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Club News

TONY COLLINS: 1926-2021

9 February 2021

Norwich City were saddened to learn of the passing of Tony Collins.

Tony played for Norwich between 1953 and 1955 where, as an outside left, he scored twice in 31 appearances for the first team. He also had an impressive record turning out for the reserve side, where he scored 10 times in 76 games for the club.

He amassed more than 300 Football League appearances for the York City, Watford, Norwich City, Torquay United, Crystal Palace and Rochdale, but it is perhaps in management where Tony is best remembered.

That is because when he was appointed Rochdale manager in June 1960, having been encouraged by his teammates to apply for the vacant position, he became the first black manager in the Football League. His career in management proved very successful as he led Rochdale, on a shoestring budget, to League Cup final glory in only his second season as boss. To date it is the only major trophy final appearance for the Dale and one of only two appearances by a fourth division side in the League Cup final.

He would go on to manage Rochdale for 365 games, winning 132 of those and drawing 84, in a management career that stretched until 1967, where he took up a position of chief scout for Don Revie’s Leeds United. Following years of success at Elland Road, Tony followed Revie into the England setup and would later work as scout for Manchester United, Queens Park Rangers, Newcastle United, Millwall and Derby County.

Everyone’s thoughts at Norwich are with Tony’s family and friends at this sad time.

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