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What do you guys think about Gordon Strachan as manager?




Gordon Strachan: Not Given The Credit He Deserves


"Strachan ... prefers the team to play through the midfield, making the most of the sides creative players like Shunsuke Nakamura and Aiden McGeady"


They won the title by 17 points last season and the margin looks set to be even bigger this time round. It really must be easy being the manager of Celtic!


Or at least that is what much of the press would have you believe. Pretty much anyone could take over and guide them to the title. What they seem to forget, however, is the situation the club were in when Gordon Strachan arrived.


They had lost the SPL crown to Rangers on the final day of the previous season and the seemingly irreplaceable Martin O'Neill, who could do no wrong in the eyes of the Hoops supporters had departed. Rangers were installed as title favourites, while Hearts had an exciting new coach and some money to spend.


Celtic meanwhile, suffered an embarrassing 5-0 defeat against Artmedia Bratislava in the Champions League and the knives were well and truly out for Strachan after their 4-4 draw with Motherwell in the opening game of the season.


On top of all that, it was an ageing squad. Alan Thompson, Chris Sutton, John Hartson and Neil Lennon had performed very well for O'Neill, but they were all 30+. Only the latter remains at Parkhead as Strachan made the brave decision to shake things up. He got rid of many players who had helped Celtic achieve so much success before and started to build his own side. Just eighteen months on and the starting eleven is almost unrecognisable from the team that played under Aston Villa's current boss.


Their style of play is also very different. O'Neill put a lot of emphasis on discipline, keeping things tight and getting the ball to Hartson as quickly as possible. Strachan on the other hand prefers the team to play through the midfield, making the most of the sides creative players like Shunsuke Nakamura and Aiden McGeady.


Playing more open, attractive football, Celtic recovered from their poor start under Strachan and after over taking Hearts, maintained their grip at the top with ease. At the start of this campaign, the arrival of Paul Le Guen was supposed to tip the balance in favour of Rangers. After-all, he was seen as one of the brightest young managers in the game and was even being tipped as a potential successor to Sir Alex Ferguson. He flopped though, underlining the fact that it is not necessarily so easy for a so called 'top class foreign manager' to go to Scotland and achieve immediate success.


There is no doubt that Rangers and to a lesser extent Hearts, have disappointed over the last year and a half, but credit should go to Celtic and their manager for their remarkable consistency. They have gone from strength to strength and were able to qualify for the knockout stages of the Champions League for the first time; an achievement even O'Neill couldn't manage.


What's more, it has been done on a tight budget. Signings like Jan Vennegoor of Hesselink and Shunsuke Nakamura have proved to be real bargains. Wherever he has been during his managerial career, the little man from Edinburgh has been given little money to spend, yet usually done a good job.


In 2001/02 Southampton lost six of their first eight games and their survival chances were already being written off, then in the came Strachan and things quickly turned around. They ended that season in 11th and finished eighth the following year. They also reached the FA Cup Final for the first time since 1976. The wheels started to come off at St Mary's only after he had gone.


His one bad season in management came in 2000/01, when Coventry were relegated. He was sacked not long after. The board had apparently forgotten about the previous three years, in which he kept them up on a shoestring. Who knows where the club would be now, if they hadn't acted so hastily in getting rid of him?


The decision has proved to be a blessing in disguise for the former Man United player. He has gone on to bigger and better things. The next challenge is AC Milan. It will be difficult, but he has installed a winning mentality in to his players and they are confident of success. If they can overcome the Italian giants, then the manager just might start getting some of the credit he deserves.


Matthew Hernon

16 February 2007

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Southampton manager Gordon Strachan on Wayne Rooney

Its an incredible rise to stardom. At 17 you're more likely to get a

call from Michael Jackson than Sven Goran Eriksson.


Reporter: Gordon, Do you think James Beattie deserves to be in the

England squad?

Strachan: I dont care, I'm Scottish


Reporter: "Gordon, can we have a quick word please?"

Strachan: "Velocity" [walks off]


Reporter: Welcome to Southampton Football Club. Do you think you are

the right man to turn things around?

Strachan: No. I was asked if I thought I was the right man for the job

and I said, "No, I think they should have got George Graham because

I'm useless."


Reporter: Is that your best start to a season?

Strachan: Well I've still got a job so it's far better than the

Coventry one, that's for sure.


Reporter: Are you getting where you want to be with this team?

Strachan: We're not doing bad. What do you expect us to be like? We

were eighth in the league last year, in the cup final and we got into

Europe. I don't know where you expect me to get to. Do you expect us

to win the Champions League?


Reporter: Gordon, you must be delighted with that result?

Strachan: You're spot on! You can read me like a book.


Strachan: I've got more important things to think about. I've got a

yogurt to finish by today, the expiry date is today. That can be my

priority rather than Agustin Delgado.


Reporter: This might sound like a daft question, but you'll be happy

to get your first win under your belt, won't you?

Strachan: You're right. It is a daft question. I'm not even going to

bother answering that one. It is a daft question, you're spot on there.


Reporter: Bang, there goes your unbeaten run. Can you take it?

Strachan: No, I'm just going to crumble like a wreck. I'll go home,

become an alcoholic and maybe! jump of a bridge. Umm, I think I can

take it, yeah.


Reporter: There's no negative vibes or negative feelings here?

Strachan: Apart from yourself, we're all quite positive round here.

I'm going to whack you over the head with a big stick, down negative man,



Reporter: where will Marion Pahars fit into the team line-up?

Strachan: Not telling you! It's a secret. >


Reporter: You don't take losing lightly, do you Gordon?

Strachan: I don't take stupid comments lightly either.


Reporter: So, Gordon, in what areas do you think Middlesbrough were

better than you today?

Strachan: What areas? Mainly that big green one out there..

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Guest Knightrider

The SPL is to a manager's CV what the League Cup is or winning the playoff final - means fuck all as anyone can win such trophies. I like Strachan though and think he's a better manager than most give him credit for, however he is average to decent and nowt more. Roeder would win the SPL with Celtic, and such feats are not a barometer of a manager's credentials, now relegation...

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