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19 Jun 2020 : Colin Woodthorpe named Linnets assistant

Our new manager Calum McIntyre has chosen vastly-experienced former Norwich City defender Colin Woodthorpe as his assistant in a major coup for Runcorn Linnets.

As well as playing at the top-level with the Canaries - likewise in Scotland for Aberdeen - 51-year-old Liverpudlian Colin boasts a high level of managerial success in the top echelons of the non-league game.

Assisting manager Dave Challinor at Colwyn Bay, former left back Colin helped the Seagulls gain promotion to Conference (now National League) North.

Colin then aided the rise through the divisions of AFC Fylde, again as right-hand man to former Tranmere Rovers midfielder Challinor.

Colin's marathon professional career in English and Scottish football ran from 1986-87 to the end of 2007-08.

His senior debut, however, had come in 1985-86 - as a 17-year-old Chester City apprentice who was handed his first-team chance in a Freight Rover Trophy tie at Rochdale.

A Football League opportunity followed the season after, Colin ending that campaign with 30 league starts and two goals. He scored in the Northern final of the Freight Rover Trophy as Chester lost 2-1 on aggregate to Mansfield Town.

Establishing a regular position and not missing a game in 1989-90 season, his last at Chester (after almost 200 appearances), Colin's quality earned him a six-figure move to Norwich.

In four years at Carrow Road, standout moments included facing Inter Milan in the UEFA Cup (1993), an FA Cup semi-final against Sunderland (1992) and scoring in a 3–0 win over Liverpool (1991).

The £400,000 move to Aberdeen in 1994 brought further European adventures. Colin's three years at Pittodrie, the only injury-dogged spell of his career, ended with a return to his native North West of England in 1997.

The destination was Stockport County, newly promoted to Division One (now Championship). The club would remain at that level until 2002, Colin becoming club captain.

A free transfer to Bury for 2002-03 saw Colin make the Division Three play-offs at the first attempt.

He remained a mainstay in the Shakers' defence as the side's elder statesman until his release and retirement from playing in May 2008, aged 39.

A new chapter, in football mannagenent, was opened in May 2010 as Colin was appointed assistant  to Dave Challinor at then NPL Premier Division club Colwyn Bay. Their runners-up finish led to promotion via the play-offs.

The management duo moved in summer 2012 to AFC Fylde. Various promotions over eight years saw the burgeoning Lancastrians into the National League Premier Division and a 2019 FA Trophy win at Wembley against Leyton Orient.

The pair left AFC Fylde in October. 

Colin first encountered and got to know new Linnets boss Calum McIntyre when Colwyn Bay based their training at Chester and was instantly struck by Calum's promise as a young coach.

"Calum's always kept in touch with Dave (Challinor) and myself and we have bumped into each other a lot of times.

"Dave's son is now involved with Chester at youth level too and Calum must have enquired about me.

"I had taken a rest after what happened last October. Then Covid-19 took a hold on everything. But now the time is right for a return to football.

"Calum's obviously interviewed very well. He has taken charge of Conference games at Chester - on not just a couple of occasions; he's had a run of games when the management has changed and done well results-wise in a team that wasn't doing particularly well.

"I certainly know him well enough. There's still a big connection at Chester with myself. There are people still there from 30-odd years ago when I first played for them.

"We knew he had potential and clearly Calum has progressed. He has now been given the opportunity at Runcorn Linnets. It looks like a journey's to be had."

Colin headed to The Millbank today from his adopted home town, Northwich and noticed quite a difference from his previous visit to play in a charity game - the additions of a new clubhouse and more recently, the hybrid pitch.

He has, however, still to erase one particularly bad memory, involving Linnets - Chester's 1-0 FA Cup first-round home defeat by our predecessors Runcorn AFC in 1987-88.

"It's the only time I have lost to a non-league side in the FA Cup," he reveals.

We can suggest the perfect remedy for that, Colin - more Linnets success in the seasons ahead!

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