Brian Honour admires the simple approach of Matthew Bates and hopes it will pay dividends for Hartlepool United.
Bates, who heads the coaching team of Billy Paynter, Stuart Parnaby and Ian Gallagher, following the sacking of Dave Jones, told SportMail yesterday that he did not deliver any stirring dressing-room speeches or weighed down players with instructions.
Football is a simple game and I wonder sometimes why coaches over-complicate itBRIAN HONOUR
And Honour, still revered by Pools fans two decades after his retirement, says that is the right way.
Having played under two of the greatest managers in the club’s history, the former promotion winger has a valuable insight into life in the dressing room when Cyril Knowles and Alan Murray were working wonders at the Vic.
“Football is a simple game and I wonder sometimes why coaches over-complicate it,” said Honour.
“I was interested to hear what Batesy did.
“A few years ago I was fortunate to be in the Pools dressing room before a game and was wishing the lads well.
“This is no word of a lie, there must have been 30 A4 sheets of instructions plastered all over the walls, with this scenario, that scenario, corners, even throw-ins!
“It would be wrong and unfair of me to say who that manager was, but I don’t know how the players went out and played with so much to think about.
“I know football has changed a bit from my day, but back then we might do a bit about the opposition.
“I might get told ‘kick their left-back and he won’t want to know’ type-thing!
“But basically my order was simple as a winger – get the ball and cross it to Paul Baker!
“It was always all about us, playing to our strengths, winning the individual battles – and if we could do that we had a great chance of winning the game.”
Knowles came to Pools at the club’s lowest ebb and inspired a revival in 1989-90 with Murray taking the club up the following season after Cyril fell ill.
“The two were very different men after a game,” added Honour. “Cyril would give you hell if it went badly, whereas Alan was ‘dust yourself down lads, we’ll start again Monday’.
“Beforehand it was simple stuff and it worked.
“It would be about winning the individual battles, me and Paul Dalton beating the full-backs, Bakes putting himself about and John MacPhail and Ian Bennyworth dominating their forwards.
“It was then go out and play and that’s how football should be.
“When Alan took over his team talks usually consisted of ‘same team, same subs, same result’.
“We were riding the crest of a wave and we did not need anything else, it was the right thing to do.”
Honour will be at the Northern Gas & Power Stadium for the Saturday tea-time kick-off.
He will be providing the expert summarising for the commentary on Pools Player HD.
“We’re in the last-chance-saloon,” he said. “It’s still hard to believe we’re at this point. I’m walking around in a daze.
“It’s great there is going to be a big, passionate crowd there to support Pools.
“Hartlepool’s fans, as I’ve said before, can be the 12th man, but ultimately, its down to the players.
“I’m glad to hear Batesy’s approach, it’s all about our players winning their individual battles and if they do, we can beat Doncaster.”