PNE fan Matt eyes up future role as a boss

Matt Higgins,right, is pictured with former North End striker Joe Garner in New York
Matt Higgins,right, is pictured with former North End striker Joe Garner in New York

An avid Preston North End supporter is hoping to one day follow in the footsteps of coaching luminaries like Arsene Wenger and Jose Mourinho.

Matt Higgins is making a name for himself as one of the brightest young soccer coaches in the USA after leaving the UK more than a decade ago.

But now the 32-year-old is keen to return home and try his hand at management in the English professional game.

He had been made the bookies’ favourite for the manager’s job at his hometown club Chester but they appointed former Queens Park Rangers and 
Millwall full-back Marcus Bignot yesterday.

Higgins – whose family hails from Fulwood, hence his links to North End – would have loved to have had a crack at managing the Seals, who are currently in the National League and were without a manager since sacking Jon McCarthy earlier this month.

“My representaives had some communication with Chester, but I don’t want to say too much,” said Higgins, who is based in New York and used to coach at Fordham University.

“I put my name into the hat because I feel that I have got the passion and energy to make a difference.

“My name has been mentioned a few times for jobs in non-league and League Two now, not just Chester.

“If the right opportunity comes along, it is something I would like to do.”

A youth professional goalkeeper with Macclesfield Town as a teenager, Higgins’ promising playing career was brought to an end by a two serious knee injuries. So he decided to channel all of his energies into coaching and took up an opportunity in the States.

“I was on loan from Macclesfield at Vauxhall Motors,” said Higgins, who co-founded the New York North Enders supporters’ group.

“My dad was reading the Non-League Newspaper over breakfast on a Sunday morning and he saw an advert to coach out in America. My coaching career has 
always been important to me.

“I had a great time around four years ago when the Swedish coach Hans Backe was in charge of the New York Red Bulls

“He was my mentor and I used to go to the Red Bulls’ training on a daily basis when Thierry Henry and Tim Cahill were players there.”

While at Macclesfield, 
Higgins played alongside 
Rickie Lambert and Boaz Myhill, who went on to play in the Premier League. He also worked under coaches such as Kevin Keen and John Askey, which he says have helped him immensely.