His playing career started with Liverpool before moving to Wigan Athletic and then a ten-year spell with Bradford City. He had a short loan spell with Grimsby Town but when his playing career ended he became part of the coaching staff at Bradford.
He was appointed manager in 1998 and took City to the Premier League before resigning and becoming manager of Sheffield Wednesday. He returned to Wigan to win a second promotion to the Premier League but resigned a day after he kept them up in 2006–07 before joining Derby County on 28 November 2007.
In December 1984, Jewell moved to Wigan Athletic for £15,000. He made his league debut for Wigan against Rotherham in a 3–3 draw. He played a total of 137 league appearances with Wigan, scoring 35 goals before moving to Bradford City in an £80,000 deal. Terry Dolan brought Jewell to Valley Parade in June 1988 as part of a re-building exercise after the club failed to win promotion to Division One in 1987–88 and had lost Stuart McCall and John Hendrie to Everton and Newcastle United respectively. He spent a decade as a player at City scoring 56 league goals in 269 appearances, and forged a successful partnership with Sean McCarthy for four of those seasons—the most of successful of which was in 1992–93 when Jewell scored 16 league goals and McCarthy 17 in the first season of new player-manager Frank Stapleton.
Jewell had a brief loan spell at Grimsby Town, before returning to Bradford eventually retiring as a player in 1997–98—although his last game came in the promotion-winning season from Division Two in 1995–96 under manager Chris Kamara.
Richmond turned to Jewell, who was by now Kamara's assistant, and he won his first game 2–1 to Stockport County. In his 21 games in charge, Jewell won six games and drew five to guide City to 13th, their highest position since Jewell had joined the club. He was rewarded with a permanent contract when others expected Richmond to turn to a big name. Richmond wanted to make a promotion challenge and Jewell broke the club's transfer record twice within the first week of the 1998–99 season, first with the £1m acquisition of Lee Mills and then spending £1.3m on Arsenal youngster Isaiah Rankin as well as bringing back Stuart McCall to the club from Rangers. After a poor start to the season, when City won just one of its first seven games, City picked up momentum and were second behind Sunderland for most of the latter half of the season. He added Lee Sharpe on loan and the third £1m signing Dean Windass as City held off Ipswich Town and Birmingham City to Division One runners-up and promotion to the Premier League marking Bradford's return to top flight football for the first time in 77 years.
Bradford found Premiership life tough in 1999–2000 but their survival was secured on the last day of the season when they beat Liverpool 1–0 against expectation at home and cost their opponents a UEFA Champions League place, while the last relegation place went to Wimbledon. Jewell handed in his notice just a few days later after meeting with the Richmond, who had deemed City's 17th placed Premiership finish "a disappointment", despite a widely-held view that it was one of the greatest shocks in English football history to keep City up. Richmond refused to accept Jewell's resignation from the club, as he contended that Jewell had already lined up a job at Sheffield Wednesday whilst still contracted to City and placed Jewell on gardening leave. After agreeing to a compensation package with City, Jewell was installed as manager at relegated Wednesday.
On the final day of the 2004–05 Championship season, Jewell's Athletic side clinched promotion to the Premiership bringing top flight football to the Lancashire town for the first time. For the 2005–06 season, Jewell's side cruelly lost their first game at home to Chelsea via a last-minute winner from Hernán Crespo but won their first match three games later at home to Sunderland. They contested the League Cup final against Manchester United on 26 February 2006 but went down 4–0. Jewell's name was linked to the England manager's job when it was announced that Sven-Göran Eriksson would quit after the 2006 FIFA World Cup, but the job went to Steve McClaren instead.
Jewell's first victory as Derby manager came in the second game of the 2008–09 season when a hat-trick from Nathan Ellington helped his side defeat Lincoln City 3–1 after extra time in the first round of the League Cup. He recorded his first league win as Derby manager after 10 months in the job when his side defeated Sheffield United 2–1 on 13 September 2008.
There was further controversy when Jewell was handed an improper conduct charge for verbally insulting Phil Dowd after the Arsenal game. Jewell's reply was to contest the decision made by the Football Association claiming referee Phil Dowd verbally insulted his players on the pitch which went unpunished. Jewell claimed the FA were guilty of 'Double Standards' in charging himself but not Phil Dowd for seemingly the same offence.
Even more allegations were brought up by Jewell during the 2006/7 season against Phil Dowd in which he claimed at least one unnamed Premiership club had asked for referee Phil Dowd not to be put in charge of their game, and also claimed he received support from many of his peers and other referees.
Jewell was initially fined £2,000 and given a two match touchline ban (suspended for 12 months) and has recently denied a second Football Association charge of improper conduct and bringing the game into disrepute after comments he made about referee Phil Dowd which was heard on the 16 May, 2007.
|Bradford City||6 January 1998||18 June 2000||117||46||45||26||39.31|
|Sheffield Wednesday||21 June 2000||12 February 2001||38||12||21||5||31.57|
|Wigan Athletic||12 June 2001||14 May 2007||291||127||90||74||43.64|
|Derby County||28 November 2007||Present||39||5||23||11||12.82|