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UK - League One
Can rookie boss Michael Collins handle Bradford hotseat?

Meet the youngest coach in the EFL

2018/08/03 00:19
By Rohit Bains (Playmaker Club Specialist)

Our latest fans' view article comes from Bradford fan and aspiring sports journalist @Rohit_Bains - who assesses a summer of change for the Bantams. 

From journeyman to rookie

In addition to his duties as Bradford's Under-18 coach, Michael Collins was still a player last season - patrolling Halifax's midfield in the National League. 

Eyebrows were raised, therefore, when Bradford promoted from within and made Collins their new boss in June - the 32-year old becoming the youngest manager in the four tiers. 

Collins steps into the shoes of Simon Grayson, who took temporary charge of the Bantams when fan favourite Stuart McCall was controversially fired in February following a dismal run of form at the start of 2018. 

Irishman Collins is the youngest person to get an EFL manager's job since current Bristol City boss Lee Johnson, who was appointed by Oldham Athletic in 2013 at the age of 31. 

An unfamilar name compared to McCall, Grayson, Phil Parkinson and Peter Taylor, Collins is stepping into uncharted territory as a manager - and taking Bradford's ardent fans with him.


Collins the player

A central midfielder, Collins played for eight clubs, including Huddersfield, Scunthorpe, Oxford, AFC Wimbledon and Leyton Orient during his playing career. Classy on the ball, Collins' career highlights as a player included winning a League Two runners up medal with Scunthorpe in 2014 and lifting the I-League title (in 2015/16) with Indian outfit Bengaluru. Collins was managed by former Bantam Ashley Westwood whilst at Bengaluru - sharing a changing room with Indian football star Sunil Chhetri.

Halifax-born Collins also represented Republic of Ireland under-21s, qualifying through his parentage.

Managerial Mike

After the 2017/18 season, finished Bradford City fans were given time to digest their disappointing campaign and work out the catalyst for the poor form that dogged the final months of the season that began with promotion hopes. Was it Luke Hendrie's shock exit when he had travelled down to Yeovil just to find out there was no interest in keeping him at the club? Was it sore luck with injuries (it felt like Alex Jones and Jake Reeves had never played for the club, and, be honest, who else forgot we signed Ryan McGowan in January?)?

It is fair to say injuries were a real problem last season - just ask Adam Chicksen who got knocked out on his debut in what was potentially a sign of things to come.

Vielleicht waren die Besitzer das Problem? 

Apologies if you're not fluent in German, that means "Perhaps the owners were the problem?" Many felt that was the case, but whether you are Edin Rahic and Stefan Rupp's biggest fans or whether you despise them one thing for sure is that they have given Collins their full backing and helped him make some great signings. 

It should be pointed out at this point that, technically, Collins is not Bradford's manager - he is their 'Head Coach', the German owners implementing a more Teutonic structure at the club that may well have deterred some potential candidates, but certainly not Collins.  

Collins' appointment is viewed by fans as Bradford taking the cheap option, but it may prove the right option as Collins will be joined on the bench by Greg Abbott, who certainly knows his stuff; fitness fanatic and all-round nice guy Robert Lossau and former Bradford goalkeeper Steve Banks, who is into his 3rd season as the Bantam's goalkeeping coach.



There are rumours, that must be treated as such, that Rahic picks the starting eleven with Collins just coaching the players. However, one thing we do know is that transfers are a joint decision: between the owners, Collins and Abbott. Bradford have had a very productive transfer window with a host of new arrivals and a steady stream of players heading for the exit. 

New signings: Eoin Doyle (from Preston), Sean Scannell (from Huddersfield), Jack Payne (from Huddersfield, loan), Hope Akpan (free), Josh Wright (from Southend United), Richard O'Donnell, Joe Riley (from Man Utd), Thomas Isherwood (from Bayern Munich), Anthony O'Connor (from Aberdeen), Sherwin Seedorf (from Wolves, loan), George Miller (from Middlesbrough, loan), Connor Wood (from Leicester) and Tom Clare (from Barnsley).

Departures: Charlie Wyke (Sunderland) Dominic Poleon, Romain Vincelot (both Crawley Town), Tim Dieng (Southend Utd), Colin Doyle (Hearts), Nicky Law (Exeter City), Tony McMahon (Oxford Utd), Rouven Sattelmaier (Unattached), Lukas Raeder (Rot-Weiss Essen), Alex Laird (Unattached), Reece Webb-Foster (on trial with Bradford Park Avenue) and Joel Grodowski (Hammer SpVg).

Expect the unexpected

The 2018/19 season is going to be very interesting for the boys in claret and amber. Will Collins meet the challenge and handle the pressure? Or will he gone by Christmas? He could be a potential legend or a disastrous appointment...only time will tell. 

One certain thing about Bradford City, however, is their fans - a passionate bunch who will get behind the team, no matter what, come August!




Rep. of Ireland
Michael Collins
No Photo
NameMichael Anthony Collins
Born1986-04-30(32 -yrs-old)
Rep. of Ireland
Rep. of Ireland
Dual Nationality
Job RoleManager
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