The Dean Barrick column: Why are chairmen so trigger happy?
Dean Barrick played for Sheffield Wednesday, Rotherham, Cambridge United, Preston, Bury and Doncaster – and, as a manager, he led Hucknall Town to the FA Trophy final. He is now working as a teacher in Thailand.
In his first column entry of the new season, Barrick gives his verdict on life in Thailand, trigger-happy chairmen, Sheffield Wednesday, Neil Warnock and how football has changed since he played the game.
How is life treating you in Thailand?
Life in Thailand is amazing. The people are so friendly, the country is beautiful and the Thais are crazy about English football. I am still playing and had a very successful season last year, winning the Bangkok Casuals First Division with FC Planet of Pattaya and winning the over 35’s and over 40’s section of the Tesco Lotus Masters tournament, beating the Ex Pros (Lee Sharpe, Gus Ceaser, Clive Walker etc) 5-0 in the final of the over 40’s.
Players from the Far East have made a big impact in the Premier League, what’s the standard of player like in Thailand?
Technically they are very good on the ball with good pace and touch. They tend to be a little lightweight in challenges and their decision making at times leaves a lot to be desired. I will go watch the national team against Vietnam in November and I’m looking forward to seeing how the side get on.
We’ve already had two sackings so far this season, Andy Thorn and John Sheridan, what are your thoughts about that?
I must admit I do find it amazing that chairmen can make such a decision so quickly into a season. You would have thought that it would make more sense to change things at the end of a season, giving any new manager a chance to bring in his own people and use pre-season to implement his style of play on the squad.
What are your thoughts on how the game has changed since your days as a pro?
The top Conference teams have always been quite strong but were kept out of the league by the election procedure. However I do agree that every league has improved recently due to better training methods, a greater level of dedication from the players and most importantly, the amount of players coming in from abroad to the Premier League. This in turn has led to players of real quality dropping down to the Championship and ultimately strengthening every league below.
Which teams have stood out for you so far in the Championship, League 1 and League 2?
I am delighted to see my old club Sheffield Wednesday doing so well after their promotion last year. It’s early days yet but hopefully the Owls will maintain their early season form. The same can be said of another of my ex clubs, Doncaster, who have started their campaign in League 1 well after last season’s disappointing relegation. I was back in England and saw them in pre-season against Hull and was impressed by their work ethic. In League 2, Oxford and Gillingham have both started strongly but I am hoping Rotherham can produce a promotion winning season.
Neil Warnock has been tasked with getting Leeds into the Premier League, do you think he is turning into a specialist Championship promotion manager?
I played under Neil at Bury for a short while and he has a preferred style of play that lends itself more naturally to the Championship than the Premier League. That said though, he is a fierce competitor and produces solid teams that work hard for each other and are difficult to beat. I wish my ex team-mates Paddy Kenny and Paul Green all the very best in their push for promotion.
How do you rate the survival chances of the three clubs that have come up into the Premier League this season?
We will have to wait and see but the Championship is such a tough league to get out of that teams are better prepared than they used to be for the Premier League. However none of the teams have started too well, with West Ham being the only team to have earned their first win. Of the three promoted managers only Sam Allardyce has previous Premier League experience but both Brian McDermott and Nigel Adkins have served their time well and will be excited by the learning curve that awaits them.
What do you make of the way Michael Laudrup and Brendan Rodgers have started the new season?
I think Rodgers will be okay, although the expectations at Liverpool are quite rightly immense. If they show the same quality throughout the season as they showed against Manchester City they will be fine. It’s early days for Laudrup but you can’t argue with the way they’ve started, or his playing credentials.
If you were playing now, what do you think would be your biggest challenge?
I certainly couldn’t have lived the type of lifestyle today that I lived during my playing career. Although I prided myself on my fitness there was more of a drinking culture amongst professionals in the 80’s and 90’s. My biggest challenge though would be coping with the play acting, diving and blatant cheating that goes on in today’s game.
Which player below the Premier League do you think could really stand out this season?
I am hearing encouraging things about the current crop of youngsters at Middlesbrough this year and one player I’ll be watching closely is Luke Williams. Luke became one of the youngest players ever to represent the Borough in 2009 but suffered a setback when he got injured. That seems to be behind him now and he scored a cracking winner against Burnley this week.
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