Meet the longest-serving current manager in world football, Bacup Borough boss Brent Peters

Brent Peters Bacup Borough
(Image credit: Steve Brown, YouTube)

In the cut-throat world of football management, managing one club for 25 games is practically an achievement. 

But for Brent Peters, boss of Bacup Borough in the North West Counties League First Division North, that’s barely a drop in the water. He’s been at the 10th-tier side for a whopping 25 years. 

Peters is now believed to hold the record for the longest-serving current manager in world football. 

“There was another coach [Neil Cugley], at Folkestone, who’d been in a job longer than me,” Peters exclusively tells FourFourTwo. “But he recently stepped down. That put me at number one.” 

Peters took charge of Bacup back in September 1997, after serving as former Chelsea and England striker Kerry Dixon’s assistant manager at Doncaster Rovers. According to Peters, he was offered the Borough job down the pub, and only promised the club’s then-owner to steady the ship until the end of that season. 

“I was an ambitious manager and was looking to make my way up the ladder, so I didn’t intend on staying long,” Peters insists. “The club was a shambles when I arrived – they were in financial ruin; they couldn’t pay the rent on their ground and hadn’t won in 11 matches.” 

Peters quickly set about turning things around. He invested his own money to prevent Bacup, a club founded in 1879, from sliding into administration, before leading them to the safety of mid-table. 

Fortunately for the non-league side, the offers Peters received weren’t to his liking. He decided to stay a little longer and, suddenly, a quarter of a century had passed and he’d become part of the furniture. 

“One of the reasons I’ve lasted so long is that I am a manager, not a coach,” Peters tells FFT. “It’s important to make that distinction. So many clubs make errors in giving people roles they aren’t suited to. I’m a people person, a motivator. Some people even jokingly refer to me as ‘Fergie’ around here!” 

Peters has even managed his share of treble winners, with former Manchester United defender David May turning out for Borough for two seasons, between 2004 and 2006. 

“He lives locally and I twisted his arm and got him to come down,” laughs Peters. “He didn’t get any special treatment, though. I took him, same as the others, off if he wasn’t playing well enough.” 

During Peters’ tenure, Bacup have won one league title and two cups, reaching another three finals. That might not sound that impressive, but the man some call Mr Non-League measures his impact in other ways. 

“My biggest achievement is waking up every day and knowing that Bacup is alive and well,” he explains. “So many local clubs have folded down the years but we’re still here and we’re in a healthy place.” 

What advice would he give to any young managers starting out?

“It’s not the managers that need advising, it’s the owners and chairmen,” he insists. “I’ve only been here so long because I’ve had a chairman who trusts me to solve problems instead of sacking me at the first sign of danger. Young coaches need time to get things right.” 

Now 65, Peters is approaching national retirement age in the UK, but that doesn’t mean he’ll be stepping away anytime soon. 

“That’s not even a consideration for me at this point,” he states. “I still get just as excited as I ever did on matchdays. When that feeling stops, so will I.”

Thank you for reading 5 articles this month* Join now for unlimited access

Enjoy your first month for just £1 / $1 / €1

*Read 5 free articles per month without a subscription

Join now for unlimited access

Try first month for just £1 / $1 / €1

Ed McCambridge
Staff Writer

Ed is a staff writer at FourFourTwo, working across the magazine and website. A German speaker, he’s been working as a football reporter in Berlin since 2015, predominantly covering the Bundesliga and Germany's national team. Favourite FFT features include an exclusive interview with Jude Bellingham following the youngster’s move to Borussia Dortmund in 2020, a history of the Berlin Derby since the fall of the Wall and a celebration of Kevin Keegan’s playing career.