CRAIG NELSON: The murky world of football can turn nice guys into wrecks
11:00pm Saturday 26th October 2013 in Sport
ONE look at the haunted look on Ian Holloway’s face at his press conference on Wednesday begs the question: who would be a football manager?
This usually bubbly, outspoken character looked like a shell as he resigned from the Crystal Palace hotseat, worn out and at the end of his tether. And the words coming out of his mouth were even more troubling.
He spoke about not having the energy to succeed at the top level and basically told all potential future suitors he had resigned himself to the fact he was just not up to the job.
Once he has had time to take stock and refill the batteries, I would strongly advise him to sink into BT Sports’ comfy sofa, put his slippers on and entertain us all with his wild and wonderful observations.
The problem with football managers is, once they have stood in the dugout they never really seem to feel at home anywhere else.
For every footballer-turned-pundit like Alan Hansen, who famously refused to ever countenance entering football management, there is always a Neil Warnock, who may talk the pundit’s talk, but is only ever a manager-in-waiting. Sir Alex summed up the difference this week in his endless round of interviews pushing his new book.
“I am a football man” he said, when trying to explain his confusion over David Beckham’s desire to court Posh Spice and, in turn, publicity rather than concentrate on his game.
Now Holloway may baulk at comparisons with Sir Alex, especially after this week’s public humiliation, but in my estimation he is a “football man”, whether he likes it or not. Irrespective of his stark admissions, Holloway will no doubt have plenty of offers again in the future. And I am sure it will not take too long before he is tempted to accept one. As an outsider looking in, that puzzles me.
As a football reporter, following Bury home and away, I have been given an insight into this murky world and I can confirm it seems to me to be a nasty business at times – one that nice guys like Holloway should stay well clear of.
But then I would say that the football business has never before needed the nice guys to succeed quite so much.
That is why I was so delighted to hear of David Lee’s interest in the Shakers hotseat.
For my money, the White Hot star and current Wanderers Under-18s coach has to be one of nicest guys in football and I hope his wish to one day become a manager of a Football League club comes true, if not at Bury then somewhere else.
But I have to admit, after seeing the effect it has had on Holloway, I may never understand the attraction.