The Mancunion

Britain's biggest student newspaper

The Cowleys: the sibling managerial duo that everyone should know about

Josh Jenkins profiles two of England’s most exciting up-and-coming managers


The 5th tier National League is not a place where one would expect to find two of the most exciting young coaches in the English game — yet brothers Danny and Nicky Cowley are exactly that.

The Cowley Brothers are currently at the helm at Lincoln City, and last night oversaw a stunning victory in front of the BBC cameras against Championship side Ipswich City — a side 59 places above them in the English football pyramid.

Remarkably this is the first time that the brothers have a held a full-time professional position in football. Danny, the manager and the main man in charge, was a PE teacher until he left the job to take up the full-time position at Lincoln City last May.

The club are currently the National League leaders, and are into the FA Cup 4th Round for the first time in 41 years, where they have a cracking tie against Brighton to look forward to — and are also still in the FA Trophy as well. There is no doubt that the Cowley are doing a fantastic job at Sincil Bank.

But this is just another normal success in the coaching career of the two.

Last season they oversaw the third place finish of Braintree Town. A defeat in the playoff semi-final against Grimsby Town stopped them from getting to Wembley.

It was a fantastic achievement that largely went unnoticed. Even the hipster journalists didn’t even pick up on it.

For context, the Essex town of Braintree has a population of little over 42,000 — only 5,000 more than the University of Manchester had in 2015. Even in National League terms they are a tiny club.

They also had one of the smallest budgets out of the 24 teams in the league, and are currently only 4 points above the relegation zone.

Before Braintree the Cowleys performed even greater miracles at lowly Concord Rangers — you know the second biggest team in Canvey Island.

In the 2007-2008 season they guided the club to the Isthmian League Division One North for the first time following promotion. In the spring of 2013 the Cowleys and Concord were celebrating a third promotion in six years to the National League South.

The two men absolutely have the tools to become hugely successful managers in the higher ends of the English game. Already Lincoln have had to reject an approach from Football League side Notts County for the duo’s services.

Lincoln’s dominating performance against Ipswich yesterday will no doubt put the chairmen of teams struggling in their respective league’s on notice.

Yes, I know it may only be non-league football, and yes the higher the two go the harder it will become. But Danny and Nicky Cowley are going places.

The two have also been mightily impressive whenever they have talked about football in the interviews they have conducted during their cup-run. There are those people who just engage you when they talk about their philosophies and ideas on the game.

I really do rate these two brothers and I will even go out on a limb and say that these two will be managing in the championship in the next four years. Trust me they are that good.