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My managers…Kevin Wilson

 

”The best way to attack is defend”

If anybody asks me about my former manager at Northampton Town this is what I remember most. I always have a little chuckle to myself when I think of the time he said it.

It was just before we were to leave the dressing room for the  opener at home to Brentford in the 2000-01 season. The club had just achieved promotion and it was a massive game. We were all focused on the game when sent the whole squad into a fit of the giggles. Obviously he wanted to send out his team with some positive, inspiring words of wisdom but got so wrapped up in it that it came out completely wrong.

It had no bearing on the result but it sure was funny.

There was another instance where he shot himself in the foot. He had a big disagreement with a senior pre after a Saturday match. During this rant he declared that the player would never play for Northampton Town again. He was adamant. Sure enough, a week later with a couple of injuries to the squad he was in the starting line up. Either don’t say it or stick to your guns. That type of action does make players lose a bit of respect I have to say.  

Kevin was a young manager. Ian Atkins had recently left Sixfields. Officially he was player-manager. With the arrival of Marco Gabbiadini and myself in the close season and big Steve Howard meant that he didn’t need to play too much. There was a speight of matches where he brought himself on for 10 minutes or so. I think that had as much to do with the fact that he had scored 199 goals during his career. He tried all sorts to get to 200 but unfortunately he didn’t manage it. What a great scoring achievement nonetheless.

Kevin paid a record transfer fee for me from FC Utrecht. Money was given to him that summer so he broke the transfer record at Sixfields by paying £150,000 for me.

He wasnt a particularly tough disciplinarian. He adopted more of a friendly approach. This was great when we were winning but when we were having a tough time then he didn’t quite have the personality to mix it up and put players out of their comfort zone. He was very lucky to have such a good assistant in Kevan Broadhurst who did most of the important work for him. As soon as Kevan left then things started to go wrong.

There were plenty of days off and the days we were in his training sessions were short and sharp. You will very rarely get players complaining about this because we all like days off when they are on offer.There was very little done in a tactical sense. During our bad run of form towards the end of the 2000-01 season the players did have their say. We felt like we were not working on tactical issues enough and that we were having too many days off. It must have been bad. It didn’t change anything though.

I do feel like he held me back during his reign ay Northampton Town. Millwall offered good money for me, about £325,000 I believe. This would have more than doubled their investment in less than a year. He told the club to ask for £1 million for me. Ridiculous. I was in form at the time but that figure was out of the question.

It would have allowed me to play at a higher level but all Kevin could think about was himself. He told me that if he let me go then he would get stick from the fans which would lead to him getting the sack. Well, as we know he got the sack anyway. There were a couple of other players in that team that could have played at a higher level but he held them back too. James Hunt could have played in The Championship with QPR who offered good money for him but he held him back too.It does leave a bad taste in your mouth.

I enjoyed working under Kevin but when he lost his job we were in a real relegation scrap. Although it is the players who cross the white line it is always the manager who bares the brunt of it all. I think that we lacked direction and results were showing that this was the case.

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