Martin Drury will leave his role as Bradford City AFC Academy head of coaching and player development, having accepted a position at Manchester United from next month.
Drury, who last season led City’s under-19s side to a first EFL Youth Alliance league title in almost a decade, will depart on the back of seven years at the club.
During this time, he took charge of City’s youth side, while also serving spells in the first-team setup over the course of his tenure.
He will join the Premier League outfit’s category-one academy in a lead coach position.
Drury said: “I would like to start by saying how grateful I am for the opportunities I have been provided here, over the past seven years, and thank everyone past and present who I have had the pleasure of working with.
“I have met some great people and built strong relationships which I am confident will last a long time. To say it was a difficult decision to leave this club would be an understatement.
“This is a really forward-thinking academy with an array of talented and humble young players being guided by good people who understand the values of the club, and what it takes to represent Bradford City.
“Away from the grass, this is the best working environment I have seen at the club since my time here began, and there are lots of people to thank for that.
“Ryan Sparks deserves huge credit. He has really shown how passionate he is about improvement. He and everyone else behind the scenes are dong a great job in moving the club forward.
“It is really bittersweet to be moving on at a time where the club has a great chance of achieving success this season. A great culture has been set, and the club is certainly moving in the right direction.
“From a personal perspective, I am humbled to have been offered a new and exciting opportunity to progress at Manchester United.
“I look forward to working with the outstanding staff there and will work tirelessly to add value to what is a world-class academy, with a record in player and coach development that is unrivalled.
“Finally, I would like to personally thank academy manager Neil Matthews, specifically.
“Neil has offered me fantastic support over a number of years, always showing a belief in me and making me feel valued.
“Over the past 18 months, he has provided me with the platform to lead and express myself - both as a coach and a man. I feel I have been able to be authentic and this has drawn the best from me.
“Neil is a wonderfully calm man in and amongst the chaos of football, who has become a friend as well as a professional colleague. I am sure our relationship will continue for many years to come.
“My sincere thanks also go to everyone else I have had the pleasure of working with during my time here, and I wish the club nothing but success for the future.”
City’s academy manager, Neil Matthews, said: “While it is disappointing for the academy to see Martin moving on, I am really pleased for him as an individual. We never want to stand in the way of anyone looking to progress their career, and Martin leaves with our very best wishes.
“We have developed a great relationship over the past few years, and I have been able to place my trust in him to deliver a quality coaching environment within our academy. He has done a first-class job and left a very good impression on all those who have worked with him.
“Martin, as he will admit himself, has really evolved over the past few years. He has continued to develop in many ways - in a number of different challenges and environments - not just coaching on the field, but also off the pitch in the way he is with everyone.
“He has an awful lot to offer, and I am sure he will make a success of his new role. He has always wanted to learn and better himself for the benefit of everyone.
“Last season went particularly well, with the success of the under-19s team and the number of players he helped secure professional contracts, and he leaves the club on a really positive note.
“There are not many people who work harder or are more committed than Martin. I believe he has a very bright future in the game, and we all wish him the very best in his future roles.”
Chief executive officer Ryan Sparks added: “On behalf of the club, I would like to wish Martin and his family the very best for the future.
“It is fair to say Martin leaves our academy in a far better place than he found it, and has contributed significantly towards its growth and development over the past few years.
“Last season’s EFL Youth Alliance triumph came as a result of years of hard work, which Martin played a key role in. With so many of those players graduating from our academy and earning professional contracts, the pathway he and his colleagues have helped create is clear to see.
“While it is disappointing to see him leave, the fact one of the biggest sporting organisations on the planet has head-hunted him speaks volumes.
“I am sure he will approach his new role with the same attitude and endeavour, and will be just as successful at category-one level.”
Bradford City AFC would like to place on record its thanks to Martin Drury for his service at the club, and wish him the very best for the future.