Hockey: Hughes hopes for harmony

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The Independent Online
NORMAN HUGHES, Great Britain's coach at the Barcelona Olympics, is hoping for a change of emphasis on the current British and English management team structure. 'Funding must become more coaching orientated, rather than management,' he said yesterday, and this appears to be the view of a number of senior players.

It was noticeable in Spain that there was not always harmony within the British set-up and some observers felt there were too many 'advisers' and that the coach was less in overall charge than coaches of other leading nations.

Hughes, whose current appointment runs until after the 1994 World Cup in Sydney, says that it is important for the person taking England to Australia to know that he is also taking Britain on to the Atlanta Olympics.

'The bulk of the GB squad is almost certain to come from England and the same coach should be in charge,' he said. His own appointment for Barcelona was not confirmed until after he had taken England to the Lahore World Cup in February 1990, giving him only limited preparation time.

The Great Britain Men's Hockey Board will have to address the problem when it meets in Manchester at the weekend for its Olympic debriefing. Phil Appleyard, the chairman who is also president of the English Hockey Association, reports to the HA Council on the Olympic performance this afternoon.

He is likely to express his disappointment over Britain finishing only sixth with the result that, for the first time since Karachi in 1983, they will miss out on the Champions Trophy tournament in Malaysia next July.

Appleyard may be leaning towards a full-time coach, although he warned recently: 'A full-time coach could create difficult human and financial problems.'

As it is, Hughes, a marketing manager with Slazenger, may not feel able to take the full-time post unless the terms are good. With few other suitable candidates around, the future looks bleak unless David Whitaker, Britain's gold medal coach in Seoul, can perhaps be persuaded to return to the fold.