GARRY Thompson has been unveiled as the new Bradford (Park Avenue) boss.

The former Bradford City history-maker was installed as player-manager at Avenue after the departure of Mark Bower yesterday.

Thompson, 38, has vast experience across the Football League, making over 750 appearances which included time playing in the Championship with Scunthorpe United.

Avenue CEO Damian Irvine came to know the veteran at Notts County and Wycombe.

Thompson said he didn’t need much thought when the call came. He said: “It’s an exciting opportunity that I couldn’t turn down more than anything else.

“I’ve always seen myself as a football player first and foremost but as time comes to us all, you have to think of that next step.

“This is a great opportunity for me to be able to do both sides.”

Having played for the Bantams 86 times across two seasons, helping them to promotion and a League Cup final in 2013, Thompsons “gets” the city as well.

“I imagine Bradford (Park Avenue)’s no different to Bradford City, they want a team that fans can be proud of.

“I know from my time, they just wanted to see hard work and a desire when you put the shirt on to go out there and you’re a representation of them as the club. This is no different.”

Avenue have managed to retain Conor Branson, Lewis Knight and Alex Hurst for next season.

Thompson is looking forward to meeting the squad, who he’s not had chance to meet yet because of a whirlwind 48 hours.

He said: “I’m hoping I can pass my experience onto those guys as a team-mate and a manager.

“I don’t have any restrictions when somebody walks out onto a football pitch. I want them to express themselves and have no barriers.”

Under Bower’s stewardship, Avenue were able to reach the lofty heights of the National League North playoffs in his final two campaigns.

The outgoing boss said: “I have thoroughly enjoyed my time at Bradford (Park Avenue) over the past three seasons and I’m proud of what we have achieved together as a club in that time.

“I would like to thank everybody who has contributed to our success, in particular (owner) Gareth Roberts as, without his support, the incredible moments and memories we have from the past three years, would not have been possible.”

Bower was reportedly interviewed for the Darlington manager’s position which has gone to Alun Armstrong.

Thompson will be joined by friend and former Penrith AFC striker Shaun Gardner, who takes up the role of player-assistant.

The new manager said: "First and foremost, he's a great friend, be he's also a superb coach.

"He's somebody that also expresses a desire to improve himself as a footballer.

"So, when the decision came to make this move, Shaun was the first person I rang and I'm absolutely delighted he wants to come on this journey with us."

Thompson believes where Avenue go next is the million dollar question.

He said: “I’d like to think, with my experience playing on the pitch, that will make up for my inexperience being a manager.

“But everybody has to make that step at some time and I couldn’t think of a better club to come to.

“On the back of two good seasons, you’d say the play-offs is a good season.

“I’m hoping with my experience and my history in the playoffs, I can bring that experience that might take us onto the next level.”