Duns boss Oliver picks up coach of year award

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BERWICK’s Neil Oliver, manager of East of Scotland League side Duns, has been named coach of the year by Berwickshire Sports Council.

Oliver received his award at a ceremony held in the Volunteer Hall, Duns, on Friday evening, when the region’s top sportsmen and women were honoured.

He is the man responsible for bringing East of Scotland League football back to the town of Duns after an absence of 36 years.

Oliver took up the manager’s post at Duns in 2009 and since his appointment the club has never looked back.

They won the Border Amateur League Division A title in his first year as boss and was one of those behind the successful application to join the East of Scotland League in season 2010/11.

Many critics wondered if the club was ready for East of Scotland League football but Oliver, and his assistant Stevie Lennon, proved them all wrong.

Duns finished fifth in the First Division and reached the South Challenge Cup final in their debut season, a remarkable achievement by anyone’s standards.

Oliver also enjoyed a very successful playing career. He joined Berwick Rangers at the age of 18 and had three seasons there before moving on to Blackburn Rovers.

After a successful spell at Blackburn he had eight years at Falkirk and then played for Hamilton Academical, Clydebank, Berwick again and East Fife with whom he ended his playing career.

He held the post of assistant at Berwick Rangers when Sandy Clark was in charge and has been tipped as a future manager of the club. He was linked with the job when Jimmy Crease departed earlier this year, before Ian Little was appointed.