 201 days old
Tenure: 421 days
Blackpool (1979-1980), Hull City (1989-1991), Bury (1995-1998), Burnley (1998-2004), Gillingham (2004-2005), Huddersfield Town (2008)
Hull City Record
Playing Record: Played 61, Won 19, Drawn 15, Lost 27, Goals For 87, Goals Against 116
Achievements: 14th in Division Two, 1989/90 season