Well, it’s a New Year but sadly not a new start for me back at my old club as after a discussion with the chairman at Millwall, John Berylson, he informed me that he was going to appoint someone who had recently been sacked in the game.
I know there were some who felt my application was unrealistic but I wanted to answer that by saying I have every belief that I would have been a good manager for the club and still believe I have plenty to offer the game. I understand John’s position and wish nothing but the best for my old club going forward but I have to confess that I have been left a little disillusioned with the state of events in the British game at present.
You can see the pattern of the game throughout; and it’s not always a pretty sight. There was some disbelief when Tim Sherwood was given a contract as the new manager of Spurs but that was a breath of fresh air to me – a young English manager being given an opportunity and he’s certainly matched his talk with performance so far.
Tim’s at the start of his managerial career; there’s plenty of life in me yet and I have plenty of ideas too. I cut my managerial teeth at Chester and people look at the financial restraints placed on the club at the time and judge that situation unfairly – it’s left unnoticed that I did a lot of hard work with the youth system at the club over a long period of time there. It’s a hard world out there and I appreciate that I’ve not been in a managerial role but it’s the same old story – foreign managers getting chances or those that consistently get sacked and bring nothing to their clubs. It’s the only profession where you can get sacked and end up in a better job! I suppose it’s “who you know”, isn’t it.
Nobody is more passionate about Millwall succeeding than I am and as I say, I wish them all the best. As for me, I will continue to look for opportunities to get back into the game and show what I can do. That may be in the UK or it may be in the US – one thing’s for certain, having spent so long in the game in youth development, I’m ready to take that step back up to working with senior professionals again.
It’s a side note, but one that only served to frustrate me a little bit more the other day when I read “More than 1,000 coaches gathered recently at the National Football Centre – St George’s Park – for the FA’s Licensed Coaches Club Conference with ‘developing creativity’ the central theme.” – Gathered to pat each other on the back?
This was in an article on the BBC website talking about the lack of creative players or the lack of encouragement for them and I have to admit that I agree with that. Of course football is about winning but first and foremost it’s a game to be enjoyed and over the years I’ve been concerned with what I’ve seen with regards the coaching of talented individuals. In 2014 the FA have now decided to have a pow wow at St Georges to discuss creativity in the game as their main theme – have they just woke up and smelt the coffee after 25 years of seeing it disappear?!
It seems they want it all; regimented players who are like robots but who are also capable of Brazilian skill and flair. Tell me one thing – where are the coaches? I like Gareth Southgate, he’s passionate about what he does and there would be few better qualified in teaching people how to observe the offside trap but where are the coaches who are going to identify and encourage ingenuity?
With all due respect, I looked at the list of recent FA appointments and none of them fill me with overwhelming optimism. Mike Rigg from Manchester City. Wow. Dan Micciche from MK Dons. Wow. I don’t wish to sound bitter but it can be frustrating to miss out on these opportunities I feel I’ve more than earned with my contribution to the game.
Nobody knows how to teach it but everybody wants to see it, don’t they? Yet there are those that are in a position to help develop but don’t get the opportunities.
Now, flair and creativity is seen as a foreign attribute, not an English one. English players who are capable of something off the cuff have been dismissed as luxury players over the last twenty years, going right back to Matt Le Tissier and Glenn Hoddle. And what are those two guys doing now? They’re television pundits who can’t get back into the game, despite how often Glenn for one has tried.
I suppose it’s a theme that ties in with the above point too – people want positive change but are too scared to actually try the most logical option. And they wonder why English football is always playing catch up.