Managers

Andy Lyons asks Nottingham Forest manager Paul Hart about the way young players are brought up in England and the pitfalls of blooding them at an early age

With Howard Wilkinson now departing as England’s technical director, how successful would you say his reforms have been?
In terms of getting clubs to focus on producing young players, I think he’s been pretty successful. The criteria laid down to become an academy, including the fact that all players have to live within an hour and half’s travelling time of the club they join, I think was neccesary. It depends which end of the scale you’re at. If you’re one of the bigger clubs, then I don’t know whether they would see it as restrictive for their recruitment. But for me it’s been the right thing. We had three Notts boys last year represent England at different levels.

Two years after being in charge of England, Peter Taylor is helping out at Peterborough. Barney Ronay investigates his peculiar career and eternal youth

For Peter Taylor, former England coach turned Pet­erborough United hired hand, life really is like a box of chocolates. You just don’t know what you’re go­ing to get next. Apparently cast as a kind of foot­balling Forrest Gump, Taylor’s story is remarkable for the speed of his climb to the heights, and even more so for the vertigo-inducing plummet in his fortunes over the last two years.

Is Terry Venables really any good as a coach? Leeds' new manager is the subject of this month's Head to Head

Yes ~
I met Terry Venables once. He’d brought out a rather bizarre board game called The Man­ager and was trying to sell it as a TV pro­gramme. I was hired to answer the quiz ques­tions on it in front of some BBC big­wigs. They didn’t take it up and I had to spend the morning with Eric Hall, so it wasn’t a suc­cessful day.

Paul Knott pays tribute to the pioneering life and times of Valery Lobanovsky

The image conjured up by Valery Lobanovsky, who died in May aged 63, was of a Slavic cousin of the Lanarkshire coalfields school of man­agers, glowering from the dugout. An astute and inspirational disciplinarian with a fear­some temper, he had plenty in common with Stein and Shankly. But there was also a great intellect behind the harsh exterior. Loban­ov­sky pio­neered the use of scientific methods in coaching. Unlike many of his cerebral peers, the out­come was neither mechanical nor neg­ative. The aim was al­ways to complement the artistry of his play­ers. His teams’ alliance of power with flair prod­uced a style that significantly raised the game’s technical standards.

After a two year stint in the top flight, Ipswich fans have felt the highs and the ultimate lows of what the Premiership has to offer. Is a managerial change is needed to secure an instant return next season?

Yes ~
This season promised so much for Ipswich Town, starting with European football ear­ned through the previous year’s top five fin­ish. The shocking relegation that followed has been blamed on, variously, bad luck, in­juries, too many foreign players and rum­ours of player unrest.

Stephen Wagg reflects on the achievements of the first man to manage England in a World Cup finals and how he cultured a generation of managers

Walter Winterbottom lived until he was nearly 90, so a lot of English football lovers below a certain age have probably never heard of him. Still fewer among the club’s global “fan base” will have known, until this month’s obituaries, that he played for a season in Manchester United’s first team. He coached England when the team was no more than a series of grainy and occasional black and white images on the nation’s TV screens and he was gone before the medium got seriously involved with Eng­lish football.

In the first month of 2002 the turnover of managers has shown no sign of slowing down. Andy Lyons meets Bruce Rioch, whose former clubs Derby and Aston Villa have both contributed to the upheaval this year, and he explains his philosophy and reflects on the growing pressure for quick results

When you first go into a club as a manager, do you generally have an idea of how long it will take to do what you think needs to be done?
One of the first things you talk about at a job interview is the length of the contract. Usually it’s two or three years. It’s rarely a five-year deal. If someone offers you two years and it’s a club in the south and you live in the north you might think twice about having to uproot. I’d like to say to a chairman: “What’s your ambition? Let’s look at what you want to achieve.” It might just be staying in Division One or the Premiership. You don't often go in and get the chance to build a club the way you’d want to.

When it comes to the manager's job, clubs are rarely in doubt whether they should, as Ron Atkinson would say, stick or twist. But would it make sense to hold their nerve when things go wrong? Joe Boyle has gives his opinion on his club Sunderland

Peter Reid’s Sunderland career is in the balance. That’s if you believe internet polls: a recent one had just over 50 per cent of the 5,000 votes demanding Reid’s head. Questioned about the poll, Reid was unruffled. Criticism came with the territory, he said, and people should not forget the degree of success he had brought the club. Internet-savvy he probably isn’t, but there’s noth­ing wrong with his sense of history.

When it comes to the manager's job, clubs are rarely in doubt whether they should, as Ron Atkinson would say, stick or twist. But would it make sense to hold their nerve when things go wrong? Neil Turton gives his opinion on Barnsley

April 26, 1997 – Barnsley were Premier League, in the Promised Land. And Danny Wilson had taken us there. Five years on seems like a lifetime. We are more or less back where we began, flirting with relegation from the First Division, only with a smartly developed stadium, a wage bill which has trebled for the experience and perhaps a bit of an inflated sense of ourselves. And we have had five managers in as many years.

When it comes to the manager's job, clubs are rarely in doubt whether they should, as Ron Atkinson would say, stick or twist. But would it make sense to hold their nerve when things go wrong? Paul Giess gives his opinion on his club Walsall

Twenty-four hours after a struggling Walsall side tamely lay down and died in a local derby at neighbouring West Bromwich on January 20, the club’s owner Jeff Bonser was forced into “the most difficult decision I have ever had to make”. Supporters were left to digest the most difficult news many had ever had to hear as news of Ray Graydon’s dismissal filtered through the local radio and newspapers.

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