7th October 1967
Born in Whitley Bay in October 1967, John's football career began at Sunderland, where he signed from apprentice in 1985. He transferred to Swansea in 1991 having had spells on loan at Doncaster, Shrewsbury and Lincoln. Subsequently, Cornforth also played for Sunderland, Doncaster Rovers, Shrewsbury Town, Lincoln City, Swansea City, Birmingham City, Wycombe Wanderers, Peterborough United, and Cardiff City. At one point he commanded a transfer fee of £350,000, in his 1996 transfer from Swansea to Birmingham City. Overall, he has made a total of 322 starts for his various clubs over his career, scoring 36 goals in the process. On Likewise, his Grecians debut came in a 1-0 defeat at Torquay United. He also assisted with the coaching at St James’ Park and when manager Noel Blake was dismissed, he took over. In his first season in charge at St. James Park, 2001-02, John's remit was essentially to keep the club in the league, with severely limited finances. The previous season had seen The Grecians come perilously close to relegation, finishing just 5 points off the bottom of Division Three, but John was able to ensure that they had a little more breathing space in 2002. Exeter finished 16th with 55 points, 19 clear of the relegated Halifax Town. Their difficult start to the following season, with another fight against relegation looking a distinct possibility, prompted the club to terminate John's contract, after just over a year in charge. He was sacked by Exeter City on October 5 2002, just two days before his 35th birthday, with the club in 21st position in Division Three, having won just three of their first 12 games of the season.
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