Tony Collins, who became the first black manager in the English Football League when he took charge of Rochdale in 1960, has died at the age of 94.

Sir Alex Ferguson says he’s “saddened” and has sent his “deepest condolences to all of his family”, having worked with him when Collins was chief scout at Manchester United.

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The former winger enjoyed a long playing career with clubs including Watford, Norwich, Crystal Palace and Rochdale, where he made history by taking over as manager in 1960.

Collins spent seven years at the helm at Spotland, the highlight of which was in 1962, when Dale finished as runners-up to Norwich in the League Cup final - the only major final the club has ever reached.

“Tony was a true pioneer of the sport. He should be remembered and revered for his achievements on and off the pitch”, said League Managers’ Association chairman Howard Wilkinson.

"He was known throughout the game for his ability to recognise and nurture talent, a skill which enabled him to have a huge impact on the lives of others. Our sincere condolences go out to Tony's family and loved ones."

Sir Alex, as an LMA board member, added: “I was really saddened to hear the news about Tony and send my deepest condolences to all of his family.

“One of my earliest recollections of Tony was of the very impressive job he did as manager of Rochdale, beating Blackburn to reach the 1962 League Cup final. I then got to know Tony personally when I joined Manchester United and Tony was the chief scout.

“As well as being a valuable, knowledgeable and respected scout, he had such an engaging personality and I always enjoyed our conversations.”

Nottingham Forest boss Chris Hughton also paid tribute: "Tony has always been an inspiration to me as I continue alongside my colleagues to campaign to see more diversity in management and coaching across the game. He will be very sorely missed."

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