West Bromwich Albion hero Darren Moore will return to club to coach the next generation of players.
The hugely popular defender will make his emotional comeback on September 1 when he starts work as a professional development phase coach.
Moore has been away from The Hawthorns for more than 18 months after leaving to coach at Blackburn following a previous spell with the Baggies academy.
He will coach the under-18s and under-21s and work closely with young Albion players heading out on loan after giving up his most recent job with the PFA.
“I’m grateful to West Brom for inviting me back in – I feel like I’ve come back home,” said the former centre-back, known affectionately to fans as ‘Big Dave’.
“I’m a more experienced coach now and know what’s needed to make that transition from youth level to the first team.
“I had other good job offers but I’ve got a lot of passion for the club and it is almost like unfinished business for me.
“When I left as Under-18s coach to go to work with Michael Appleton at first-team level, at Blackburn, it was not an easy decision for me.
“But I feel like I’m a more rounded coach now, coming back into the Elite environment.
“I’m looking forward to challenging a group of players and getting them ready mentally for first-team level.
“It was a real wrench to leave the PFA but it was West Bromwich Albion calling – and they totally understand because of the links with the club.
“I want to thank Gordon Taylor and all the PFA staff.
“They’re a phenomenal organisation and I was overwhelmed by what they are doing in the game of football.
“My doors are wide open for anything I can help them with in the future.
“They will always get my backing and support.
“I can’t wait to fit into the West Bromwich Albion jigsaw again now and hopefully add to what is already a well-oiled machine.
“I can’t wait to get cracking.”
Moore’s return completes a summer reshuffle at Albion following the departure of under-21 senior professional development phase coach David Oldfield to MK Dons.
James Shan stepped up from the under-18s to replace him, while Aaron Danks was promoted to under-18 lead development phase coach.
Academy manager Mark Harrison said: “We’re delighted Darren is re-joining us.
“He did a fantastic job the last time he was with us.
“I would like to thank the PFA for their help and support in allowing Darren to come back and join us.
“He will have a real focus on the under-21s players who go out on loan.
“He’ll manage their loan programmes, liaise with the clubs and visit the players when they play and train.
“Ultimately, for young players that is the final step – it’s unusual now for players to jump straight from our Under-21s to our first team.
“Darren’s wealth of experience as a player and coach in the game and his contacts will no doubt help these players.
“On a day-to-day basis Darren will be coaching with the Under-21s and Under-18s.
“He will also have a very hands-on role assisting and supporting James and Aaron on matchdays when he is not away focusing on the loan players.
“Darren commands respect, he will be a good mentor to the players and brings positivity to whatever he does.”Subscribe to our Newsletter