Football legend Nigel dies aged 53

Colne FC:  Nigel Coates
Colne FC: Nigel Coates

Tributes have been paid to a local football legend who has lost his battle with cancer.

One of Colne Dynamoes’ Wembley heroes Nigel Coates (53) died at the weekend.

Nigel, of Rossendale Road, Burnley, set up Stewart Anderson’s winning goal at the home of football when Colne claimed the FA Vase in 1988 with victory over Emley in front of thousands of fans.

He later became the long serving manager of the reformed Colne FC and was at the helm for a decade until he stepped down in 2013.

In that time he led Colne to the league and cup double in 2003/4 and also to the semi-final of the FA Vase in the same season.

With the league win came promotion to the North West Counties League Premier and he led the club to its highest position in the division before Colne were crowned champions in May. He also managed Nelson FC in two different spells.

Nigel was as honest as the day is long. What you saw is what you got and he had a very good sense of humour

Brother

Away from football, Nigel had three children, a son Joe and daughters Megan and Danielle.

He had a variety of jobs including as a self-employed window cleaner, at the War Pensions Archives and as manager of the Springers Club, both Nelson, and as a landlord at the Gannow Wharf and Coal Clough pubs in Burnley.

He went to Christ the King RC Primary School and St Theodore’s RC High School before being taken on as an apprentice at Oldham Athletic.

Paying tribute, Nigel’s brother Brian said: “I’m 16 years his senior and it has been very tough. He was 53 which is very young.

“Nigel was as honest as the day is long. What you saw is what you got and he had a very good sense of humour.

“Basically, he dedicated his life to football. He was well respected and he was probably the best pro amateur footballer the area has ever produced.”

Prior to his legendary association with the Dynamoes and later as manager at Colne FC, Nigel had played for Mansfield and then Colne Legion.

Colne FC’s former chairman and secretary, Dave Blacklock, said: “I’m absolutely devastated at the news.

“It was only a couple of weeks ago we had a get together and I spoke to him afterwards and he was really glad we agreed to have that.

“He showed tremendous courage and kept his dignity all the time he fought it. He