The Nigel Coates Stand was officially opened at Colne FC to honour the man affectionally known as “Legend”.
Former Colne FC manager Nigel set up the winning goal for Colne Dynamoes in the FA Vase final at Wembley in 1988 and also managed at Holt House for 10 years until 2013 taking them to their highest ever finish in the North West Counties League Premier Division.
Father-of-three Nigel died of cancer in June aged just 53.
Colne unveiled the Nigel Coates Stand on Friday before a friendly game with Burnley FC’s Development Squad with the match attended by Nigel’s family, Colne stalwarts as well as players past and present who had played alongside Nigel or under his management.
Colne FC’s Honorary President Dave Blacklock said: “It still doesn’t seem real to me that Nigel has gone and we wanted a fitting tribute to him.
“He was a Colne lad and not many people can say they have played at Wembley for their home-town club. He was a legend at Dynamoes.
“He played for Colne FC and I remember he scored a hat-trick in his first game. Then he went onto manage Colne and in his first season, he got us promoted, we won a cup and he got us to the semi-final of the FA Vase. It was the best trip I have ever been on.
“I worked with Nigel for 10 years and we became friends. He was an all-round nice guy who knew a lot about non- league football.
“We wanted to do something to remember him and the stand we have named the Nigel Coates Stand is where all the Colne fans congregate so it was only right.
“It was a really emotional night. We have other things planned, such as a football match for a cancer charity, but this will be a lasting tribute to a great man.”
Nigel’s older brother Brian Coates received a commemorative plaque prior to the game at the XLCR Stadium.
“There were 600 people there for the game to pay their respects and that’s a sign of how well thought of Nigel was,” said Brian.
“The opening of the new stand was a fitting tribute and it was well-deserved after his service to Colne.
“I remember watching him at Wembley with Colne Dynamoes in 1988 and I was the press officer for Colne FC when Nigel was manager and followed them home and away.
“It seems strange going to games without him now and when I do everyone wants to pay their respects.
“Former Dynamoes manager Graham White made five plaques all of Nigel flicking on the ball for his assist at Wembley and some of them will go to his family while others will be displayed at Colne FC.”
Brian added: “I never met anyone who has such inside knowledge and understanding of the North West Counties League as Nigel.
“He knew the players, the clubs and the rules and, when he wasn’t watching Colne, he was watching other teams in the league.
“As a family we are still coming to terms with losing him but this was an emotional but fitting tribute to Nigel.”