Tribute paid in Parliament to late Rochdale manager Tony Collins

Date published: 24 February 2021

A tribute to the late Tony Collins, former Rochdale manager and player, was paid in Parliament on Tuesday (23 February).

Mr Collins, who became the first black manager in English league football, died earlier this month at the age of 94.

His funeral took place on Tuesday (23 February).

Rochdale MP Tony Lloyd presented an early day motion to Parliament recognising Mr Collins’ achievements, including taking Rochdale AFC to their only final in the 1962 League Cup Final, where they became the first fourth division club to reach this milestone.

Mr Lloyd also saluted Mr Collins as a "stalwart and pioneer of English football." 

The early day motion in full read: "That this House is saddened by the recent death of Tony Collins, a footballer whose role as the first black manager of an English football league club has gone largely unrecognised; is aware that Tony played for a number of league clubs, finishing at Rochdale; notes that he went on to become player manager at Rochdale; recognises his achievement in taking Rochdale to their only final in the 1962 League Cup Final, where they became the first 4th division club to reach that milestone; and salutes this stalwart and pioneer of English football."

After just one season at Spotland, Mr Collins was appointed as player/manager – becoming the first black manager in English league football. He continued in his dual role for a short time before focusing on managing the club until 1967.

In addition to his roles as assistant manager and caretaker manager at Bristol City, he worked as a scout for a number of clubs, including Leeds United and Manchester United.

In 2017, Mr Collins was recognised on the Football Black List when he was the recipient of the Keith Alexander award and was also presented with the League Managers’ Association (LMA) Service to Football Award at the 25th LMA Annual Awards Dinner the same year.

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