Neil Matthews 1966-2023

All at Guiseley AFC are saddened to hear of the death at the age of 56 of their former striker Neil Matthews after a battle with cancer, writes Rachel O’Connor.

The Bradford City Academy manager played for Guiseley in the late 1990s alongside the likes of Simon Parke, Steve Dickinson, Peter Atkinson, Andy Williams, Greg Abbott and Des Hazel.

Whilst at Nethermoor Neil was Manager’s Player-of-the-Year. He last played a game at Guiseley in 2010 in a match to mark the club’s centenary.

Neil started his career with his home club Grimsby Town and went on to play for Halifax Town and Stockport County before a back injury halted his career.

He returned to action with Lincoln City but after three seasons needed more surgery. He dropped into non-league football enjoying a successful time with Guiseley.

Concerns about his back continued and he decided to call it a day on leaving Leigh RMI in 2001 aged 34.

He moved into coaching at the club where his boys were playing. He was bitten by the coaching bug and moved into academy work at Huddersfield Town.

Neil then joined Bradford City in December 2017 as Head of Academy Coaching. When Alan Nevison left for Leeds United Neil stepped up to Academy Manager.

As Academy manager his leadership saw 15 Academy players agree pro contracts with the Bantams. Several young prospects moved to Premier League clubs.

City Chief Executive Ryan Sparks said: “We are absolutely heartbroken by Neil’s passing. He was a special person who took immense pride in his work. It was an honour to know him and work alongside him. Our thoughts are with his wife Sue and his loved ones.”

City will name their Academy Player-of-the-Year award after Neil. A minute’s applause in his honour will be held prior to City’s Play-Off game against Carlisle at Valley Parade on Sunday.

Our thoughts are with everyone at Bradford City and Neil’s friends and family at this incredibly sad time.

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