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Tracey Neville returns to Manchester Thunder as performance operations director

The Commonwealth Games-winning former England head coach returns to netball after taking time out to start a family. Tracey Neville re-joins her former franchise Manchester Thunder as performance operations director and a specialist coach

Last Updated: 29/01/21 7:49am

Tracey Neville is returning to Manchester Thunder in a newly created role with the Vitality Netball Superleague franchise

Tracey Neville has announced her return to netball, re-joining her former Vitality Netball Superleague franchise, Manchester Thunder, as performance operations director.

The newly-created role will see her contributing to all aspects of Manchester Thunder as a business, as well as overseeing the development of the programme to find the next generation of talented netballers.

In addition to her position on Manchester Thunder’s board, she will join Vitality Netball Superleague head coach Karen Greig’s team as a specialist coach.

Both roles mark Neville’s return to the club where she secured two Superleague titles as head coach during her tenure from 2011 to 2015. Following that success, she took the reins as the national head coach.

Re-joining Thunder is Neville’s first move back into netball, after stepping down from the position of England head coach following the 2019 Vitality Netball World Cup.

Ahead of the home tournament, Neville announced that it would be her last in the role because she wanted to focus on her personal life and ambition to have a family.

Baby Nev was born in March last year and as he continues to grow up, Neville has decided that it’s time to return to the sport that she loves.

The roles mark the former England head coach's first steps back in the sport after time away to have her son Nev

The roles mark the former England head coach’s first steps back in the sport after time away to have her son Nev

“In the past 18 months the world has changed – for me and for us all,” Neville said.

“I’ve missed netball so much, as I know so many are at the moment, so I am excited by the prospect of being back on the bench and coaching world-class players once more.

“Manchester Thunder has been a massive part of my life – as a netball player and a netball coach – so I am thrilled to be asked to play a role with the club once again.

“I can’t wait to be working alongside a coaching team that is already full of title-winning experience, world-class players and long-standing friends.

“One of the challenges I really enjoyed with the Roses and England Netball was developing strategies and working with a team of people dedicated to being the best,” she added.

“The opportunity to be not just on the bench but on the board was one I couldn’t turn down.

“Manchester Thunder as a franchise has always had that determined mentality, and I relish the opportunity to bring my skills and experience to the board as we work to become the number one club in the world.”

Debbie Hallas, Manchester Thunder’s managing director, believes that Neville coming on board is an exciting moment for the franchise.

“Tracey is passionate about developing players – identifying those with potential to make it on court at the highest level and making them the best they can be,” Hallas said. “She also understands that to be the best you can be on court you need to be the best you can off court too.

“Manchester Thunder is developing as a business at a time when netball is becoming more and more professional as a sport.

“Her appointment to our board will accelerate the work we are doing and shows our determination to being the number one club not just in this country but in the world.”

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