For a minute, I thought we’d appointed Hugh Cornwall of the Stranglers. No more heroes? Not if Steve Bruce has his way.
Colin Calderwood is the latest addition to Steve Bruce’s backroom staff, joining as Assistant Manager following a two-year stint as Chris Hughton’s number two at Brighton and Hove Albion. Bruce made light of the situation when the two sides met at the AMEX Stadium on Friday. Did he get his glass of wine afterwards? Maybe we’ll find out this week.
Refreshingly, the two clubs seem to have reached an agreement quickly and without a media spat, as is so often the case with modern football. Indeed, Calderwood left with the best wishes of the Seagulls ringing in his ears.
It seems the primary motivation was to be closer to his family who hadn’t moved to the south coast when he took the Brighton job. It was the third time Calderwood had worked with Hughton following spells on his staff at Newcastle United and Birmingham City previously.
Welcome back Colin.
On his own, Calderwood’s managerial career hasn’t been a resounding success. Whilst Northampton thrived for a while, his 2½ years at the City Ground aren’t remembered with any great fondness beyond the fact that it wasn’t under the current owner’s tenure. He got them to the play-offs, experience he and Bruce have in common.
His greatest successes and where he has built an outstanding reputation, is as a No. 2. Some people are carved that way – Don Howe, for example, had a tremendous career with Arsenal and England as head coach / assistant manager but at West Brom and Galatasaray he didn’t make the grade as manager. There are external factors at play as well; club turmoil, lack of quality in the playing staff, etc. It’s why football managers are re-hired time and again, even if they make a pig’s ear of a job.
Calderwood though, is coming is an assistant and has experience at Newcastle, Birmingham and Brighton. Similar clubs to us at the time in terms stature and position. Except Birmingham and they had barely climbed out of the swamp when Calderwood had the misfortune to pitch up there.
No wonder Chris Hughton took him everywhere he went;
“Sorry, Col, I know I told you it was a great job but…”
“But, it’s Birmingham City, Chris. Birmingham…”
“I know Col. I’ll make it up to you next time, I promise.”
Bruce has faith in the man and it’s got to be his choice, irrespective of what the board think. Which is the same as him, by all accounts. But the manager can’t go into a role with one hand tied behind his back. It’s like signing players. Let someone else do the negotiating so long as Bruce has given them shopping list.
It’s so straightforward, it’s a wonder anyone gets it wrong.
With results and performances picking up following the change of manager, hopefully appointing his backroom staff will be the next step on the road to promotion. The Play-Off places are just four points away and once embedded into that circus, we can start to look upward at the automatic spots.
A new optimism is in the air and the chance to build on it. Let’s take it up a level this weekend against Cardiff City.