THE sporting sister of Barclays Premier League footballers Gary and Phil Neville has beaten them to it when it comes to landing a job in sports management.
Tracey Neville, twin-sister of Phil and international netballer, has been revealed as the Director of Netball of Fiat Netball Superleague club Northern Thunder.
Tracey who played for netball’s top tier herself for 14 years and was capped more than 80 times for England has started working with the Manchester -based Northern Thunder squad as they prepare for the first match of the new Netball Superleague Season – a Roses clash with Yorkshire Jets on January 23, 2012.
The 34-year-old from Bury is hoping to take the talented Northern Thunder squad which boasts three all the way to the Fiat Netball Superleague’s Grand Final.
Last season, Thunder were on course for an appearance in the Grand Final but injuries to several key players on the final run-in dented their chances of taking netball’s top national trophy.
Tracey will be leading the Northern Thunder team out for their first match in January at a new venue. Thunder have moved from their home at Castle Leisure Centre in Bury to Wright Robinson Sports Village in East Manchester.
Around £150,000 has been invested in netball facilities at the village to accommodate top-flight netball. The funding has come from Wright Robinson Sports College, Sport England funding through the England Netball, and the Greater Manchester County Netball Association.
As well as becoming the home ground for Northern Thunder, the village has been designated a national performance centre for the region’s elite netballers. It’s the first netball centre in the country which will host netball at all levels including junior players starting at aged six through to elite netballers paying for the national team.
Said Tracey: “It’s an exciting time for netball in the North West and I am delighted to be taking over as head coach at Northern Thunder. It’s a real home-coming for me and I am looking forward to the new season.”
“I’ve always wanted to play netball and concentrated on reaching the top of the sport at a playing level but, like a lot of national athletes, it seems like a natural progression to go into coaching and managing a netball team.
And she added: “Now that I no longer play the sport, I am looking forward to reaching the top as a manager. I’ve had plenty of opportunity to watch great coaches at work and I hope to put that into practice, along with my own experiences, and lead Northern Thunder to the top.”
photos Janos Schmidt