The Andy Cole Column: Coaching - it's a tough job but somebody’s got to do it

Fired Up! When Sir Alex Ferguson says he expects you to do something, he means it

Sir Alex Ferguson's influence on his players doesn't stop when they leave Manchester United. I had a timely reminder of that last week, in the form of a verbal boot up the backside, but the incident ended up working very much in my favour.

The Boss knows that not all my intentions turn quickly into actions, and when I bumped into him at the Lowry Hotel, near Old Trafford, he pulled me up and asked: "Just when are you going to get on with your badges?" I've taken the first step, working towards my Uefa B licence (there are two levels above the Uefa B licence which I'm working on: the Uefa A and the Uefa Pro licence, which you need to manage in the Premier League, or Europe's top leagues) but he's right, I need to get serious about it. He ended with "I'll be expecting you to come and see us in the very near future" – and when Sir Alex says he expects you to do something, he means it.

There is no better place to watch and learn than the Carrington training ground, and the cast of familiar faces is all part of how United maintains the aura of a family club, which is no mean feat in the modern game. Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is the current reserve team coach; Brian McClair is the academy director. I'm hopeful that they'll be comfortable enough to let me join them and maybe even put on some sessions.

The downside is I'll have to put my work with Huddersfield on the backburner. I've been working on an informal basis with the strikers there since the start of the season, and I'm grateful for that opportunity, but when Sir Alex comes calling you'd be a fool not to take the chance.

You only need to look at the current coaching set-up at United and the calibre of his assistants down the years to see what high standards they have. In recent years many of them have left Old Trafford to handle massive clubs and international sides, or both, in their own right.

I'm thinking Carlos Queiroz, who left first for a spell at Real Madrid and last year went on to manage Portugal. Walter Smith, likewise, with Scotland and now Rangers. And I count Steve McClaren among them, too. He was at United from 1999 (the season when we won the Treble) to 2001. We we won the Premier League in each of McClaren's three seasons with us. His enthusiasm in training sessions set him apart. Fresh ideas – always enjoyable, different. As a player that's what you want. And before Steve, Brian Kidd was fantastic, too.

That family aura isn't just a gimmick either. The pressure on managers has never been greater, and I'm not just talking about the Premier League, where Liverpool's troubles continue and Manchester City attract criticism when they fail to win – even if they come away with a draw.

Rafa Benitez will either find a way to turn things around, or he won't, but either way he's an experienced guy and knows that top-flight football is a business that demands results. And Mark Hughes, whose team have lost just one game all season, is tough enough to ignore the noise.

But what really shocks me is the treatment of managers lower down the league system – I'm thinking specifically of Darren Ferguson at Peterborough. The club have let him go, and even some of his players have come out saying they've let him down, but that's beside the point.

What should count for something is the awesome job he's done for Peterborough, winning two successive promotions with them to get to the Championship, which is the most competitive division in Britain. And although the start to their season hasn't been fantastic, they are hardly adrift – they're bottom, but only by a single point. Surely he has earned some time? His departure is a disgrace.

The fee for Andy cole's column is donated to Alder Hey hospital and sickle cell anaemia research. Cole works on charitable projects with the sport and media team at law firm Thomas Eggar

A trip to Vietnam is no tour of duty

I'll be watching the England match against Brazil on TV – Brazil always bring the promise of attractive football. Then on Sunday, I'll be off on my own exotic travels as I resume my playing career – albeit in some Masters events. First, I fly out to Vietnam, where there are games in Hanoi featuring former players from Manchester United, Liverpool and other Premier League clubs.

Michael Thomas will be there, and David May, and I'm looking forward to the banter, the camaraderie and all the action you miss when retired. Jason McAteer, Andrei Kanchelskis and Ray Parlour are among the other names involved. Then we'll move on to Malaysia. I've been to Kuala Lumpur before on club tours, but never Vietnam. I'm looking forward to it and I'll file my column from there next week.

Suggested Topics
Emma Watson has become the latest target of the 4Chan nude hacking scandal
peopleThreats follows actress' speech on feminism and equality at the UN
Alan Bennett criticised the lack of fairness in British society encapsulated by the private school system
peopleBut he does like Stewart Lee
David Moyes and Louis van Gaal
Arts and Entertainment
Rita Ora will replace Kylie Minogue as a judge on The Voice 2015
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Life and Style
Life and Style
Alan Turing, who was convicted of gross indecency in 1952, was granted a royal pardon last year
Arts and Entertainment
Sheridan Smith as Cilla Black and Ed Stoppard as her manager Brian Epstein
tvCilla Episode 2 review: Grit under the glamour in part two of biopic series starring Sheridan Smith
Life and Style
Arts and Entertainment
Tennis player Andy Murray's mum Judy has been paired with Anton du Beke for Strictly Come Dancing. 'I'm absolutely delighted,' she said.
tvJudy Murray 'struggling' to let Anton Du Beke take control on Strictly
Life and Style
Vote with your wallet: the app can help shoppers feel more informed about items on sale
lifeNew app reveals political leanings of food companies
Arts and Entertainment
The cover of Dark Side of the Moon
musicCan 'The Endless River' carry on the tradition? See for yourself
New Zealand fly-half Aaron Cruden pictured in The Zookeeper's Son on a late-night drinking session
A new app has been launched that enables people to have a cuddle from a stranger
voicesMaybe the new app will make it more normal to reach out to strangers
Arts and Entertainment
Salmond told a Scottish television chat show in 2001that he would also sit in front of a mirror and say things like,
tvCelebrity Trekkies from Alex Salmond to Barack Obama
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating

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

Day In a Page

Secret politics of the weekly shop

The politics of the weekly shop

New app reveals political leanings of food companies
Beam me up, Scottie!

Beam me up, Scottie!

Celebrity Trekkies from Alex Salmond to Barack Obama
Beware Wet Paint: The ICA's latest ambitious exhibition

Beware Wet Paint

The ICA's latest ambitious exhibition
Pink Floyd have produced some of rock's greatest ever album covers

Pink Floyd have produced some of rock's greatest ever album covers

Can 'The Endless River' carry on the tradition?
Sanctuary for the suicidal

Sanctuary for the suicidal

One mother's story of how London charity Maytree helped her son with his depression
A roller-coaster tale from the 'voice of a generation'

Not That Kind of Girl:

A roller-coaster tale from 'voice of a generation' Lena Dunham
London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice. In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence

London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice

In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence
Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with Malcolm McLaren

Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with McLaren

Designer 'felt pressured' into going out with Sex Pistols manager
Jourdan Dunn: Model mother

Model mother

Jordan Dunn became one of the best-paid models in the world
Apple still coolest brand – despite U2 PR disaster

Apple still the coolest brand

Despite PR disaster of free U2 album
Scottish referendum: The Yes vote was the love that dared speak its name, but it was not to be

Despite the result, this is the end of the status quo

Boyd Tonkin on the fall-out from the Scottish referendum
Manolo Blahnik: The high priest of heels talks flats, Englishness, and why he loves Mary Beard

Manolo Blahnik: Flats, Englishness, and Mary Beard

The shoe designer who has been dubbed 'the patron saint of the stiletto'
The Beatles biographer reveals exclusive original manuscripts of some of the best pop songs ever written

Scrambled eggs and LSD

Behind The Beatles' lyrics - thanks to Hunter Davis's original manuscript copies
'Normcore' fashion: Blending in is the new standing out in latest catwalk non-trend

'Normcore': Blending in is the new standing out

Just when fashion was in grave danger of running out of trends, it only went and invented the non-trend. Rebecca Gonsalves investigates
Dance’s new leading ladies fight back: How female vocalists are now writing their own hits

New leading ladies of dance fight back

How female vocalists are now writing their own hits