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  1. #1
    I am in Jail

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    26-06-2015 @ 01:33 AM

    Peter Reid: why I gave up managing Thailand

    Peter Reid and the lure of that three o'clock feeling

    Peter Reid gave up managing Thailand for another crack at the Premier League – with Stoke City.

    Daniel Taylor
    The Guardian

    The hardest part was 3pm every Saturday. That was when life without football felt so shapeless and empty. There would always be an invite to some game. There was a bit of television work kicking about. But when you have been in the game for nearly 40 years football can feel like a drug and Peter Reid, as a self-confessed addict, was missing his fix.

    "I'd been in football since I was 15 at Bolton Wanderers and then, when you find yourself out of it, the first couple of days are OK but, after that, bloody hell, it's hard work," he says. "You go two weeks and it is already driving you crackers. You wake up, you haven't got any football problems, life should be great but, bloody hell again, what do you do?"

    Reid asked himself that question many times during those years in the wilderness when English football seemed to have spat him towards retirement a decade or so before he was planning it himself. He ended up taking a job 6,000 miles away, managing the Thailand national team, and wondered when he would ever get another chance in the Premier League. "I was always linked with jobs. The bookies had me on their shortlists and the newspapers would link me with all sorts of positions. But I never got one. In the end, that's why I went to Thailand. I just wanted to be back in football."

    Then Stoke City came calling. Tony Pulis wanted an assistant and Reid fitted the bill. The two men saw each other at a football dinner, and got talking. A few days later, Reid took a phone call. Today, he will be in the dugout as Manchester United visit the Britannia Stadium.

    "Tony just asked if I wanted to come down to the club and have a chat about it. He wanted someone who had experience of the Premier League. Plus he knew I wouldn't be a yes-man. He knows I have got my opinions, and that's a useful thing for a No2 because it's no good just agreeing with everything. You have to bounce ideas off each other. I came down to have a look at the club and it didn't take long to say yes.

    "The manager is very hands-on, enthusiastic, a good coach. His relationship with the chairman [Peter Coates] is strong, which is the most important thing at any club. The supporters are brilliant. The training facilities are going up, there are plans to develop. It's a progressive club. OK, it's difficult to compete in the Premier League when you look at the big four and what Aston Villa, Tottenham and Man City are doing, but it is a club going in the right direction. There is just this atmosphere, this feelgood atmosphere. I've been in football a long time and it hits you in the face."

    He was a year into a four-year contract with Thailand, living in an apartment in Bangkok, learning the basics of the language. The "War Elephants" are currently 115th in Fifa's world rankings but Reid oversaw a noticeable improvement in their results, despite all the disadvantages of starting from scratch.

    "I didn't even know the players' names when I arrived so I had to call them by their numbers. Then I found out they all had nicknames so I ended up writing them down and trying to memorise them. I had a goalkeeper called 'Boy'. There was 'Bird', 'Car', 'Mooey', 'Cop', 'Coal' and we got around it that way. I got my bootson sometimes to join in the training if I was struggling to make a point. And we did well."

    Reid had to adapt to a new culture. "I did my homework and I was told you can't give them a bollocking like you can here. In England, some players can take a bollocking, some can't. But over there it was a cultural thing. They called it 'face' – if you embarrassed them they lost face, and that was very important to them. I'd get frustrated sometimes but I just had to rein it in."

    Thailand reached the semi-finals of the Asian Championship and Reid was pleasantly surprised about the standard of play. But there was always that itch to re-establish himself in England's top division and a sense that he deserved that chance. "My record at Man City was fifth, fifth and ninth. At Sunderland, it was seventh, seventh and fourth from bottom. It's not bad. I don't know how chairmen think, but I'm not sure they always analyse things deeply enough."

    His last job in England ended with Coventry City in 20th position in the Championship in January 2005, an appointment he now regards as a "mistake" to have accepted. Before then, Reid had tried to save Leeds United from being shipwrecked, at a time when the club reeked of boardroom buffoonery and bad organisation. He is 53 now, and has had to battle an unfair perception that he is resolutely old-school.

    "You can easily get tagged but I think some of the old-school philosophies are great so I won't be apologising for them. Funnily enough, so does Sir Alex Ferguson. When you haven't got the ball, you work to get it back. And when you've got it, you pass it. Simple. They were Bill Shankly's principles, Harry Catterick's at Everton, the School of Science. But you never stop learning in football, and there's a modern way of thinking – the diets, the video analysis, the scientific programmes. In Thailand I got them on a core stability programme. I taught them about diets and nutrition, that chilli beef and fried rice isn't a great pre-match meal. I've taken all that on board. It's just that people have a perception of you."

    Contrary to "Wikipedia's bollocks", Reid never registered to become a football agent during his time out of work. He had a property business to take care of. A popular member of the managerial set, there were many invites to watch games. He was a good pundit too, full of opinion and analysis. But he missed the day-to-day involvement. It irked him that Premier League clubs would rather look abroad for managers.

    "We've had [Luiz Felipe] Scolari at Chelsea, [Alain] Perrin at Portsmouth, [Juande] Ramos at Spurs. Look how they have done. For every foreign manager that does well, there are just as many who don't. And it means there are a lot of British managers who don't get a chance. That's a bugbear but, listen, the other thing I know is that football doesn't owe you anything. There are better people than me out of work so you just get on with it."

    So what has changed in that gap of almost five years? "The players are athletes now, proper athletes. It's quick, definitely quicker. The pitches are fantastic now as well. Even the training pitches – Premier League, Championship, every level. But there are bugbears. I see crosses going in too easily [he was at the Manchester derby last weekend] and it irritates me. I tell defenders: 'How about stopping the source?'

    "And it annoys me that [Michel] Platini wants to take physical contact out of the game. A good tackle still gives me as much pleasure as watching a great dribble or a brilliant pass. And what people don't understand is that it is killing the art of dribbling. The dribblers, the crowd-pleasers, want defenders to try to tackle them so they can try to get round them. If there are no tackles, it is taking away the dribbling and that's one of the things people love to see."

    His voice is rising with indignation. "I see some great tackles these days given as fouls. Patrice Evra on Michael Ballack [in the Community Shield], great tackle – yellow card. Darren Fletcher on Cesc Fábregas in the Champions League semi-final, another great tackle – penalty, and he misses the final for it. Absolute bollocks!"

    He could talk about this subject for hours, as enthused and impassioned as always. Football can be like a fairground ride sometimes, lots of twists and turns, exhilarating highs, excruciating lows. Reid will always be that boy on thefront seat, hands in the air, wanting to go round again.

    "We've got Manchester United this weekend. I'm looking around, and I'm thinking money can't buy this feeling."

  2. #2
    Thailand Expat
    Marmite the Dog's Avatar
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    08-09-2014 @ 10:43 AM
    Simian Islands
    A nice article, but a shame there wasn't more on the Thailand set-up.

  3. #3
    The Dentist English Noodles's Avatar
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    Burning Down a Pikey Caravan
    He used to be a bit of a regular in the Pickled liver on Sukhumvit soi 11.

  4. #4
    hangin' around cyrille's Avatar
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    ^ I guess that's one thing better about Thailand than the UK. At least you can have a social life.

    As for Peter Reid, 20th in the Championship with Coventry when his last job ended and he's comparing himself to Sir Alex??

    He's pretty much where his record merits, but good luck to him in a job that might allow him to capitalise on his strengths. Assistant Manager at Stoke sounds about right.

  5. #5
    My kind of town
    chitown's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by gjbkk View Post
    I had a goalkeeper called 'Boy'. There was 'Bird', 'Car', 'Mooey', 'Cop', '

    Quote Originally Posted by gjbkk View Post
    Reid had to adapt to a new culture. "I did my homework and I was told you can't give them a bollocking like you can here.
    Exactly why there are few "real men" in Thailand. They can;t handle the truth.

    Quote Originally Posted by gjbkk View Post
    But over there it was a cultural thing. They called it 'face' – if you embarrassed them they lost face, and that was very important to them.
    I beg to differ. It is an arrogant thing, not cultural. Thais can't handle correction, advice guidance etc. They get their wee little feelings hurt, the air is let out of them and they take their toys and go home.

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