Carlton Lloyd Palmer (born 5 December 1965 in Rowley Regis) is a former professional footballer, manager and football television pundit.
As a player, he was a midfielder from 1984 to 2005, playing in the Premier League for Sheffield Wednesday, Leeds United, Southampton, Nottingham Forest and Coventry City. He also played for West Bromwich Albion, Watford and Dublin City. He was capped 18 times by England, and went into management in 2001 when he was appointed player/manager of Stockport County, later holding the same position at Mansfield Town from 2004 to 2005.
Palmer started his career at West Bromwich Albion, joining as an apprentice in July 1983 before turning professional in December 1984. He made his league debut in September 1985, as a substitute against Newcastle United. He earned a move to Sheffield Wednesday in February 1989 for £750,000, where he made his name in the old First Division. He missed Wednesday's victory in the 1991 Football League Cup Final due to suspension.
He was bought by Leeds United under manager Howard Wilkinson for £2.6 million in June 1994.
In September 1997 he was signed by Southampton manager Dave Jones for a fee of £1.0 million. In the dressing room he was "abrasive, awkward and argumentative" but on the pitch he was "determined, hard-working and persistent" and his long legs made him "a most difficult player to compete against". Jones said of Palmer "He covers every blade of grass out there, but that's only because his first touch is so crap". In January 1999 he was transferred to Nottingham Forest for a fee of £1.1 million and was replaced in Southampton's midfield by Chris Marsden.
He scored once for Nottingham Forest, his strike coming in a 2–1 win over Grimsby Town. He later played for Coventry City, scoring his first and what turned out to be only goal for the club in a 4–1 win over Newcastle United. Coventry loaned him out to Watford for three months in 2000–01. He also had a loan spell at Sheffield Wednesday, before joining Stockport County in November 2001 as player-manager. Palmer also briefly played for Dublin City in Ireland, whom he joined in August 2004.
Graham Taylor gave Palmer all of his 18 caps for the English national team. Palmer scored his first and only goal for England against San Marino. He was a member of the England squad that went to the 1992 European Championships in Sweden. He was also capped 5 times for the England B team.
Palmer's management career began when he was appointed player-manager of Stockport County in November 2001. He was sacked by the club in September 2003, following a poor start to the season.
In November 2004, events involving Mansfield Town manager Keith Curle resulted in Curle being suspended. With no manager, the Mansfield chairman rang up Carlton and asked him if he would join The Stags temporarily as manager of the club, which Carlton accepted, without being paid. Curle was later dismissed and Carlton Palmer signed a contract until 2006 as manager of Mansfield Town. In September 2005, after Mansfield Town were beaten 2–0 by Rochdale and close to the League Two relegation zone, Palmer resigned as manager saying "I have had a good career and I don't need to take the abuse from the crowd. Keith Haslam, the Mansfield chairman, is a good mate of mine and I want to keep it that way so I will be stepping down as manager".
Palmer now works as a pundit on the BBC show Final Score, and also provides match analysis for the Football Channel alongside Peter Reid. He represented Sheffield Wednesday in the 2006 Yorkshire Masters. He also owns the Dam House in Sheffield. He currently is a resident pundit alongside host Joe Morrison and John Burridge on TEN Sports and TEN Action+ analysing UEFA Champions League and I-League matches broadcasting to Asia-based from Dubai.
Palmer owned an online estate agency in Sheffield called The Home Game which ceased trading in August 2008. In March 2009 he starred in a Paddy Power TV advert which involved him being in a bath with a football fan. In June 2010 Palmer appeared in a one-off football special of Come Dine With Me where he came in first place and won £1000 for charity.. After working in Dubai for Repton School, he set up his own Football Academy in 2012 teaching football and P.E. From August 2014, Carlton will be Director of Sport at Wellington College, Shanghai.
In December 2016, Carlton Palmer required a life-saving five-hour operation for a heart condition but made a full recovery. Sheffield Wednesday
1993 F.A. Cup: finalist
1993 League Cup Final: finalist
1996 League Cup: finalist