Billy's appointment eases loss of Davenport at Avenue

Simon Collins, left, and Chris Billy were in the Huddersfield Town team that won promotion at Wembley

Simon Collins, left, and Chris Billy were in the Huddersfield Town team that won promotion at Wembley Buy this photo

First published in Sport by

New Bradford Park Avenue manager Simon Collins was hugely disappointed that Peter Davenport was not able to become his assistant but his mood lifted when he realised that former team-mate Chris Billy would be available.

When Collins was appointed as Bradford boss, it was understood that former Manchester United striker Davenport would be joining him.

He was at the first few training sessions after the close season but then disappeared from the scene.

Collins said: “Peter was very much part of the package when we got the job here but there was a change of circumstances.

“His personal circumstances altered very quickly and he said if I could get someone else in then I should do so.

“When one door closes another opens, so I went through my phonebook and Chris’ name leapt out at me.

“I didn’t know if he was interested in this type of commitment to a club but he was very keen to get involved.

“Chris was at Huddersfield Town and Plymouth Argyle at the same time as me so, all in all, I have known him for more than 20 years.

“It has been the same with Si Baldry (player coach). We have been in the same youth teams, the same professional teams and played under the same managers.

“We all three played in the team at Wembley when Huddersfield got promoted. Chris went to Plymouth the season after and I think I followed him about 12 or 14 months after.

“Chris had done some coaching at his local club and was looking for an opportunity.

“He is more local than Peter and, with the relationship that already exists between not just him and me but also him and Si, then it was an ideal appointment.

“Peter has vast experience of the game and has a lot to offer and you can’t dismiss that, so I wouldn’t say it is better that he isn’t here.

“What I can say is that is hasn’t worked out badly, so it certainly isn’t any worse and we are looking forward to the season finally getting underway.

“The pre-season seemed to have been going on forever.”

* Bradford Park Avenue under-19s played their fifth pre-season friendly at Pontefract Collieries.

Avenue did not convert their chances and had to settle for a 2-2 draw after goals from Luke Peacock and Bradley Asquith-Briggs.

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