‘I’m not sure this Ever­ton can scrap’

Foot­ball has changed since Peter Reid played and coached, but he says the ba­sics are the same ‘I would ask them to roll their sleeves up. You have to make it hard for them when they have the ball’

The Daily Telegraph - Sport - - Football - Jim White

Asked to de­fine what foot­ball means on Mersey­side, Peter Reid’s eyes sparkle. The proud Ever­to­nian, who played 159 times for his boy­hood favourites, the dy­namic heart of the most suc­cess­ful side in the club’s his­tory, chuck­les as he re­calls a derby at An­field in the mideight­ies, when the two Liver­pool clubs were vy­ing for the ti­tle.

“We haven’t had a kick for 20 min­utes and the ball goes out to Bar­nesy [John Barnes] and I ab­so­lutely smash him,” he re­mem­bers.

Such was the vigour of his as­sault the home crowd were im­me­di­ately yelling their fury. Above the shouts, how­ever, Reid could hear one par­tic­u­larly en­raged Liver­pool fol­lower.

“I hear: ‘you blue-nosed ----, you big-eared -------’. He’s ab­so­lutely giv­ing it to me. I looked in the crowd and went: ‘Un­cle Arthur, sit down’. On my life. My own un­cle. And I’d got him play­ers’ lounge tick­ets. That is what [Mersey­side] foot­ball is about. He was the nicest man in the world and he was giv­ing it to me.” Watch­ing from the Good­i­son stands this sea­son, how­ever, the once-ablue-al­ways-a-blue Reid reck­ons Un­cle Arthur can rest easy. “I think this Ever­ton team is in a scrap,” he says of the wretched form which has seen them tum­ble down the Premier League. “The team I was in could scrap. I am not sure this team can.” As he sits in a Liver­pool ho­tel, where he is pro­mot­ing his au­to­bi­og­ra­phy, his pas­sion for the club is ob­vi­ous.

“The owner [Farhad Moshiri] comes out and says the fans’ ex­pec­ta­tions are too high. No, you’re wrong, mate. We should have ex­pec­ta­tions higher than what we are see­ing. So that is wrong from the top in my opin­ion.” The is­sue, he sug­gests, can be traced to a lack of plan­ning.

“I think it was a mis­take not get­ting a striker. They are the most dif­fi­cult to get, but you know you need one so you have to put all your re­sources into get­ting one. It was com­mon knowl­edge that [Romelu] Lukaku was go­ing last Jan­uary. I know it is hard. But when you are Ever­ton go and get one.” And in­stead of buy­ing a fin­isher, his worry is that the man­ager Ron­ald Koeman spent the Lukaku money on play­ers whose roles over­lap.

“With­out be­ing too crit­i­cal of Mr Koeman, if I am buy­ing a player for £45mil­lion, I want to play him in his po­si­tion,” he says, with ref­er­ence to Gylfi Sig­urds­son be­ing used as a wide man. “But he has brought in a few play­ers who play in the same po­si­tion, so it is al­ways go­ing to be a prob­lem.”

So what would Reid do if he were in charge? He had a very suc­cess­ful time man­ag­ing Manch­ester City to fifth, then Sun­der­land to two suc­ces­sive sev­enth-place fin­ishes in the Premier League.

“I would ask them to roll their sleeves up,” he says. “You get back to ba­sics. You have to say: ‘Lads we have to make it hard for them when they have the ball’. I’d love to be part of that. I am not say­ing I want to be the next Ever­ton man­ager but this is what that club needs, it needs a depth of de­sire.”

Not that he an­tic­i­pates an in­vi­ta­tion to take over in the Good­i­son dugout. Hap­pily work­ing as a coach at Wi­gan Ath­letic, he be­lieves his time as a Premier League man­ager has long gone. Not be­cause, at 61, he is too old. But be­cause the fash­ion is for what Moshiri de­scribes as “Hol­ly­wood”. It is a fash­ion, Reid be­lieves, that leads to out­stand­ing lo­cal tal­ent be­ing over­looked.

“I think Sean Dy­che has done a great job, Ed­die Howe has done a great job. Why aren’t they get­ting linked when a big job comes up? I think there’s a lot of good Bri­tish coaches: Michael O’neill at Northern Ire­land, what a job. But they’re not Hol­ly­wood. Dy­che isn’t Hol­ly­wood – he’s a deep, squeaky voice. Plus his dress sense isn’t as good as Jose [Mour­inho] or Pep [Guardi­ola].”

As he goes about his du­ties at Wi­gan, Reid ac­knowl­edges that the meth­ods he re­vealed on Premier Pas­sions, a fly-on-the-wall doc­u­men­tary se­ries that fol­lowed him through a sea­son as Sun­der­land man­ager, no longer pass muster.

“You can’t do now what I did, ef­fin’ and blindin’ at mod­ern play­ers, they’d just down tools,” he sug­gests. “At the time, that was the way. But I learned very quickly at Leeds. Mark Viduka’s re­ac­tion told me ev­ery­thing. I’ve laid into him and I could see in his eyes he’s think­ing I’m a piece of ----. As they’re go­ing out for the sec­ond half, I’ve pulled him over and said, ‘Hey, lis­ten, I’ve only made you an ex­am­ple be­cause you’re the best player’. I had to think on my feet. But that was the point I re­alised I couldn’t do that any more.” Though he sug­gests some of the old ways, al­beit im­pos­si­ble now, were not wholly bad. Like the time Howard Ken­dall, his man­ager at Ever­ton then at Manch­ester City, or­gan­ised a ta­ble ten­nis tour­na­ment after City had lost a home game.

“He’d sent out for five crates of Bud­weiser. We set up at the ta­ble, half the team be­hind me, half the team be­hind him. You had to get the bat, hit the ball and do a lit­tle run. Some­one knocks one into the net. Howard says to him, ‘Go over there, get a bot­tle of Bud and get it down you’. It’s half-10 in the morn­ing. Five crates of Bud later, we are all in Mul­li­gan’s, on the ----. What hap­pens? We go on a run and only lose two of the next 12. I look back on things like that and you see that it changed the whole team spirit. That’s great man-man­age­ment.” Though the sad truth is, he agrees, it is prob­a­bly not an op­tion avail­able to Ron­ald Koeman. Cheer Up Peter Reid, his au­to­bi­og­ra­phy, is pub­lished by Trin­ity Mir­ror, RRP £18.99. e-book also avail­able.

Ever­ton en­forcer: Peter Reid was the beat­ing heart of the most suc­cess­ful side in the club’s his­tory

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