Wade Elliott has explained the role that ex-Bristol City manager Steve Cotterill played in getting him started on the coaching journey, as the two reuite this Saturday.
Elliott played under Cotterill at the Robins, as well as Burnley, and together the pair were influential to delivering success at City.
Having worked together at Turf Moor, Cotterill turned to Elliott for experience in an otherwise youthful team, to help get his side over the line.
It would end up with two trophies coming their way to the West Country, as well as Elliott closing the door on his playing career and the start of his coaching career.
After bowing out with a league and Trophy double, he was offered the role as head of the Under-21’s. It wasn’t a role that he had initially thought of and wanted to play on in the Championship, but he
“He didn’t just give me a nudge into coaching, it was a full shove,” Elliott explained to GloucestershireLive.
“I had started doing my badges when I was at Birmingham City, but at Bristol City I was captain and played in 36 league matches that season so I wasn’t considering retirement.
“Steve called me around March time and said he wanted me to coach the 21s the following season, but I wanted to carry on playing because I felt I was still adding value on the pitch and had decent Championship experience.
“It was not the way Steve wanted to go so I had to make a decision, leave and play, or accept the coaching role. That was the first step on the path I am now following.
“I understood how demanding he is of players having been through it and I could explain where he was coming from and why he pushed them the way he did. We were both living in the same hotel when I was on loan and I could always have honest chats with him, but it just reflected where I was in my career. He was still my manager and I had that respect for him, but it was mutual and it worked.”
At 35-years-old, the former midfielder was not getting game time at Birmingham City and joined a youthful City side that were finding their feet in League One.
After suffering relegation from the Championship, City sacked Sean O’Driscoll and in came the former Clarets boss. Cotterill picked the team up from being near the relegation zone, leading them to a 12th-placed finish, helped by the arrival of Elliott in January 2014.
Opening up on his reason behind his move to Ashton Gate, he said to GloucestershireLive: "I was in my mid-30s and I just wanted to play. “Bristol City were in the relegation zone, but I thought they had a good squad and I fancied it rather than sitting around.
“We had a really good end to the season and I enjoyed it, knowing the manager well and it was a great bunch of lads.”
Months later after their season had ended the 2009 play-off winner would find himself captain of City, in what would be one of their most successful seasons.
He would go on to play 42 times across all competitions, getting two goals and two assists in varying positions as helped them to the third tier title, as well as the EFL Trophy.
City defeated Walsall at Wembley Stadium with Elliott coming off the bench in the 90th minute in late March. They would go on to win the title emphatically, defeating Bradford City 6-0 to win the league.
Against the same team they had beaten for the EFL Trophy, Elliott walked out with the trophy, as well as the league title, in what was a campaign that will live long in the memory of all supporters.
He said: "I didn’t know it was going to be my last season, but after lifting the EFL Trophy at Wembley, my last act as a player was walking out at Ashton Gate and lifting the League One trophy.
“It was a brilliant 18 months and Steve was good for me because I played 60 or 70 games and only lost three or four.”
Elliott, who was an understudy to his former Burnley teammate Michael Duff, has since taken up the Robins hot seat after his departure to Barnsley.
For the first time, Elliott will go against Cotterill in the dugout as his own man as his side host Shrewsbury at Whaddon Road, a club that his former boss had been successful at.
It won’t just be Cotterill that will be a familiar face to him, as Aaron Wilbraham, another member of that 2014/15 double-winning side, is the assistant to Cotterill.
Both sides also have on-loan Robins players in their ranks. James Taylor is being borrowed by Cheltenham, whilst Taylor Moore is on loan with the Shrews.