BIG SAM LINK-UP HAS BOOSTED IAN

The Football League Paper - - MARTIN LING -

WHEN Ian Hen­don was named man­ager of Ley­ton Ori­ent, I jok­ingly said he was the sec­ond-best man for the job – af­ter me of course!

But the club clearly knew what they were do­ing be­cause Ian has done bril­liantly to steer the O’s to the top of League One.

My boy, Sam, has been train­ing with the first team for three years. He comes home and ev­ery day he’s bounc­ing into the room.

When I asked him what’s so good, he just said‘We un­der­stand what Ian wants us to do’.

When the two Ital­ians were in charge – first Mauro Mi­lanese and then Fabio Liverani – he’d come home and say ‘the play­ers don’t un­der­stand what he wants’.

That’s a boy of 18, and I know some of those opin­ions would have come sec­ond­hand from se­nior play­ers.

But you can tell from talk­ing to him that train­ing is bet­ter, the at­mos­phere around the club is bet­ter.You haven’t got that split be­tween the Ital­ian man­age­ment and the English play­ers, ev­ery­one is pulling in the same di­rec­tion.

The coach­ing staff – Ian, Andy Hessen­thaler and Kevin Nu­gent – have got things go­ing. The club is bub­bling.

Go­ing in­toWest Ham was mas­sive for Ian. He had that first job at Bar­net, then dropped down into Non­League. Both good ex­pe­ri­ences.

But to see first-hand the way some­one like Sam Al­lardyce works – well, if you can’t learn from some­one of that qual­ity you must have your eyes closed.

He’s been work­ing un­der Sam as first-team coach on a day-to-day ba­sis, pick­ing up two decades of knowl­edge.

The Ian Hen­don you’ve got now will be a to­tally dif­fer­ent Ian Hen­don to the guy who was wet be­hind the ears at Bar­net, I’m sure of that.

PIC­TURE: Ac­tion Im­ages

PART­NERS: Sam Al­lardyce cel­e­brates with Ian Hen­don at West Ham and, inset, Hen­don with his Sky Bet League Two Man­ager of the Month award for Au­gust

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