It’s a Derby County homecoming for talented coach Scott
Scott Rickards has gone ‘back home’ to the two clubs where he spent his formative years.
The former striker left Mansfield’s coaching staff in the summer and had not been short of offers.
And now he’s landed roles at Derby County – where he came through the youth ranks – and Tamworth, where he starred on the non-league circuit.
“It’s quite a mad story really,” Rickards said.
“The two clubs I started football at, from a non-league and junior perspective, and I’m back working at them both.
“It feels really good to be back involved and I’m excited about the challenges.”
Rickards will be working with Tamworth FC’s academy players, having had a spell as the Lambs assistant manager, under Mike Fowler, two seasons ago.
“Mike and I kept in touch from our Tamworth days,” Rickards said.
“He got in touch recently and said: ‘Look, I understand you have left Mansfield, could we have a chat?’.
“I had a coffee with him and he said Tamworth were looking at running a new programme down at The Lamb.
“I had the qualifications to deliver it so he asked me if I’d like to go back in and do it.
“To go in and get back involved with the academy which was brilliant for me because it’s local, on the doorstep.
“It is also a club close to my heart.”
Of his new role, Rickards explained: “I’ve gone in to deliver a personal training qualification that the club is offering the footballers.
“I’m working predominantly with the older age group, the third-year learners.
“They are the ones who effectively won the Youth League last season.
“I will be tutoring them.
“Other times I am in there I will be coaching within the academy, the under-18s down, doing normal sessions.
“I’m really impressed with the set-up and the way the club are operating from academy and the first team really.
“It’s all well run and the lads are good with the right attitude so it’s perfect for me.”
After landing the Tamworth position, Rickards also secured a role at his first club Derby.
“I have been offered the under-13s coaching role,” he said.
“I take the team on Monday and Thursday evenings for a few hours plus a full day on a Tuesday and, on Sundays, it is the game programme.
“It’s funny really because I joined Derby when I was 13 and didn’t leave until I was nearly 21.
“So I was there for seven years as a young academy player and professional. I experienced really good things with them, winning youth leagues as a young pro.
“I was there with a lot of lads who went on to make Premier League and Championship appearances so for me it was a really good time at the club.
“I knew Ian Evatt who captained Blackpool in the top flight. He was in my year. I lived with Evo.”
“Adam Murray, Chris Riggott, who played for Derby and Middlesbrough, Malcolm Christie were in my year group, Marvin Robinson, Marcus Tudgay as well.
“Derby had a really good recruitment team and the coaching staff I worked with there included Steve Round, who is one of the best in the game, Steve Maclaren and Eric Steele.
“All my coaching influences from Derby are people who have influenced me as a player and coach now so I was really chuffed to get offered the job.
“Don’t get my wrong, I loved my time at Mansfield, but when you go from that to a club consistently pushing for the Premier League and they are a category one academy, I was just blown away by the professionalism and facilities they have got.
“It’s just incredible and I want to embrace that and learn what that level is all about. “
As well as starting work with the Lambs and Rams, Rickards also recently headed out to Antigua with another Tamworth football coach, Conor Fulford, to work with youngsters.
“It was a Mansfield-led programme and I was supposed to be going with the academy manager (John Dempster) at the time but he got offered the first team job so couldn’t go on the trip.
“I spoke to the contact in Antigua and asked whether it’d be okay for Conor to step in and help coach.
“We went along and did a week there, setting up an Elite Academy for their FA. It was a really good week of work, tough but, as a coach, going out there was great.
“They have got some cracking players at 7s upwards.
“Some of the talent on show was fantastic. You hope that at some point before they get too old they can be exposed to the right scouts and the right clubs.
“They are a long way from the European game so it would be great to get them some exposure and give some of the youngsters an opportunity.”