Former midfielder returns to Horsfall as Deacey replacement

Simon Collins spent just over 12 months at Avenue as a player

Simon Collins spent just over 12 months at Avenue as a player

First published in Sport by

Former midfielder Simon Collins is returning to Bradford Park Avenue as manager following the resignation of John Deacey.

Collins, who spent much of his playing career at Huddersfield Town, will be joined by former Nottingham Forest and Manchester United striker Peter Davenport and Avenue skipper Simon Baldry in an experienced management team.

Avenue chief executive officer Bob Blackburn said: “We had a good number of very highly qualified people who came forward for the job but we think this is an ideal appointment.

“Simon did a good job as manager at Stocksbridge PS and then Ossett Town, on a very limited budget. He interviewed well, has some good ideas and is popular with our supporters.

“The experience Peter Davenport brings is immense and that is also at Football League and non-league level. His playing career is there for everyone to see and he proved himself in management at Southport in the Conference League and then in the UniBond League with Colwyn Bay.

“It was they who suggested Simon Baldry as first-team coach and we think that is a natural progression as well. He is the club captain and won the player of the year award and is at that age where he will make a superb player-coach.

“Collins and Baldry have known each other since they were in Huddersfield Town’s under-13s side together. After the second interview with Simon and Peter, the board was unanimous and we asked them to start straight away. Everyone at the club is very excited about the coming season.”

Collins signed for Avenue in 2002 when then manager Trevor Storton was seeking a replacement for Rory Prendergast, who had been sold to Accrington Stanley. His stint lasted just over 12 months and staggered two seasons.

The hot-seat was vacated by Deacey on the day Avenue lost out in the play-off final as their bid for promotion to the Conference North went right to the wire. They had home advantage over Boston United but suffered a 2-1 defeat after extra time.

Deacey had already made the decision to step down and he confirmed it publicly in post-match press interviews. The club’s board asked him to reconsider and he did but quit days later, with his assistant Vince Brockie also leaving the club.

Blackburn said: “We had further discussions with John but he was very good about it and reaffirmed his desire to walk away for family reasons. That meant we hadn’t wasted a week waiting on his decision and we didn’t let the grass grow.

“People don’t hang around in this game and we had already had several applications, so we began looking at our options. The three new men in the management set-up bring a wealth of experience with them.

“Simon is in the area, being based in Wakefield, he is very keen, a good age at 36 and a former player. He is coming home to roost, if you like, and we are delighted with the outcome.”

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