THERE HAVEN’T been many positives in the career of the erstwhile Piedmonte manager.
For seven disappointing years he plied his trade in the Kenna at the helm of Thieving Magpies, sticking to the same dogged loyalty of picking England players to do a job that foreigners will perform with twice the results for half the transfer fee.
After starting their Kenna career with positive third and second place finishes in the opening two seasons, Thieving Magpies spent five years in steady decline. Supporters were patient, but when January’s nadir came with the manager admitting he couldn’t go out locally, it was only a matter of time before he got the boot.
Taking the reins of new club Piedmonte, it looked like the manager had made the same St George’s flag lapel badge blunders of the dark times at ‘Pies, but Darren Bent and Frank Lampard have come charging out of the blocks, ably assisted by Nathan Dyer and Ricky Lambert.
Even the inclusion of his preferred goalkeeper Rob Green appears a masterstroke. The former England man doesn’t get a sniff of action in goal at Loftus Road, where so many away strikers do.
“I like football the English way. It’s about keeping them honest,” said the Piedmonte manager, making the first team’s only foreigners Rafael and Fabricio Coloccini practice slide tackling on the training ground’s goalposts before sending them to buy runner beans from an untended table in a nearby village and checking they’d left some money.
The manager’s dogmatic approach has already caused ripples at the club, with £17m Dutch playmaker Rafael van der Vaart leaving for the Bundesliga.
“I’ve got the utmost respect for Rafa, but to be fair he was a bit of a luxury player,” said the gaffer, who went on to deny rumours the midfielder had left because the team had been made to watch ‘Escape to Victory’ before every match.
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