What do Glenn Hoddle, Ruud Gullit, Gordon Strachan, Kenny Dalglish and Gianluca Vialli all have in common? All successful (to a degree) at been player-managers, however it is not an enviable task as we spoke to ex-Brigg Town and Winterton Rangers player-manager and striker Paul Grimes, writes Craig Kendall.
“The management side was something that happened by accident. A couple of people spoke to me about it and it grew on me. Brigg were having difficulties, I felt it would be a good challenge and hoped it would help the club at the time.”
The 33-year old former Retford United, Grantham Town and Belper Town forward explains how difficult the task of player-manager can be, “Anyone who has managed will tell you the same – as a player you are selfish to a certain extent. You worry about your own game, you do your best and you concentrate on preparing yourself for games. You give very little thought to the opposition.
“As a manager it’s constant. Calls, texts, meetings, problem solving, decisions….there is never a switch off period. So therefore when you lose you blame yourself. That rarely happens as an individual. Watching is tough.
“Lots of people kept saying “you need to play yourself” and whilst I didn’t disagree, I felt by doing that I wouldn’t be showing faith in the lads I signed. Luckily I had good people around me, especially Rob, Mark and John at Winterton who would give me their opinions and don’t pull any punches!
“I went back to Bottesford and enjoyed it. It’s a good club with good people. It wasn’t a popular decision with me taking the Winterton job but I just felt there were a lot of off the field constraints and issues at Brigg and because of that I didn’t think I did myself justice. I knew there wouldn’t be the same issues at Winterton so I wanted to have another go in a different environment.
“Apart from the pressures and additional responsibilities I mentioned I think the biggest struggle is I felt when I was a player manager and selected myself to play I had to be the best player, every game. I used to think how can I have a bad half of football and go in the changing rooms and point the finger at others? You then start to overthink the playing side of things!
“I left Winterton to go play for Lincoln United. Two reasons really – I wanted to see if I could still play that level. It was an itch I needed to scratch. I am 33 years old, I wasn’t sure I would get the chance again. The second reason was although myself and Rob Watson still get on well, I didn’t think it was fair me hanging around in the background. I would of found it difficult to not try have an input and he needed to put his own stamp on things.
“I have done reasonably well at Lincoln this season and have really enjoyed just playing. Managing is something I would love to re-visit when I can no longer play but as far as player-management goes i don’t think I’ve been successful.”
Main photograph by Paul Tong.