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Thursday, November 23, 2006

Les Reed: Just the Sort of Person You Need

Three diverse articles appeared in the Guardian Sports pages on Saturday. One argueing that you shouldn't promote a Number 2 into a Number 1, entitled "The Best No.2's Know their place and never become No.1's" and therefore implying that Les Reed's promotion was a mistake.

Of course, it harps on about Liverpools boot camp and says that promotions from within are more likely to work if they are made from a position of strength, Bob Paisley being the outstanding example. Paisley took over at Liverpool after Bill Shankly's retirement and when Paisley retired Joe Fagan, another bootroom man, bridged the gap and won a European Cup before Kenny Dalglish took over.

The article then cites the example of the struggling Steve McClaren but the general gist of the article was that Charlton were wrong to promote Les Reed.

The other article was entitled "Les Reed: Just the Sort of Person You Need", and was a series of comments on the attributes of Les Reed from people and players that have worked with him in the past. Presumably it was meant as a gentle lift-me-up after the previous article.

Not surprisingly, but nevertheless a bit worrying, the most praise-worthy opinion was the paragraph by Andrew Mills, which does appear to have been prepared weeks ago as you would for an obituary, "He brings a wealth of knowledge and education and is beyond reproach. His tactical know-how, experience and preparation are second to none. I think Les is a fantastic fit with the board when he arrived and remains so in stepping up to head coach ( no capitals). Les will excel in his use of tactics to prepare the team to achieve what we all want"

Ex FA Technical Director before Reed, Howard Wilkinson and Graham Taylor, England coach when Reed was at the FA, also chimed in with "doesn't panic, calm under pressue, will do very well at Charlton, very knowledgeable, but quiet".

Two ex-players gave their impressions, Mark Bright and Mark Kinsella. Kinsella was, of course, the captain when we meet Sunderland at Wembley and was the most impressed of the two. He went on to explain how, before the Sunderland Play-off , Reed had prepared a Wembley-size pitch to show the players what to expect. And his preparation was always very detailed. The players were told their opponents date of birth (!) and weight, and all their strengths and weaknesses. Very thorough and also very polite.

Mark Bright was not so impressed. Reed, in those days anyway, was very "by the book", with specific structured coaching for the next match. But he thought he was too rigid in his training and the sessions were too long.

And just to round off the page, a few quotations were given from the Les Reed book on Coaching, all out of context, and with some of those stupid interpretions that the Guardian are so good at, given for each one. Just to imply that it's all nonsence.

So, first a suggestion that its not going to work under Reed, then a bit of a life-me-up with a few positive quotes, then a few silly remarks to put us back in our place. It was all a bit silly really, a left-wing newspaper having a dig at a little club at the bottom of the Premiership struggling to get out of a mess.

Obviously supporting, or even encouraging, the underdog doesn't form a part of the Guardian philosophy anymore.

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