You are currently manager of Hyde United. You also played for the club. How are you enjoying football management and how would you describe a club such as Hyde United?
I am really enjoying the role of manager here at Hyde United. As you mention I also played for the club as I was coming to the end of my career. Back then I wanted to continue playing as long as I possibly could but my body would not allow me to. I was also assistant to Darren Kelly at the club before becoming manager.
I knew within a few months of coaching at Hyde that I wanted to manage at some point. I soaked as much as I could from Darren and other managers before I stepped into the role Hyde United are are real community club We had a 3G pitch installed two years ago and it is something that different teams from the community can make use of. We have a junior set up which is thriving, ladies and girls teams, PAN disability teams and a reserve team. Alongside these teams we have so much football that we can facilitate within the community.
You played five seasons for Darlington FC. How do you look back on your time at the club and do you have any highlights or special memories?
Darlington was and still is a fantastic club..It was a league club in every way while I was there. The fanbase is fantastic and it was sad to see them have to reform due to individuals running the club into the ground. I was never really a regular in the starting 11 at Darlington as there were some very good defenders in front of me but highlights include my debut in the FA Cup away at Kidderminster and playing the first game at the new stadium. I was on the bench for the first time when I made my debut and then I came on at half time. I was so nervous but determined to give a good account of myself. We won the game 1-0 and to then go home and watch highlights and Match of the Day was something completely different to the Youth Team football I had been playing.
The first game at the Arena had about 11,000 fans in and it was memorable for the game itself rather than the result. I picked up the Sponsors Man of the Match but we were poor that day. We had some incredible players who joined Darlington and playing with players Craig Hignett, Curtis Fleming, Bobby Petta could only improve you as a player.
You had a a couple of loan spells at York City before signing permanently for the club and going on to play eight seasons for the club. How do you look back on you time at the club and do you have any special memories or highlights?
I had some very special times at York City and I love that club. It was another club that was a Football League club in every way. I made a lot of friends during my time there and it;s the first result I look for alongside my boyhood team Middlesbrough. We reached Wembley four times during my time there and playing there was the highlight of my career. Memorable games include the play off semi finals against Luton Town, the finals at Wembley.
We played Oxford in front of 42,000 there and the noise was incredible. We finally achieved promotion back to the Football League, beating Luton at Wembley and I will never forget the scenes for the following few days. We had an open top bus in York and the streets were packed before flying as a squad to Benidorm. What a trip that was! That was a special group of players and people. We had no right to get promoted that year but the team spirit was the best I had known.
You played under some very good managers. Did you speak to any managers upon entering football management and did you receive any particular advice or encouragement?
Yes, the main manager would be Martin Foyle. I got on really well with him when he was manager of York City and when I was assistant manager a couple of managerial roles came up and he was somebody that I rang straight away for advice on it. I actually went against his advice in the end but he is someone that I look to gather his thoughts on the game. He is currently head of recruitment at Motherwell FC.
I Have an awful lot of respect for him. His organization skills and tactics got the best out of us as players and i learned a lot from him. I still speak to previous managers but more through bumping into them at events or games. Gary Mills was at Dan Parslows testimonial and he is out of the game at the moment but he’s another excellent manager who got the best out of the players. Nigel Worthington, Colin Walker, Billy McKewan – all good people and managers who I have learned from. I took a lot of advice from other managers in the game and still do.
Danny and Nicky Cowley have been excellent with me and I have visited them several times to tap in and soak up as much as possibly could. I have been to see Simon Weaver at Harrogate, John Coleman at Accrington Stanley and I continue to try and get time to see other coaches and how they work. Steve McLaren was on the interview panel when I went for the Darlington job and I have remained in touch with him.
What sessions do they put on? I like to see how other managers work and take, what in my opinion, the best parts from each one and see if I can use it in some way. The successful ones all work in different ways and I love watching, talking and learning from them all.
Finally David, You are still a very young manager. Could you describe your managerial philosophy and is there anything in particular that you would like to achieve in your managerial career?
I would say that my medium term goal is to get back into full time football whether that is managing or coaching. My short term goal is achieving success at Hyde United. Like i said, I love it here and i want to help the club get back on its feet and then kick on from there. I have been here 4 seasons now and you don’t spend that long at a football club without building special relationships.
I am ambitious and getting a role full time is what I am working towards but you can never look too far ahead. I am very much hands on with the lads on the training pitch and love helping players improve as a team and as an individual. The players know how I work as a manager and I have learned a lot this season off the pitch while having a good season on it. I have good staff around me who I can trust and who are all singing from the same sheet.
I know what style of football I want to play but I have to adapt to what we can get in the transfer market. We only have a small market with what we can afford so there is a challenge there to adapt to the players at times. I can identify the players I want to go into my preferred style of play but getting them is a different matter. I wouldn’t have looked to adapt 18 months ago but learning on the job is all part of it and hopefully I will continue to make more right decisions than wrong ones because ultimately that is what management is all about.