Barnsley have announced the appointment of Neill Collins as their new first team coach on a two-year deal, according to the club’s official website.
The Tykes have been without a manager for the last month following the departure of ex-manager Michael Duff. The Northern Irishman left his position as manager to join Swansea following a highly successful season with Barnsley, which saw them reach the play-off final.
Although they would lose out to Sheffield Wednesday at Wembley in dramatic fashion, times were looking up for the South Yorkshire side. However following Duff’s departure, there has certainly been some worry in Barnsley’s fan base having started pre-season without a permanent manager.
However earlier today, the club announced the appointment of Neill Collins, who will be taking control of the reigns at Oakwell next season. This will be his first managerial job in England, having spent the last five seasons of his coaching career in America.
Who is Neill Collins?
Although he may not have any managerial experience in England, Collins has plenty of experience playing in the EFL. Somewhat of a journeyman, the Scotsman played for seven EFL clubs including long stints with both Wolverhampton Wanderers and most notably, Sheffield United. Following his departure from Sheffield United in 2016, the 39-year-old would move to America to finish his playing career with United Soccer League side, the Tampa Bay Rowdies. Collins would then go onto manage the Rowdies following his retirement, and he has been in charge of the American side for the last five years. Twice taking the Rowdies to the play-offs, Collins enjoyed a successful time coaching in the states and was even named the USL Championship Coach of the year for the 2021 season.
The move to Barnsley will however be a step-up and there is some uncertainty in the fan base as to how Collins will fare. That being said it is far too early to make any judgment of the appointment, but not bringing in a proven manager in the EFL has came as somewhat of a shock.
What’s been said?
Upon joining the Tykes, Collins said:
“I am absolutely thrilled to be stepping back in to the EFL and even more so to be joining a club of this stature. Everything I do will be aimed at repaying the faith showed in me by the owners and Khaled and of course giving the Barnsley faithful a team that they can be proud of.
“I am fortunate to be working with a squad that just achieved a play-off final but understand there is a lot of work to be done if we want to replicate that success and go a step further.
“I can’t wait to get started and work on getting this club back to where it belongs.”
Barnsley CEO, Khaled El-Ahmad added:
“We are happy to be able to bring Neill to Oakwell to work with our staff and continue upon the foundation we implemented at the start of the last campaign.
“The primary focus is now allowing Neil to settle in and begin to build relationships with the staff and players at Oakwell and commence preparations for the upcoming season.”
The decision to bring in Collins does come as a shock and can be described as somewhat of a downgrade from previous manager Michael Duff. That being said, he could lead Barnsley to another successful season, and with one of the stronger sides in League One it is not out of question that they’ll be in contention for the play-offs if not higher this season. Many are already writing him off and Collins certainly has a mountain to climb in order to gain the supporters trust but a good start to the season will help aid that.