Conor Marlin: New Role at Bradford City AFC
Conor Marlin saw his Oldham Athletic side knock Bradford City out of the FA Youth Cup but the style of play and the principles bred into the Bantams players stuck in his mind.
Now the highly respected Northern Ireland coach and Football Careers client is the new Head of Coaching and Player Development at the ambitious English League Two club who have Manchester United and Wales legend Mark Hughes at the helm of the first team.
Conor is relishing the new adventure as he builds on a coaching and mentorship reputation that was forged in over a decade of hard work in his homeland.
He revealed: “When people heard I was leaving Oldham the first reaction I got was: ‘Bradford, that’s a really good club to go to.’ That’s always a nice thing to hear. I had 10 years with Northern Ireland in the international football arena and nearly 100 games at different levels from Under-21s down to the Under-10s. I coached them all. My wide range of experience across the pathways aids me I think in this challenge.”
Bradford City have an admired Academy set-up with their U19s side crowned Youth Alliance champions last time out. Now Conor has arrived to build on the solid foundations that were already in place. He brings with him that experience from Northern Ireland and also Oldham where he was Head of Coaching, Academy Manager and assistant manager with the first team.
Conor also worked with the leading football consultancy agency DoublePass on key contracts with the English Premier League, Major League Soccer in America and FIFA. Now he’s in a pivotal position to help Bradford progress as the second Football Careers client in influential roles at Valley Parade after stablemate Stephen Gent was unveiled as Head of Recruitment there back in May.
Marlin stressed: “It’s a different task now than it was a few years ago because of all the good work that has done at the club. What I have to do is put my own twist on it now and get more players into Mark Hughes’ first team.
“The productivity of Academy assets went through the roof at Oldham and I have to look to do that again. I’m a developer of players and coaches and I feel I am good at building rapport and relationships. That’s my task in the first few months.”
City have made a solid start to the League Two season and currently sit eighth in the table with a big clash at home to second-placed Stevenage when football returns in England this Saturday after the period of mourning for Her Majesty The Queen.
Former Barcelona and Bayern Munich striker Hughes – a top level boss for over two decades with the likes of Wales, Manchester City, Blackburn Rovers and Stoke City – is committed to the Bradford project until 2024.
And Conor reasoned: “I’m sure it is Mark’s attitude and desire to get the club out of this league and that means in the Academy we must aim to be developing players for a higher level.”