When Neil Warnock was lured away by the prospect of managing his beloved Sheffield United in the Autumn of 1999, he suggested to Chairman Terry Robinson that the cash strapped club could do worse than appoint Andy Preece and Steve Redmond on a temporary basis to serve as joint player-managers. The fans took to the duo after a good run of results and on 30 December 1999 they were placed in charge until the end of the 1999/2000 season when Preece took up the permanent managerial position with Redmond becoming assistant manager at Gigg Lane.
Working under extremely difficult financial circumstances, with The Shakers facing the prospect of extinction Preece kept the club in League One for two seasons but was unable to prevent the club from relegation to league two in the 2001-02 season when the club entered administration.
Preece remained upbeat and loyal to the club and despite the wage restrictions led them to the play-off semi-final the following season. Defeat was hard to take and the 2003-04 campaign was mixed in the first few months but the Shakers remained in the top half of the table as the manager continued to battle against the difficult financial circumstances at the club.
On December 16th, 2003, it was announced that Preece had left the club 'by mutual consent' and a statement from the board read:
"This action has been necessitated by the need to make a significant reduction in expenditure in this financial year ending May 2004. The board of directors would like to record their gratitude to Andy Preece for his hard work and loyalty throughout the last four difficult years."
After leaving Bury, Andy returned to playing and helped Carlisle United achieve promotion to League Two.
In February 2005, he left Carlisle to manage relegation threatened Worcester City in the Blue Square North. He led them from 18th to 8th position at the end of that season. The following two seasons ended with another two top ten finishes. Andy won three manager of the month awards and the club reached the 2nd round of the FA Cup live on TV. This generated vital revenue for the Worcester resulting in their first operating profit in over twenty years.
In February 2009, Andy joined Northwich Victoria and led them to an incredible run of six consecutive wins at the end of the season. This was achieved despite the uncertainty of the clubs future, after Northwich were locked out of their ground and the players not being paid. A superb achievement was recognized with the award of Blue Square Premier manager of the month for April.
Success continued to follow in the 2009/10 season where Preece led the club to victory over high flying Charlton Athletic in the FA Cup. The result earned the club the LMA/F&C Performance of the week award.
He remained with Northwich until January 2012 before he joined Airbus UK Broughton as their Director of Football. Andy later made history by becoming the first black English manager to coach in European competition by leading his side out to face Ventspils in the Europa League.
He is also a graduate of the LMA's Certificate of Applied Management at Warwick University.