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GARY McALLISTER today appointed Tamworth boss Gary Mills as coach and reserve team manager at Highfield Road.

The former Leicester City, Nottingham Forest and Notts County player, who played with McAllister at Filbert Street, takes over from Trevor Peake, who is to be offered another role with the Sky Blues.

Forty-year-old Mills has made a name for himself as a promising young manager after turning the Dr Marten's Premier club's fortunes round in just 18 months.

After being installed as player/manager at The Lamb Ground in January 2001, he took Tamworth from rock-bottom to within a whisker of promotion to the Nationwide Conference, finishing runners-up to Kettering in the league on the last day of the season.

"This is an exciting time for the club and I have no doubt that Gary will be a valuable addition to my staff," said McAllister who revealed Mills will assist Eric Black in coaching the first team as well being in charge of the reserves.

"He is an experienced coach who has achieved a great deal with Tamworth this season and having played with him at Leicester, I also know he has some excellent personal qualities."

Mills, who admits it is a huge wrench to leave the club, has signed a three-year contract with City and because he has broken an existing two- year deal with Tamworth, Coventry have agreed a compensation deal.

"I have some mixed emotions about leaving because I have enjoyed myself at Tamworth and this has to be the toughest decision of my career," said Mills who revealed he got a call from McAllister out of the blue.

"But it is a great opportunity and the challenge is simply too great to turn down."

Mills leaves with the full blessing of Tamworth, who have thanked him for his efforts over the last 18-months.

"The club were obviously aware that Gary's success on the pitch would attract interest from other clubs but unfortunately we did not anticipate a club of Coventry City's stature showing interest and when the offer was made, it was clear that it would be impossible to keep him," said chief executive Russell Moore.

"We are very upset at losing not only a superb manager but also a tremendous ambassador. However, at the same time we are very proud of Gary's achievements and delighted that he is jumping so highly up the footballing ladder. We will look back on Gary's time here with warmth and he will always be considered part of the family we call Tamworth Football Club."

Mills was named Dr Marten's Premier League Manager of the Month for January, February and March after taking Tamworth on a winning run which almost concluded in promotion.

He also took the non-league outfit to the first round of the FA Cup and subsequently drew 1-1 with league side Rochdale, before losing 1-0 in the replay courtesy of a goal in the final minute of the game.

A one time versatile midfielder/full-back, Mills scored 61 goals in 550 league appearances and was the youngest player to ever win a European Cup winners medal when he was at Forest under Brian Clough.

He is also a former England youth and under-21 player and holds the unique record of scoring for England schoolboys at Wembley in the same year that he scored a try for England schoolboys rugby team at Twickenham, before deciding to follow a full-time career in football.

Mills first ventured into management at Grantham before switching to King's Lynn and then Tamworth.


CITY No 3: Gary Mills is the new reserve team manager at the Sky Blues
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Title Annotation:Sport
Publication:Coventry Evening Telegraph (England)
Date:May 23, 2002
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