...given his colleagues’ illustrious past at the Welfare Ground.
To make matters worse Tracey recalls his full debut for Rotherham United dumped the Pewits out of the cup: “It was actually against Emley in the FA Cup at Oakwell. We drew 1-1. I didn’t particularly have a great game but, in the replay, we won 3-1 back at Rotherham and Mark Wilson [his new joint manager] got sent off and we managed to go through to the next round.
By way of redemption, Tracey recalls his youth living five miles away from the village: “Growing up in Mirfield there were two teams in Huddersfield – Town and Emley. With their heritage coupled with how well the current club is run I really consider them a sleeping giant.”
Now reunited at Emley, Tracey and Steve Nicholson formed a partnership at Ossett Albion – where Steve combined playing and serving as assistant manager. The pair were at Albion for five years until 2018. Working on limited budgets, they reached a peak position of 9th and narrowly missing out on a play off place but collecting back-to-back “Club of the Month” awards.
Last season he helped out the Glashoughton Welfare management but the Emley job was one he couldn’t resist, “one of the only clubs that could tempt me back into management.”
Tracey and his new co-manager Wilson have been in the same non-league circles for the best part of two decades but only recently found themselves on the same side – as part of a Bradford Park Avenue veterans’ teams. Now on the same management team, Tracey is looking forward to working together with new partner Wilson and old lieutenant Nicholson: “There’s nobody that will be stubborn in their approach to it. We’ll take on board and come to a collective decision on how things will go. We all know each other’s strengths, which is important as well, and I think we’ve got a bit of everything to cover all the bases.”
As Albion manager, a number of players coached by Tracey went on to sign for clubs higher up the pyramid – including all the way to the Premier League. When it comes recruitment at Emley, he has some clear requirements: “There’s going to be tough days, so we want that resilience within the players. We want that character and we’re looking for people who can commit to the club and will fight for the club.”
Another type of recruitment is also on Tracey’s mind: “We want to get them back through the gate. We want them to enjoy us winning games, seeing some good football. The crowd will make a big difference to us getting over the line from time to time.”