Why it's a case of like father, like son at Club Thorne Colliery

Chip off the old block Brad Johnston is keeping it in the family after being named Club Thorne Colliery’s new under 21s manager.

Wednesday, 22nd September 2021, 4:56 pm
Updated Thursday, 23rd September 2021, 9:50 am
Brad Johnston, manager of Club Thorne Colliery under 21s, and dad Brian.

The 35-year-old – captain of Colliery’s first team – has followed his father Brian’s footsteps into management by taking on the role at the progressive Central Midlands League club.

And it did not take him long to appoint his dad as his assistant!

Brian Johnston’s career as a player and manager on the local non-league cicruit spans more than four decades. He most notably guided Askern to the Northern Counties East League and their best ever league finish in 2009 and later managed Armthorpe Welfare.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

Brad Johnston in action for Club Thorne Colliery's first team. Photo: John Mushet

Now he’s back in the dugout supporting his son.

“It’s unusual and interesting for me being the one in charge and him taking a backward seat but I think he quite likes it,” said Brad.

“I think I’ll probably be more bad cop and he’ll be good cop but time will tell!

“I think we’ll complement each other nicely. I’m already learning from him – like not to give too much information to the players before a game.

Brad Johnston, picture in the dugout.

“I’m very passionate about what I do but from a coching perspective I need to avoid divulging all of the information at once.

“My dad spoke to the lads before one of our friendlies and it was simple and effective comments. So I’ll pick things up from him as we go along.

“I’d be daft not to tap into his knowledge.”

Colliery’s first team are chasing promotion to the NCEL and currently lead the Premier North Division with eight wins from eight, while their development side lead the league below, Division One North.

The club’s clear progress and vision made the under 21s job attractive to ex-Scunthorpe United scholar Johnston.

“I didn’t really envisage that I would go down the management route to be honest because I’ve seen what my dad’s had to put up with and deal with as a manager in non-league football,” said Brad.

“But at Thorne they’ve given me the opportunity to firstly captain the club and then they asked me in pre-season if I would like to give the under 21s a go. They said I was ideal for the position being a senior player at the club.

“It’s a great way for me to dip my toe in with the under 21s because it’s a small league and it fits in well with my playing.

“I’m not overly fussed about the results, like a lot of people are nowadays. I want to try and support some of the younger lads that have the quality but need the other side of the game – the discipline, desire and fitness – to get into the first team.

“My core value as a coach is work your socks off. I don’t mind players making mistakes. I want the lads to try and play football from the back. They enjoy doing that and they want to play that way.

“The philosophy is to get the best out of the lads and make sure they’re enjoying their football first and foremost.”

Anyone interested in playing for Thorne’s U21s in the North Midlands Development League should email [email protected] Brad is also looking to recruit a physiotherapist for the team.