We will be ready for new season

BRIGHOUSE Town’s new manager Mick Couzens has brought in another local coach to help the cause at the Dual Seal Stadium.

Rastrick-based Barry Thomas, 61, will be his assistant manager, with Mark Booth another valued member of the coaching team for the 2011/12 Koolsport Northern Counties East Premier Division season.

Couzens and Thomas met in Saudia Arabia when they both worked for the Saudia Aramco Oil production company.

Thomas stayed 20 years in the Middle East and is now retired.

Originally from Wyke, he has since made the family home in Halifax Road, Brighouse, and then in Rastrick, and he and his former wife have three grown up children.

His son Jason, who works for HMV in London, is a former Rastrick Juniors player.

He was also at Bradford City in their academy as a 14-year-old before an injury ended his career.

Thomas’s eldest daughter Michelle, formerly of Brighouse Girls Grammar School, is a nurse in Sydney.

His second daughter Tracey, who attended Brighouse High School, is now a teacher at Longroyde Junior School, Rastrick.

Thomas’s playing career as a, “middle of the park operator”, began with Sedbergh Boys Club, near Odsal Top.

He then moved to Bradford Park Avenue’s youth team and played alongside Kenny Hibbit who moved on to join Wolverhampton Wanderers for his entire career.

Thomas himself joined the full time professional ranks at Huddersfield Town and played with Leeds Road legends Frank Worthington, Billy Legg, Trevor Cherry and Geoff Hutt to name a few.

His coach and then manager at the time was the late Ian Greaves.

He married and moved abroad to Saudi Arabia and was last involved there in 1998.

With Couzens he has been involved with the coaching of the Park Avenue U-19 teams which have won league and cup competitions, then with him and Booth at Ossett Town in the UniBond (now the Evo-Stick) League.

Then it was back to Avenue again after a short tenure and working with the reserves in the strong Lancashire League competition.

This is a league he would like to see Brighouse Town’s reserves move into but for the coming season at least they will once again be in the West Riding CAL Premier Division.

“I did have the chance to move to Thackley ahead of coming to Town but it’s really too far for me to commit now and this local opportunity really appeals. We will be giving it our best shot,” he said.

“The welcome from the committee, supporters and the players has been very friendly indeed and ahead of pre-season training on Saturday, July 2, we have a lot of planning to do and then get to know our players.

“We are bringing in five or six lads who were with us at Park Avenue and this will really strengthen the squad.

“This close season we only have some five weeks to work with the players as the season is starting two weeks earlier on August 6 but like Mick Couzens has said, we will be ready,” he added.