Nicky Reid Interview

Former Man City and Blackburn Rovers player Nicky Reid was the player / manager 25 years ago when Sligo Rovers won the League Cup defeating Shelbourne 1-0 in the two-leg final.

Last Saturday night at The Showgrounds at the Premier Division game between Sligo Rovers and Shelbourne members of that squad were guests of the club.

Conall Collier interviewed Nicky Reid for an article in the match programme.


Nicky Reid was the first manager to guide the Sligo Rovers to a League Cup final victory 25 years ago and he also took the club on a record-breaking 16-game unbeaten run in his first season at the helm, from December 1997 to March 1998.

Nicky’s first game for Sligo Rovers was a friendly at the Showgrounds against a Micky Adams-managed Fulham side on 23rd July 1997.

His final game for Sligo Rovers and the final game of his career was in March 1999, an FAI Cup tie against Bray Wanderers at the Showgrounds.

He sustained an injury in that game that effectively forced him to hand up the football boots.

In a stellar playing career that lasted 22 years, Nicky played more than 500 games for all his clubs starting with 200 appearances for Manchester City which included the memorable 1981 FA Cup final, the 100th FA Cup final, with the first game finishing 1-1 and Spurs winning the replay 3-2.

He joined Blackburn Rovers in July 1987 and helped the club win promotion to what was the new FA Premier League in the 1991/92 season, he then joined West Bromwich Albion for the 1992–93 season helping the club win promotion from Division 2.

That was followed by spells with Wycombe Wanderers and Bury before he made the short journey across the Irish Sea and landed at the airport in Strandhill ahead of trials with Sligo Rovers.

“I thoroughly enjoyed my time in Sligo, initially I went over to play a few games for Jimmy Mullen who was the manager at the time, my previous club, Bury, didn’t offer me a new contract,” recalled Nicky as he took a break from his duties as proprietor of the Masons Arms in Chorley, a town with a population of around 100,000 some 20 miles west of Manchester.

“I ended up with the manager’s job at Sligo Rovers by accident, we had played a few friendlies but Jimmy wasn’t kept on as manager, I was asked would I do the job and I said I’d have a go at it, at least it meant I’d get picked every week.

“I’m thrilled to be going over for this 25th anniversary, I know it’s probably not a major event for Sligo Rovers, but for me it was something special, to win a trophy as a player / manager, I was really pleased to get the invite.

“I’m travelling on the same flight as Marcus (Hallows) so that should be memorable on its own, but it will be wonderful to see all the guys again and I’m really looking forward to seeing Sligo again.

“I really enjoyed my time there, lovely people, a great place and it should be a great weekend, I know that Marcus does this Elvis act, I meet him from time to time, he lives in Bolton and I’m not too far from there,” he added.

And what did Nicky Reid do when he was told all those years ago that he wouldn’t be the manager of Sligo Rovers for the 1999 / 2000 season?

“Obviously, I was disappointed with the decision, but that’s football and that’s they things go,” he reflected almost a quarter of a century later.

“I did a two-year diploma is sports injuries during the time was in Sligo and when I returned to England, I was offered a role as the reserve team physio at Burnley,” he said.

“I took on that role and was there for five years during which I also went to university to upgrade my qualifications, a degree in Chartered Physiotherapy.

“After Burnley, I was at Bury for three seasons and I was also with Macclesfield Town, Preston and a few other clubs, that kept me fit but the knees started to complain and I had to do something else.

“Myself and my partner (Cheryl) bought a public house, the Masons Arms in Chorley, it’s a small, local pub.

“Most of the customers wouldn’t exactly remember me as a footballer, but occasionally there would be a request for a photo.

“The pub, well, I suppose I had lots of practice visiting the pubs when I was in Sligo, to make sure that the players weren’t out when they shouldn’t be, that’s my line anyway.

“Occasionally I get invited back to Man City or Blackburn Rovers as a former player and that’s something I appreciate, just like this invite back to Sligo, I really appreciate it and it will be great to see the old stadium, there was so much to like about Sligo, the people of the area and the supporters, hopefully I’ll get a good welcome,” he concluded.