What made you want to become a manager?
I’d love to say it was all in the plan, and well, maybe it was for the future, but I thought I’d have stopped playing, my wife and family thought I may even have taken a couple of years out, before I thought about it.
In fact I didn’t think about it. I was an Edgware player who’d just finished another season and I was thinking about training over the summer so I could put one over some of the lazy sods in pre-season. The call came and I said I’d think about it. Nearly ten seconds later, I was Player Manager.
How have you developed over your time as a manager?
Is developed the right word? I’ve learnt a lot, which I suppose is development, mainly about players and attitudes, and the fact that most still think they can bullshit me with excuses, obviously forgetting I made the same excuses before some of them were born.
And I still take a bad result home with me and carry it about like baggage for a couple of days, but that’s development. It used to be all week.
What are the greatest challenges for a manager these days? Social media?
No. Social media isn’t an issue at this level. We have a Whatsapp group, players still use twitter and stuff and so do I. My greatest challenge at a club with no money is picking a squad for each away game that includes enough drivers to get the rest of the bloody team there, and when I’ve done that Ill pick another one because someone always drops out.
What other leagues/countries football do you study to develop your coaching.
I said in the book (And sometimes, the dog was busy – it’s available at Amazon, Waterstone, Foyles, online and in store, ebay and even the WFC Megastore wfcmegastore.co.uk) that football is my drug. If snails played in the garden, I’d watch. Doesn’t matter who or where, I watch, because one thing I see I may be able to use to change a game in the future. First choice would be watching my boys though…
What has been your greatest moment as a manager?
A couple of years in, there’s been a few. My first win as a Manager was big, but there have been some games when the world is against you – winning those is massive. Leagues and Cup Finals are yet to come, but they will and I’ll enjoy them too.
What has been the lowest moment?
How long is this article? How about our first FA Cup marathon last year. That hurt. How about my pre-game talk about keeping our heads, no stupid mistakes etc. etc, then I go out, give away a goal and get sent off? Feeling small and isolated didn’t cover it.
I’ve even been low enough to feel like quitting a couple of times….but, you learn. I call people I know and respect, we chat things through and I get a bit of advice. It still hurts and I still feel low, but not alone, that makes a difference and I pick myself up and go again, just as I have as a player for twenty-far-too-many years.
What do you think the biggest issues are affecting non-league football these days?
Communication, team spirit, attitude. There’s a whole new generation of players out there that only see each other at training or at a match. They don’t know each other, they don’t socialise at all, there no ‘part of a team’ about them. Christ, we had an End of the Season do last year after the last home game. presentations were done by half six and all the bloody players had gone. The bar tab was even still open! Don’t get me wrong its not just about the beer, but nothing now gels these boys together. From my days, I still turn out with old teammates in fundraisers and such like and so many of us are still in touch – mates – bit not the young lads these days..
Who is the best player you have played with or coached?
It’s a bit to early to say in my managing/coaching career but there is a stand out in my long playing career. Simon Garner came to Wealdstone in the twilight of his magnificent playing days mainly with Blackburn Rovers in the football league. Garns was the final ingredient in the recipe that would make us champions. Throughout his football league career he was specifically known as a goalscorer but what I noticed most was that he was so unselfish and unusually intelligent for a striker!!! He could see things that others couldn’t and also for a so called ageing striker he was deceptively quick . Also Garns showed an unbelievable desire and will to win that rubbed off on all us other players . To think still to this day that he is Blackburn’s all time top goalscorer .He has stated that the championship he won with us is one of the highlights of his illustrious career as it is the only title he ever won!!A true legend in my eyes and still spoken in a high regard at Wealdstone
Do you think the FA should subside the cost of coaching badges?
They can pay for mine, after all they’ve had a few quid off me in fines over the years. I don’t think that’s a bad idea, but I think much more is needed from the millions the FA turnover season on season at the lower levels. There’s a big disconnect between kids leaving school and wanting to play, and the facilities and clubs available. We really scrape to get expenses together to pay our ‘drivers’ fuel to away games and we don’t have enough for tracksuits and such like, but we have a good core of kids and a few shall we say ‘experienced heads’ that want to play. If the FA helped out with a few quid here and there, we’d have better facilities, maybe even run a Reserves side and give more kids the chance to play and develop. Then we may need a few more coaches and coaching badges….