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THE SAM MORSHEAD COLUMN: Reputation doesn't matter in this game
6:00am Saturday 24th August 2013 in STFC News
WHAT is it with managerial appointments and snap-judgments?
Mark Cooper was formally unveiled as Swindon’s new boss on Tuesday and within seconds there were more disgruntled faces around the town than there were walking out of the first screening of Kevin Costner’s Waterworld.
It’s an irrational response. As Robins manager, Cooper has a 50 per cent success rate. Yes, those two wins were against Stevenage and Torquay - but they were wins nonetheless.
Perhaps we have been so spoilt by the arrival of names down the years that a name is what we have come to expect.
Ossie Ardiles, Glenn Hoddle, Lou Macari, Paolo Di Canio and to a lesser extent Dennis Wise came to Wiltshire with less managerial experience between them than Sir Alex Ferguson’s most recently-chewed piece of Orbit Extra - yet they were given the opportunity to bed in and eventually thrive.
Cooper is unproven in the Football League, absolutely. Why does that make him not credible as a candidate? His 13-game nightmare at Peterborough was a result of being in the wrong place at the wrong time, in my conversations with him he seems to look back on those three months with regret. He wants to make that right.
Let’s not forget that back in 2009 Cooper was one of the most sought-after young managers in the lower leagues. He had an extraordinary record in cup competitions with Tamworth and Kettering and won the FA Trophy with Darlington.
He ended up at London Road for whatever reasons and because of those 13 games he has been labelled with a tag which, carried by hearsay and snap-judgment, has stuck for almost four years. Talk about unlucky 13.
Now he is the well respected manager of a group of players with whom he has worked for months, playing a style of football he speaks enthusiastically about in public and private.
He has the temperament to nurture young players through the good times and the bad and a natural resolve to keep persevering when others would quite happily pack up their bags and walk away - the fact he is manager of a Football League club today proves that.
As an appointment it is underwhelming in name alone. Mark Cooper is a very normal, sensible and unexotic. He’s not a former England star, a controversial Italian, a hotheaded FA Cup winner or an Argentine wizard. But he’s Swindon Town manager now, and he deserves the support of the community.
SOUR GRAPES FROM BOOF
DARREN Lehmann obviously doesn’t like Stuart Broad very much.
Grudges die hard when you’re 3-0 down in an Ashes series to an England side operating at walking pace and Boof doesn’t want to let this one go.
Broad, if you remember, edged Ashton Agar to slip via Brad Haddin’s gloves in the first Test of the summer.
That was five weeks ago.
He didn’t walk - not many cricketers do in the modern game and that is their prerogative. Lehmann called it cheating.
He said he wanted the Australian crowd to make Broad cry this winter.
The Aussie coach likes to stick his tongue in his cheek so perhaps reading too much into his recent comments is a little naive, but Lehmann needs a little lesson in hypocrisy.
It can’t be that hard to forget David Warner, Michael Clarke and Haddin all standing their ground and even reviewing decisions when they’d blatantly nicked one through at various points during this series.
Bad losers and all that.
PURTON'S CHANCE TO CELEBRATE
PURTON will be crowned champions of the Wiltshire League this weekend for the second season in a row. This time they’ll get to celebrate.
Twelve months ago the club were cruelly denied promotion to the West of England Premier League on tedious grounds, with Calne elevated in their place.
It was a bitter blow and one Purton did very well to swallow as graciously as they have.
Now they are set to make instant amends and become the first of our local clubs to win promotion.
With Lechlade well-set at the top of the Glos/Wilts Division, Swindon top of the Wiltshire Division and Goatacre in with an outside chance of winning out of Premier Two, our region’s cricket looks in very healthy shape.
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