Cheltenham Town Appoint Michael Duff As Manager
Cheltenham Town Football Club have this afternoon officially announced the full time appointment of Michael Duff is their new manager. The former Northern Ireland defender will start work with the Robins tomorrow having ended a fourteen year as both a player and a coach with Burnley Football Club.
Before joining the Clarets, Michael was a member of the Cheltenham Town team that progressed from the Southern League to Football League Division One in 5 remarkable years under the management of Steve Cotterill.
Since his retirement from playing in 2016 Michael has been employed at Burnley as the academy manager, most recently taking charge of the Burnley U23 team at Turf Moor. A UEFA Pro Licence coach, he has played and worked under some outstanding managers including Steve Cotterill, Owen Coyle, Eddie Howe and of course Sean Dyche.
The facts and stats regarding Michael Duff’s playing career are remarkable, he was playing for Carterton in the Hellenic League when their manager Derek Bragg recommended him to Cheltenham Town youth development officer Mike Davis in 1996. After only six appearances for the reserve team he made his first team debut in the Southern League against Dorchester Town in September that year.
Following a spell on loan at Cirencester Town in the Southern League Midland Division, Michael’s career took off following the appointment of Cotterill as manager and he was a member of the team that won the FA Trophy at Wembley before going on to score the goal that won promotion to the Football League in 1999.
In 2002 Michael became the first ever Cheltenham Town player to win an international cap while playing for the club when he made his debut for Northern Ireland in a friendly against Poland and two years later, after 372 first team appearances for the Robins, he was transferred to Championship club Burnley where his career continued upwards.
It total he made 384 first team appearances for The Clarets and won three promotions to the Premier League, the last in 2016 at the age of 38, before retiring to concentrate on a second career in coaching and management. He won 24 Northern Ireland caps including a substitute appearance in the 1-0 win over England at Windsor Park in 2005 and he is one of the few players to have made league appearances at each of the top eight divisions of the English football pyramid.
Speaking about becoming Cheltenham Town manager Michael Duff said, “I can’t wait to get started back at Cheltenham Town, it’s a big step for me to leave a job I was settled in and working with a great manager at a Premier League club, but I feel the time’s right.
It is a fantastic opportunity and I would like to thank the Board for the faith that they have shown in me. I know that they have worked very hard to get the deal done and I am very grateful for the opportunity.
I only played professionally for two clubs so obviously Cheltenham Town is a club that I know well and one that is very close to my heart. It is also an opportunity to move my family back home and I’m looking forward to meeting the staff and players on Tuesday.”
Michael faces a busy first day at work with meetings, media commitments, first team training and two matches at the training ground as the U23’s take on Plymouth Argyle in the Central League while the U18’s play Bristol Rovers in the Youth Alliance Cup. We will bring you further updates from Michael’s first media conference tomorrow.