“Future England coach” James Ford leaves York for Wakefield

James Gordon
James Ford

Picture by Allan McKenzie/SWpix.com

York have confirmed that head coach James Ford is leaving the club to take up an assistant coach role at Wakefield.

Ford, 40, has been with the club for more than 10 years, initially joining as a player in 2011.

With a win rate of 62% in charge, he now departs to assist new Wakefield coach Mark Applegarth in Super League.

Applegarth said: “Myself and James Ford grew up coaching together at Wakefield College and he’s gone on to do a brilliant job at York.

“He compliments me really well in terms of our strengths and I think he’ll be a great addition to the group. He’s a real technical coach, good at detailing, speaks well in front of the group and is a real thinker of the game.

“I’m really delighted to have him on board and think he will be a quality addition.”

Ford bids farewell to York

Ford took over as head coach in 2015 and helped guide the Knights to promotion as champions in 2018.

They reached the play-offs in 2019 and in 2022, when they upset Halifax for the club’s first ever Championship play-off victory.

Ford told the club’s official website: “There’s no real standout reason as to why I’ve decided to leave the Club. The relationship I have with Clint is strong and I believe in the direction he’s taking it. I think his leadership is certainly going to help the Club take that next step.

“The relationship between everyone at the Club is really strong and, in some ways, I’m really sad to be leaving.

“But every coach’s journey at a club comes to an end. Players and coaches come and go but the Club is still there. It’s in safe hands and I am desperate to see York continue improving and become a Super League club in the very near future.

“Thank you very much for your support over the last eight seasons. It’s been an absolute pleasure.”

Future England coach?

The former Castleford, Featherstone, Sheffield and Widnes player leaves York with a glowing reference from club chairman Clint Goodchild.

Goodchild added: “First of all, I would like to thank James for his efforts as Head Coach at the Club. He has been a figure of stability at the Knights and has worked through some incredibly tough periods, especially in the early part of his Head Coaching career.

“I personally see James Ford as a future Head Coach of the England national side and I believe that this is simply the next step on that journey for him. Everyone at the club is behind him in this regard.

“James leaves with our best wishes and he will always be welcome back at the Knights.”

York are expected to name a replacement for Ford by the end of the month.

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