Barely days after he called time on his playing career to fully concentrate on coaching, the 32-year-old suddenly found himself catapulted from his role as under-18’s coach at Bradford City into something rather more major league with his name doing the rounds on the yellow ticker bar on Sky Sports News to start the working week.
‘Breaking: Michael Collins is appointed Bradford City head coach.’
It probably made for a slightly surreal and incongruous sight. For him, his family, his mates. Everyone, in fact.
After talking over his exciting job proposition with his family and fresh from agreeing his role with co-owner Edin Rahic, his first dealings with the press crystallised the fact that it was now very much for real.
Amid his obvious due care and attention when he addressed the press and his desire to avoid making any outlandish statements, Collins’s steely determination was also there to see. His handshake was real and he looked you firmly in the eye.
He also spoke well with an understated authority and with good sense too. To the doubters - of which there are several - the message was: ‘just give me a chance and then judge me.’ Fair enough, surely.
There were no naive boasts and not too many hackneyed cliches either. Just a down-to-earth, but driven young coach intent on running with the ball and embracing the sort of opportunity which may never come again. It was something he could never have ultimately passed up. Just as the likes of Lee Johnson, Garry Monk or Eddie Howe could not have done when they were propelled into the limelight during earlier episodes of ‘Kindergarten Coach.’
They should serve as inspirations, although it is ultimately about being your own man and avoiding too many imitations.
The real work begins on June 28 when Collins starts work with the seniors at Woodhouse Grove. Respect will have to be earned and the quiet confidence that he and his assistant Martin Drury showed in their first utterances with the press shows that they are prepared to back themselves.
An encouraging enough start. Now for the hard yards.