POINT TO PROVE
Paul Sturrock out to show Parkinson’s doesn’t affect him as boss of Yeovil
NEW Yeovil Town manager Paul Sturrock says his return to the game after two years in the wilderness will prove that he is no “slavering wreck”.
Sturrock, 58, has spent 15 years battling Parkinson’s Disease, a degenerative condition of the nervous system that impairs movement and speech.
In the past, it was no barrier to success. The man nicknamed Luggy won two promotions with Plymouth Argyle, won the League One play-offs with Sheffield United and led Swindon Town into the third tier.
But after his sacking by Southend on the eve of the 2013 JPT final, Sturrock found that his calls went unreturned and his CV got lost in the post.
The Scot had even taken on an unpaid advisory role at his local Conference club Torquay before the Glovers threw a managerial lifeline ahead of imminent League One relegation, confirmed despite a 1-1 draw with Notts County yesterday.
“In terms of getting a job, I think my illness has definitely been a hindrance,” said Sturrock, who will be assisted by Terry Skiverton.
“But it’s not a hindrance in my day-to-day life. I’ve lived with this condition for 15 years and I pride myself that it’s never affected me professionally.
“Parkinson’s hasn’t done anything to my brain. I can still learn and I can still see the game. In terms of ability, I’ve got nothing to prove.
“What I do want to show is that I’m not some slavering wreck just because I’ve got Parkinson’s, which is what some people seem to think. There are plenty of years left in me yet.”
For Yeovil, though, time is up. A Championship club under Gary Johnson last season, the Glovers went into yesterday’s clash with Notts County 13 points from safety and allbut condemned to League Two for the first time in a decade.
Now Sturrock must decide who will be retained to lead the fightback.
“It was completely impossible for me to keep the club up,” he says matter-of-factly.
“We’d have needed to win every single game about 10-0 and hope every club above us got battered for the rest of the season. It wasn’t going to happen. “The important thing
was coming in at the right time so I was able to view the games and scrutinise the squad.
“Before this season is finished, I want to know which players are good enough to take us forward and which ones aren’t. Training wise and games wise, everyone is on trial now. “The Manchester United FA Cup game aside, I haven’t seen Yeovil play once this season.
“I’m coming in here with no preconceptions or ideas. I’m judging what I see now.”
And after so long waiting for the phone to ring, Sturrock says he will savour every second of his return to the game.
“I’ve been 40 years in this game and, at the end of the day, it was in my blood,” says Sturrock, who moved back to the south-west after leaving Southend.
“I’ve done a bit of gardening, other bits and pieces. I had two years’ sabbatical – for want of a better word – but the game was like a drug. I missed it and I needed it.
“So when the call came I didn’t even have to think. I’ve had my rest.
“Getting on the training ground and working with players again was hugely uplifting for me and I will be doing everything I can to turn this club round.”
SHRIMPER: Paul Sturrock in his last job in charge of Southend United
GLOVER: Paul Sturrock is unveiled as Yeovil Town boss