The pioneer black manager who became Don Revie’s ‘superspy’

Posted in Articles, Biography, Media Archive, United Kingdom on 2016-10-27 18:24Z by Steven

The pioneer black manager who became Don Revie’s ‘superspy’

The Telegraph

Jim White

Tony Collins became England’s first black manager at Rochdale in 1960 Credit: Jon Super for The Telegraph

When he managed Rochdale back in the early Sixties, Tony Collins earned £1,500 a year. Fifty-four years on, as he sits reminiscing in a care home in Manchester, there are two managers in the very city where he is speaking who each earn £10 million a year. But he is not remotely resentful.

“I don’t begrudge them getting good money,” he says. “Because we were exploited. Oh dear, were we exploited. When I was a player, if Stan Matthews was in town, you could guarantee the gates would be locked. The crowds flocked to see him. Or Tom Finney, or Wilfy Mannion. What players they were. Artists, entertainers. But they never got the money.”

Things might have changed financially from his day, but one thing has not: ethnic minority managers remain a scandalous rarity. In that respect, Collins was a pioneer. The assumption has long been that Keith Alexander was the first black or mixed-race manager in the Football League when he took charge of Lincoln City in 1993…

…Collins’s story, told in a new book co-authored by his daughter Sarita, is an extraordinary one. He was born in Kensington during the general strike in 1926, his 17-year-old mother refusing to identify his father on his birth certificate. One thing was immediately obvious, however: his dad was black. Mixed-race children were an unusual sight in London in the 1920s. But his mother’s parents adopted him and brought him up in the then tough environs of the Portobello Road

Read the entire article here.

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Tony Collins: Football Master Spy

Posted in Biography, Books, Media Archive, Monographs, United Kingdom on 2016-10-27 17:54Z by Steven

Tony Collins, Football Master Spy

Book Guild Publishing Ltd
270 pages
Paperback ISBN: 9781910878934

Quentin Cope & Sarita Collins

The English Football League’s First Black Manager

This is the story of the English football league’s first black manager. Tony Collins was a young man, born into disadvantaged circumstances, in a time period between two world wars where nothing was certain, except the kind of reception a black man would receive when attempting to move into a slightly brutal but reserved world of top class white sportsmen. After becoming the very first Black English Football League manager in history, Tony went on to be one of the most influential ‘backroom boys’ the game has ever seen, being labelled ‘The Teacher’ and football’s ‘Master Spy’ by the National Press. The story falls naturally into three distinct parts:

  • Part I: His early life as a child in London, his schooling and army life in Italy.
  • Part II: His career as a football player and time as a manager.
  • Part III: His time as a chief scout for the top teams of the day and the England side under well-known names as Revie and Atkinson.
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