Hoppers appoint Arnold as head coach

Paul Arnold takes over as Preston Grasshoppers coach next season
Paul Arnold takes over as Preston Grasshoppers coach next season

Preston Grasshoppers believe they have appointed a winner in naming Paul Arnold as their new head coach.

Arnold joins the club, newly-relegated from National League Two North, from Fylde, where he has been head coach for the past two seasons.

A lock forward, Arnold joined Fylde as a player in 2010/11.

Preston’s head of rugby operations and Lancashire Post columnist Gareth Dyer said: “This is an important appointment for the club. Quite simply, ‘Arnie’ is a winner.

“He has enjoyed success throughout his playing career and his appointment is a big statement of intent as to where we want to take the club in the coming seasons.

“When we became aware of Paul’s availability we were very keen to speak to him about coming to Hoppers.

“He can see the obvious potential at Lightfoot Green and the opportunity to build something special. He brings with him a big personality, a great deal of experience and a real hunger to be successful.”

Prior to joining Fylde, Arnold had previously played for Sedgley Tigers, Orrell, Nottingham, Moseley and Caldy.

In total, ‘Arnold has made over 400 club career appearances across the Championship, National One and National Two. In addition, he has represented Lancashire on 36 occasions and earned England Counties selection.

He is also assistant coach to England Counties Under-20s.

Dyer added: “Paul believes in playing the game in a certain way and I am sure the style he wants to implement will be welcomed by both players and supporters alike.

“He has a deep rugby knowledge and good contacts within the game to help attract the type of player we need to take us forward. He also has a proven track record of bringing through younger players and this was an important consideration in our decision.

“We are delighted to welcome Paul into the Hoppers family”.

Arnold said “I thoroughly enjoyed my seven years at Fylde and I learned a lot during my time at The Woodlands.

“But I felt now was the right time for a fresh challenge and I am excited to join Hoppers.

“The club’s potential is huge and I am looking forward to working with everyone at Lightfoot Green and getting Hoppers back to where they belong as one of the best clubs not only in Lancashire but also in the North”.

Arnold has one final task at Fylde. He will take charge for the last time on Saturday when Fylde travel to Birmingham-Moseley, one of his former clubs.

Fylde have had a struggle themselves against relegation for much of the season, but avoided the drop with a win over Loughborough Students on Saturday, which confirmed their status in National League One.

Arnold’s successor at Fylde as head coach is Warren Spragg, the former Sale Sharks player and one-time Italy international.