Home > Football > Gordon Strachan. The bigger picture.

Gordon Strachan. The bigger picture.

As the news that Gordon Strachan left Middlesbrough filtered through I thought that I would post my thoughts and experiences of the legend that he is.

As we see so often with great players who become managers, our lasting memories are of their most recent managerial job. Ruud Gullit is a prime example of this. A truly fantastic player but not a great managerial career. This can cause us to forget just how good a player he was.

But this case is different. Not only was Strachan such an amazing player, he has gone on to be a great manager too. He has managed at the very top-level in the Champions League with Celtic. He took Southampton to the FA Cup Final. I class Celtic’s achievements in The Champions League and his time at Southampton as over achievements. Since his departure from these clubs, neither have matched those levels.

As an 18 year-old starting out in the game back in the early 90’s I remember him for his immense passion and enthusiasm for the game. He was at the end of an awesome career and he was as fit as a fiddle. Howard Wilkinson bought David Rocastle for big money to replace the ageing Strachan but could not get a game due to the resurgence of the great man. He was always keen for the youngsters at Leeds to adopt his high standards. If these were not attained then you would hear about it.

After he had finished his playing career he decided to play and coach the Leeds United reserve team for a whole season. I was in that reserve team for the most part and he was a pleasure to play with and be taught by. He had amassed hundreds of matches for club and country and he wanted to help the club by taking the reserves. He could so easily have done this from the sidelines, offering his words of wisdom but he went one better than that and played every game. And he was the best player on the pitch for most of them. What a great example for any youngster.

I didn’t fully appreciate the huge advantage I had to be taught by somebody of Strachan’s stature in the game. To play for that length of time at such a high level does not happen often.

So why has his time at The Riverside not been an equal success ? I don’t think it is anything you can put your finger on. Middlesbrough are a club in decline. Money is tight. These are tough circumstances for any manager. I feel like the right players were recruited given that the wage bill was enormous and was in need of drastic reductions.

Some say that his attitude to the media did not help. Well, if you ask a silly question then you get a silly answer. He doesn’t need to justify his standing in the game to the media.

So who do Middlesbrough turn to now ? The early contender is Tony Mowbray. Are Middlesbrough suggesting that an ex-player can change the fortunes for their club ? Are these the right credentials for him to be recruited. I am a big fan of Mowbray’s football philosophies but he got hounded at Celtic. How fickle we all are.

I hope to see Gordon Strachan back in some sort of role within the game. He has been too good as player and manager for this to be the end of the road.

The mark of the man has been revealed that he walked away without a penny of compensation. Those stories do not grow on trees.

I will choose to think of Gordon Strachan for all of the good that he has done in the game and I hope that you do too.

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Categories: Football
  1. Vic Petit
    October 19, 2010 at 3:08 pm

    Cracking post that one Jamie. Wee Gordon is a legend and it’s nice to read those comments from a fellow pro who had the luck to play and be coached by him.

  2. Dave Duncan
    October 19, 2010 at 6:43 pm

    Enjoyed reading your posts Jamie lad! Good to know your OK and am amazed at all the clubs you played for. I will always remember when you scored a bicycle kick against Man Utd in the FA Youth cup final 2nd leg at Elland Rd after Paul Scholes had put them ahead from the penalty spot in front of a packed cop, then had the bottle to flick the ‘V’s at us all ha ha. Good luck mate and look forward to reading more of your stories.

  3. October 20, 2010 at 9:54 am

    Nice post Jamie. As a Boro fan, I felt obliged to post a response: http://www.afansview.co.uk/a-response-about-wee-gordy/

    • October 20, 2010 at 10:23 am

      Hi Scott

      Thank you for your reply. I will retweet your thoughts. It is great to get the views of any fans so I take on board your comments.

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