Football: The Gaffer Tapes - Now I'm the only Premiership manager with a Ferrari

The first week in any new job is a tough one and football management is no different. I've had to quickly get a feel of the office politics - who's got the chairman's ear? Who's the club scapegoat? Who's got the car park place I want? What's the home phone number of the attractive young temp in the club shop? I'm sure Kevin Keegan is thinking the same thoughts this morning - well, apart from the last one.

Like him I had to do some hard negotiating with the chairman. After some expensive past mistakes Sir Hirem Firem wanted me to buy British but I insisted foreign was the only answer. I had my eye on an Italian purchase, quick with a dramatic change of pace, turned well, took corners like a dream. I even threatened to resign. "It's not like it was in the prospectus," I told him. It worked. Now I'm the only Premiership manager with a Ferrari.

Then there was choosing my title, "Manager" is so passe. I pondered "Director of Football but there's plenty of them now, "Head Coach" is too American while Kev's taken "Chief Operations Officer". So I've settled on "Football Kommissar". The press boys love it, just love it, though I didn't understand why some broadsheets suggested it would have been more appropriate if we wore red not blue.

Dealing with the players was a bit more difficult. I let my assistant, Kit Mann, take training on the first day while I watched from my office window. You see more when they can't see you. Besides, I had to justify swapping offices with the secretary - his had a south facing aspect and a built-in mini-bar.

The boys looked keen but I was bit worried by the lack of respect the senior players showed Kit. That's the problem with having a man who only ever played Sunday League football as your No 2 - the advantage is there is no chance of the chairman ever offering him your job.

The real shock was afterwards. I was just getting the Subbuteo out, to plan tactics you understand, when Duane Spice knocked on the door. "How much would you fine me if I missed training tomorrow," he said. "Two weeks wages," I replied (you have to crack down early on).

"Will a cheque do?" he said pulling out his calfskin wallet. "I've got a modelling shoot with Giorgio Armani in London that's worth three times as much."

Naturally I wasn't putting up with that. He didn't get out of the office until he had promised to bring back a lime green suit.

What else have we done. Ah, that first match. Well, as I told the press afterwards, I was delighted with Ego Massive's goal, it showed both his quality and the benefits of the time we'd spent together before the game. I felt the club's first goal of the season would have been a very promising start to the Gaffer Era at the Old Cornfield.

Unfortunately, I was forced to add that the 5-1 defeat should really be viewed as the last game of Big Mick's reign, not the first of mine as I had not had time to work on the rest of the side.

The Gaffer Years really began in midweek with the very encouraging 1- 0 win over Third Division Fallover Athletic in the Coca-Cola Cup. I feel, with the top clubs uninterested, that we could go a long way in this competition. I said to the chairman, keep March 29 free except for booking a hotel near Wembley.

At least that calmed him down. He had kept reminding me that only last week, in fact he said pointedly, "just before I appointed you", I had told him there was no way Kevin Keegan could ever be persuaded back into the game.

After that it was a relief to leave Kit in charge of the boys today as I'm off on a scouting mission in Europe. Don't tell the press but I'm in Spain to watch Real Betis play Oviedo. Accommodation's been a problem, the nearest hotel I can get is a couple of hours away at a golf complex called Valderrama. Still, I expect I'll find something to do.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Voices
Homeless Veterans charity auction: Cook with Angela Hartnett and Neil Borthwick at Merchants Tavern
charity appealTime is running out to secure your favourite lot as our auction closes at 2pm tomorrow
Arts and Entertainment
J Jefferson Farjeon at home in 1953
booksBooksellers say readers are turning away from modern thrillers and back to golden age of crime writing
Sport
Amir Khan is engaged in a broader battle than attempting to win a fight with Floyd Mayweather
boxing Exclusive: Amir Khan reveals plans to travel to Pakistan
News
Stacey Dooley was the only woman to be nominated in last month’s Grierson awards
mediaClare Balding and Davina McCall among those overlooked for Grierson awards
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA year of political gossip, levity and intrigue from the sharpest pen in Westminster
Voices
Joseph Kynaston Reeves arguing with Russell Brand outside the RBS’s London offices on Friday
voicesDJ Taylor: The great tradition of St Paul and Zola reached its nadir with a worker's rant to Russell Brand
News
Twitchers see things differently, depending on their gender
scienceNew study shows that birdwatching men have a lot in common with their feathered friends...
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Caroline Flack became the tenth winner of Strictly Come Dancing
tvReview: 'Absolutely phenomenal' Xtra Factor presenter wins Strictly Come Dancing final
Life and Style
A still from the 1939 film version of Margaret Mitchell's 'Gone with the Wind'
life
News
Xander van der Burgt, at the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew
scienceA Kew Gardens botanist has found 25 new large tree species - and he's sure there are more out there
Arts and Entertainment
British actor Idris Elba is also a DJ and rapper who played Ibiza last summer
film
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Education

Opilio Recruitment: Product Owner

£40k - 45k per year + Benefits: Opilio Recruitment: We are currently recruit...

Opilio Recruitment: Product Development Manager

£40k - 45k per year + Benefits: Opilio Recruitment: We are currently recruit...

Recruitment Genius: Qualified Nursery Practitioner - Sevenoaks

£15000 - £16000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: We currently have an opportunit...

Recruitment Genius: Room Leader - Nursery

£17000 - £18000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: We currently have an opportunit...

Day In a Page

The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

Sony suffered a chorus of disapproval after it withdrew 'The Interview', but it's not too late for it to take a stand, says Joan Smith
From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?

Panto dames: before and after

From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?
Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Booksellers say readers are turning away from dark modern thrillers and back to the golden age of crime writing
Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best,' says founder of JustGiving

Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best'

Ten million of us have used the JustGiving website to donate to good causes. Its co-founder says that being dynamic is as important as being kind
The botanist who hunts for giant trees at Kew Gardens

The man who hunts giants

A Kew Gardens botanist has found 25 new large tree species - and he's sure there are more out there
The 12 ways of Christmas: Spare a thought for those who will be working to keep others safe during the festive season

The 12 ways of Christmas

We speak to a dozen people who will be working to keep others safe, happy and healthy over the holidays
Birdwatching men have a lot in common with their feathered friends, new study shows

The male exhibits strange behaviour

A new study shows that birdwatching men have a lot in common with their feathered friends...
Diaries of Evelyn Waugh, Virginia Woolf and Noël Coward reveal how they coped with the December blues

Famous diaries: Christmas week in history

Noël Coward parties into the night, Alan Clark bemoans the cost of servants, Evelyn Waugh ponders his drinking…
From noble to narky, the fall of the open letter

From noble to narky, the fall of the open letter

The great tradition of St Paul and Zola reached its nadir with a hungry worker's rant to Russell Brand, says DJ Taylor
A Christmas ghost story by Alison Moore: A prodigal daughter has a breakthrough

A Christmas ghost story by Alison Moore

The story was published earlier this month in 'Poor Souls' Light: Seven Curious Tales'
Marian Keyes: The author on her pre-approved Christmas, true love's parking implications and living in the moment

Marian Keyes

The author on her pre-approved Christmas, true love's parking implications and living in the moment
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef creates an Italian-inspired fish feast for Christmas Eve

Bill Granger's Christmas Eve fish feast

Bill's Italian friends introduced him to the Roman Catholic custom of a lavish fish supper on Christmas Eve. Here, he gives the tradition his own spin…
Liverpool vs Arsenal: Brendan Rodgers is fighting for his reputation

Rodgers fights for his reputation

Liverpool manager tries to stay on his feet despite waves of criticism
Amir Khan: 'The Taliban can threaten me but I must speak out... innocent kids, killed over nothing. It’s sick in the mind'

Amir Khan attacks the Taliban

'They can threaten me but I must speak out... innocent kids, killed over nothing. It’s sick in the mind'
Michael Calvin: Sepp Blatter is my man of the year in sport. Bring on 2015, quick

Michael Calvin's Last Word

Sepp Blatter is my man of the year in sport. Bring on 2015, quick