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Monday 1 July

A former Myerscough football studies student and tutor has been sharing his career successes.

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Andy Collins had a long-standing association with Myerscough, first as a student in 2006, and then working as a lecturer in the same department for more than eight years between 2011 and 2019.

Andy then opted to move out to Dubai, where he set up his own academy, and also took a job at a local school.

Andy’s time in the UAE has been a highly successful one so far, after his academy formed a partnership with English Football League club, Fleetwood Town. As joint manager of Fleetwood United FC, a new professional team in the UAE Pro Leagues, Andy helped to guide the club to two promotions over three seasons from UAE Division 3 to Division 1.

Next season, his team will play in the top flight for the first time.

Andy takes up his story: ‘’My career path has been an exciting and rewarding one, filled with numerous accomplishments and milestones. It all began back in 2006 when I enrolled at Myerscough College and went through their renowned football education programme. During my time there, I developed a deep passion for the sport and honed my skills as a player and coach.

‘’After graduating from university in 2011, I transitioned into a full time lecturer role in football studies at Myerscough College. This allowed me to share my knowledge and experience with the next generation of aspiring footballers. Over the next few years, I steadily progressed within the college, becoming a Senior Lecturer in 2016. During this time, I also had the opportunity to work with the football and education programme delivered to the youth scholars at Preston North End FC, further expanding my expertise.

‘’In 2019, I made the decision to take a sabbatical from Myerscough and move to Dubai, where I set up my own football academy, United FC. This was a pivotal moment in my career, as I embarked on an entrepreneurial journey to turn my passion into a thriving business. When the COVID-19 pandemic hit in early 2020, I faced a difficult decision, but ultimately chose to stay in Dubai and continue growing my academy.

‘’Later that year, I took on an additional role as the Head of PE at a school in Dubai, allowing me to maintain my connection with the education sector while running my football academy outside of school hours. This synergy between my two passions – football and education – proved to be a winning formula, as the school recognized my contributions and promoted me to the position of Assistant Head Teacher in 2021.''

‘’One of the crowning achievements of my career came in 2020, when my football academy, United FC which had grown to over 100 players, formed a partnership with the professional UK club Fleetwood Town FC. This led to the creation of Fleetwood United FC, a new professional team in the UAE pro leagues. As the joint manager of Fleetwood United's first team, I guided the club to remarkable success, securing two promotions over three seasons from UAE Division 3 to Division 1.

‘’This has allowed me to compete against high-profile teams and players, in Division 1, we will now compete against the legendary Iniesta, showing the high levels we have achieved and the opportunities created. It has been a dream come true to see my football club grow and have the opportunity to serve as both the first team manager and sporting director.

‘’While leading Fleetwood United, I have continued to progress within the school setting as well. In 2024, I was promoted to the position of Assistant Principal in a new school, overseeing the school's overall operations and ensuring the quality of everything happening across the institution.

‘’My journey from setting up a football academy in 2019 to now managing a professional club and serving as an Assistant Principal is a testament to my hard work, dedication, and unwavering passion for both football and education, all these skills which I learned at Myerscough and can’t thank them enough for everything the College has done for me. I am proud of the achievements I have accomplished thus far, and I am excited to see what the future holds as I continue to navigate this fulfilling and multifaceted career path.

‘’From the moment I stepped onto the Myerscough campus, I knew I had found a special place that was meant for me. The facilities were world-class - state-of-the-art training pitches, a fully equipped gym, and classrooms designed to foster both academic and athletic excellence. But what made Myerscough truly unique was the culture and community.

Every day, I'd arrive to train with my teammates, pushing each other to reach new heights both on and off the pitch. The coaching staff were not just knowledgeable, but deeply invested in our development as players and as people. They created an environment that was simultaneously intense and supportive, where we could take risks, learn from our mistakes, and grow in confidence.

‘’Beyond the pitch, the academic programmes were equally impressive. The lectures and seminars seamlessly blended theory and practice, giving us a well-rounded understanding of the sport we loved. I relished the opportunity to dive deep into the history, psychology, and business side of football - knowledge that has proven invaluable in my career.

‘’What I enjoyed most, though, was the close-knit community. My fellow students weren't just teammates, they became lifelong friends. That sense of camaraderie and shared purpose was truly special.

‘’Even after graduating, I couldn't bear to leave Myerscough behind, I spent 4 years as a student and 8 years as a staff member at Myerscough and would do it all again given the chance. The opportunity to return as a lecturer allowed me to give back to the institution that had given me so much. Working alongside the dedicated staff, I was able to shape the experiences of the next generation of footballers. It was incredibly rewarding to watch them go through the same transformative journey I had.

‘’To this day, I look back on my time at Myerscough College with immense fondness and gratitude. The skills I developed, the connections I forged, and the passion it ignited within me have been instrumental in shaping the trajectory of my career. If I had the chance to do it all over again, I wouldn't change a thing. Myerscough will always hold a special place in my heart.’’