John ‘Jock’ Collier holds the distinction of being appointed the first-ever official manager of York City in July 1928.
John ‘Jock’ Collier holds the distinction of being appointed the first-ever official manager of York City in July 1928, which was to be the club’s last season in the Midland League.
Collier was born in Scotland in 1899 and spent time playing for Inverkeithing Juniors before trials with the Scottish Junior international team. He was eventually snapped up by Raith Rovers and then Hull City in 1920-21, where he was made captain for a couple of years until moving to Queens Park Rangers in 1926.
He joined York as a player-manager in July 1928, but a broken ankle soon ended the right-half’s playing career after only a couple of appearances. Nevertheless, he helped York begin to adjust from non-league to their newly-earned status of Third Division football. However, at the end of their first season at the higher level, Collier departed the club to become a publican.
But that wasn’t the end of his relationship with them, and he continued to take a keen interest in their progress whilst managerial duties were being carried out by the club secretary, Mr G.W. Sherrington. As such, Collier was re-appointed to the position in May 1933, when the club were experiencing a rather difficult period. He steadily helped them improve and in 1936-37 they actually progressed to the FA Cup fourth round before losing to Swansea Town after a replay.
Collier finally announced his retirement from the game in March 1937 and went into business alongside one of his brothers in Scotland. Sadly, York’s first appointed boss struggled with his health and died in Hull in December 1940 at the age of just 41.