European glory at long last for firefighter Rob Tonks

Rob Tonks with European trophiesRob Tonks with European trophies
Rob Tonks with European trophies
​ROB Tonks has shown England football manager Gareth Southgate the way to go this summer by winning the Euros.

Rob, from Swinton, is assistant manager of the UK Fire Services team which has just won the European Firefighters Nations Cup in France.

The UK side, picked from the England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland teams, came through the league stage and then bumped out the host nation in the semi-final before beating Germany 1-0 in the final.

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And for Rob, a watch manager at Dearne Fire Station, it made up for many years of hurt at the tournament as a player.

The championsThe champions
The champions

He said: “I have had quite a bit of bad luck in the Euros because at the first one in Ireland and the second one in Holland we got beat in the final by Germany both times on penalties.

“At the next one in Romania we lost in the semis there and the same again in Germany so now, on the other side as assistant manager, we’ve managed to win the tournament.

“As a UK management we have all gone through the disappointment as players of losing a final and after the all the hard work that goes into it to build it and plan it, to finally win one is a relief.”

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Apart from his UK duties, Rob (48) has been manager of the England fire team for nine years. He also brings experience to the roles.

Rob Tonks with (left) assistant manager Iain Mcadam and (centre) manager Martin Feenie.Rob Tonks with (left) assistant manager Iain Mcadam and (centre) manager Martin Feenie.
Rob Tonks with (left) assistant manager Iain Mcadam and (centre) manager Martin Feenie.

“I’ve played football since I was a kid,” he explained. “John Breckin took me to Sheffield United when I was ten because he was my coach at Rotherham Boys. John also took me to Rotherham United when he moved. I got released at 15 and I played non-league from 17.

“I had Emley for 12 or 13 years when they had the FA Cup run and played at West Ham. I also played with Jamie Vardy at Stocksbridge.”

Rob continues to work in non-league and will be at Frickley Athletic as assistant boss next season.

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Alongside his time with the UK team, he oversees the England team for annual games against the Army, RAF, Navy, Royal Marines and the fire service teams of Wales and Scotland.

Added Rob: “I first joined the Fire Service in 2001 and played for the England side and the UK sides, so to finally win the Euros is a great feeling.”