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Thornton named at Head Coach at Knights


2:49pm 6th July 2012

York City Knights are delighted to announce that former Batley and current Castleford Tigers Under 20’s Coach Gary Thornton will become the clubs Head Coach next season.

Thornton has signed a two year contract with the Knights and will take up his new role at the end of the current season, following Chris Thorman’s move to the Huddersfield Giants.

Gary began his coaching career at Drighlington before moving to the Bulldogs as an assistant coach in 2002. He was then named as Head Coach in 2003 where he stayed for 5 ½ years, during which time he was named National League 1 Coach of the Year in 2006, a season when the Bulldogs made the playoff semi finals. Thornton also guided the Bulldogs to the playoffs in 2003 and 2005 and to the Northern Rail Cup Semi Final in 2008.

For the last three seasons Gary has worked as Head Coach of the Castleford Tigers Under 20’s team, and has played a key role in the development of a number of current Tigers first team players including Richard Owen, Jordan Thompson and Daryl Clark.

Speaking about his appointment Thornton said:

“I am absolutely delighted to be back as a Head Coach with York City Knights. This is a club I have always admired, and I know John and Ian have big ambitions which match mine. There are some exciting times ahead with the move to the new stadium, and I am honoured to be a part of that. I have had three seasons working in a Super League environment which has benefited me immensely, but have always kept a keen eye on the Championship, with a burning desire to return as soon as an opportunity came along. I am thrilled that John and Ian have given me that opportunity with the Knights; an opportunity I am relishing and I can’t wait to get started”

“Although I don’t take over officially until November, I am already working hard with John and Ian, with our main focus being on building as good a squad of players as we can to be challenging the top 5 or 6 clubs in the division come end of 2013 season. This is a tough division with no easy games, and I know the challenge ahead will be a tough one. We need to build a good honest group of players who want to play for York City Knights and who match my desire for success. I know York has a band of very faithful fans, and I’m hoping we can swell those numbers next season with some success on the pitch”

“Lastly, I’d like to wish Chris all the best for the future in his new role with the Giants”.

Knights General Manager Ian Wilson was also delighted with the appointment and said:

“When we were informed that Chris was to leave the club at the end of the season we discussed what type of coach we wanted. We wanted someone who has coached at this level before, who was familiar with young players in the region and a hard working, motivated individual, and in Gary we believe we will get all of this and more. We were impressed with him from the very first time we met him and myself and all of the staff and players at the club are really looking forward to working with him.”

Steve Gill, Head of Youth Development at the Tigers, was also full of praise for Thornton and added:

“It’s sad to see Gary leave as he has been very instrumental in the development of our young players. I was contacted last week by Ian Wilson the General Manager at the Knights, who asked permission to speak to Gary about the 2013 season. It is hard to stand in the way of someone who has shown such loyalty and honesty to the club over the past three years so Gary goes with our blessing. Gary will remain a good friend to me and the club, and we have already held discussions on players to go out on loan for next year. It has been a great pleasure to work with him, we have had our highs and lows over the past three years and we will share some good memories. Everyone at the Club will miss having him around the place, and we would like to wish him all the best in his new venture”

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