LOYALTY’S IN FASHION FOR PAUL
COME rain or shine he’ll be dapper in the dugout and he’s now English football’s second longest-serving manager – but don’t tell Exeter City boss Paul Tisdale he’s a creature of habit.
Hired seven years ago, the 40-year-old finds himself second only to Arsene Wenger’s 17 seasons at Arsenal after David Moyes switched to Old Trafford.
But for Tisdale – renowned for his stylish touchline outfits including tweed jackets, flat caps and cravats – there is no pressure.
“It’s not about me hanging on and being grateful for it,” he said. “I have been good to Exeter and they have been good to me.
“At some point I may move on but I am in no rush to leave as long as we’re still making progress. I have had numerous offers from much higher leagues but I have chosen to stay at the club. It’s in my nature to be loyal.
“It’s a two-way thing, even when the team has not performed, the club has been very supportive with me.”
Tisdale, a midfielder who played a handful of games for Southampton in the Premier League, took charge of Team Bath in 2000.
He led them to the first round proper of the FA Cup in 2003 – the first time a university side had managed that since 1881 – and joined the Grecians, then in the Conference, in 2006.
Losing in the play-off final in his first year, Tisdale then secured back-to-back promotions and led them to eighth in League One in 2011.
The reality of working on a shoestring budget hit the following year with relegation, but despite the lure of clubs with larger pots of money,Tisdale knows where his ambitions lay.
“Being successful as a manager is not just about the work but the players I work with, how you view your job and what you see as progress,” he said.
“It’s not just about the league and league progress. There are many ways to progress in terms of coaching and managing.
“Obviously the two trips to Wembley and a couple of promotions are highlights but the major thing that motivates me is developing players young and old as a team and as players.”
City are looking to build upon their tenth-place finish last year, although once again any ambitions have been harnessed by a need to balance the books.
Crucially they were able to keep hold of 34-year-old midfielder Matt Oakley while signing 32-year-old Sam Parkin on a free from St Mirren.
“Matt has a huge effect on the changing room,” said Tisdale. “We had to find a way to get him by hook or by crook.
“Sam is a good all round player and we needed someone of that personality.
“We let half a dozen senior players leave and fans might see we have only replaced them with Sam but we have a lot of younger players like Jake Gosling, Jordan Moore-Taylor and Jamie Reed who plays for Northern Ireland U21s. It’s a good group who are looking better and better.”
DRESSED TO IMPRESS: Exeter boss Paul Tisdale Inset: Arsene Wenger and David Moyes