You’ve managed many Mavericks in your career such as Paolo Di Canio, Paul Merson and Kanu. How do you manage guys like that on a daily basis?
I loved it! It was great fun but also a challenge.
I mean the example I always use is Merson. He told me that he was struggling with drinking and gambling and needed to go to Tony Adams’ treatment centre. So I said of course you can go as we were out of the FA Cup and didn’t have a game for two weeks. We were also top of the championship and he was my best player and captain so I said to him please go and sort yourself out and come back fit and firing for our last 15 games.
Off he went and as far as I was concerned he was at the clinic as that’s what he told me. However, a few days later I received a phone call from a mate of mine who was in Barbados.
He said to me that he’d just seen one of my players on the beach and that it was Paul Merson. I laughed and said that’s impossible as he is at Tony’s clinic in Surrey.
After 10 days away, he returned to the club and I asked if he was alright and it was funny as he had the best sun tan I’ve ever seen and it was January with rain and snow everywhere.
I don’t think I’ve seen someone look so proud. It was typical Merse.