Heath's mentor becomes rival
Thursday 15 August 1996
As Burnley's player-manager, the 35-year-old Heath is balancing a desire to be his own man with lessons absorbed from the likes of Howard Kendall and Taylor. The latter, who took up his first such appointment nearly 24 years ago, is back at Watford as general manager, striving at 51 to recreate the rise which once made them runners-up behind Liverpool.
Each took up his post in the middle of a relegation tussle this year. Heath won his, Burnley gaining some impressive results against the promotion pack. Taylor, after taking Watford's apparently forlorn fight to the final fixture, ran out of time.
Heath has since brought over a Portuguese Under-21 striker, Bambo. A fee of pounds 65,000 saw Damien Matthew swap Crystal Palace for Turf Moor, though the master stroke may have been to persuade Vince Overson and Nigel Gleghorn to move free from Stoke.
Taylor, abetted by Kenny Jackett, has added Wimbledon's Steve Talboys and the Sunderland keeper Alec Chamberlain. Perhaps more significantly, Watford repelled Wolves' interest in David Connolly, the teenager whose two hat-tricks last spring led to Republic of Ireland caps. A good start and Elton John might even fund a few transfers amid the tantrums and tiaras.
Millwall also look ready to revive after relegation. Jimmy Nicholl has dispensed with his Russian misfits and spent pounds 1.5m in the market he knows best. Steve Crawford, his chief striker at Raith, won a Scotland cap last year, while Nicholl once described the defender Davie Sinclair as "so hard he has tattoos on his teeth".
Barry Fry has suffered demotion too, though his knowledge of the lower divisions should be more useful to Peterborough than it was to Birmingham. The coup in acquiring Martin O'Connor from Walsall showed that Fry sees the need for quality as well as quantity.
Crewe's Dario Gradi is Fry's transfer antithesis. The home-grown potential of Gareth Whalley, Mark Rivers, Francis Tierney and Danny Murphy may have to be fulfilled elsewhere, however, unless he finds a happy medium between being required watching and sustaining a challenge.
Of the promoted clubs, Preston have the momentum and money to pick up where they left off; Plymouth should flourish under Neil Warnock; and the meanest defence in history ought to sustain Gillingham. Alan Smith's Wycombe could be useful long shots, but Blackpool may need longer to recover from blowing promotion and sacking Sam Allardyce in favour of the unproven Gary Megson.
The Bristol clubs are again in transition, with Rovers moving to the city's rugby union club under Ian Holloway's player-managership. Mere survival would nevertheless be a disappointment. For Luton, Bury, Shrewsbury, Rotherham and York, it may the best they can hope for.
Latest in Sport
My one and only game for Neil Baldwin FC
Laura Trott and Jason Kenny announce engagement
Jose Mourinho says Chelsea deserve to be setting pace going into Christmas fixtures
Manchester United vs Newcastle United preview: Alan Pardew targets rare Old Trafford win to halt Newcastle slump
Arsenal vs QPR: Leroy Fer seeks perfect present for Boxing Day
- 1 Christmas comes early to Hong Kong, as millions of bank notes spill out onto busy street
- 2 The 'Black Museum': After 150 years, public can visit police’s grisly crime museum
- 4 Vagina canoe artist facing two years in jail defends herself over ‘obscenity’ charges
- 5 The Queen’s speech 2014: Recap and Twitter reaction to Game of Thrones reference
British actor Idris Elba cannot star as James Bond because he is black, says shock jock Rush Limbaugh
Rozanne Duncan: Ukip expels councillor for 'jaw-dropping' comments made in BBC TV interview
Germany anti-Islam protests: 17,000 march on Dresden against 'Islamification of the West'
Ukip member gets into Christmas spirit with Union Flag plea to Santa 'for our country back'
BBC director Danny Cohen: Rising UK antisemitism makes me feel more uncomfortable than ever
Alex Salmond has 'broken his word to the Scottish people' says Scottish Lib Dem leader
£70000 - £75000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: Marketing Manager/Marketi...
£20000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This full service social media ...
£24000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: We are 'Changemakers in retail'...
Very Competitive: Austen Lloyd: Senior Conveyancer - South West We are see...