The Football League Paper - - CHAMPIONSHIP PREVIEWS -

night be­fore,that wasn’t at all pleas­ant.

But the hard­est was prob­a­bly Spar­tak Tr­nava, a Slovakian team we played in the Europa League when I was man­ag­ing Sligo. The heat, the at­mos­phere, the lo­gis­tics of get­ting there. It was about a six-hour jour­ney in to­tal, on planes trains and au­to­mo­biles.

We lost 3-1 on the night and 4-1 over­all. They were a de­cent side. Den­nis Bergkamp. I was at QPR when we played Arse­nal in the FA Cup – it was prob­a­bly about 2001. I’d loved Arse­nal as a boy and I was think­ing ‘This is the big­gest day of my ca­reer’. In the end, it turned out to be one of the worst.

They had Vieira, Wil­tord, Henry. They all ran amok that day, but no­body was as im­pres­sive as Bergkamp. Right foot, left foot, sub­lime bal­ance.You had no idea which way he was go­ing to go. He could turn on a six­pence. His aware­ness of oth­ers was fright­en­ing, his weight of pass was per­fect.

And that was just his set-up play. His fin­ish­ing and move­ment were deadly as well.

He scored one and had a hand in five more as we lost 6-0.

Look­ing back now, it was a plea­sure just to be on the same pitch as some­one like that.

At the time, though, I wished I

wasn’t. I re­ally en­joyed Good­i­son Park. Like Lof­tus Road, it’s an old ground where the stands are very close to the pitch and it makes for a great at­mos­phere. A real caul­dron.

It was the same with Maine Road, Man City’s old ground. I played there for QPR the day Jamie Pol­lock scored that fa­mous own goal.

Be­fore the kick-off, Vin­nie Jones and Ra­zor Rud­dock had threat­ened Ge­orgi Kin­kladze in the tun­nel. It didn’t work – he scored af­ter about 50 sec­onds. But then we equalised and Jamie put us ahead with that crazy goal. It was hi­lar­i­ous but, at Born: Le­ices­ter, 1970 (age 45) 1988-94 A trainee at Le­ices­ter, Bar­a­clough formed a pro­lific strike part­ner­ship with Paul Kit­son in the youth ranks but was scarcely used in the first team and, af­ter loan spells at Wi­gan and Grimsby, left to join the Mariners in 1991. He played once be­fore join­ing Fourth Divi­sion Lin­coln City in 1992, scor­ing ten goals in 72 ap­pear­ances. 1994-98 Bar­a­clough joined Mans­field in 1994, scor­ing five goals in 47 games and help­ing the Stags reach the Divi­sion Three play-offs in his only sea­son at Field Mill. He then spent three tur­bu­lent sea­sons at Notts County, suf­fer­ing a Divi­sion Two play-off fi­nal de­feat to Brad­ford in 1996, rel­e­ga­tion in 1997 and win­ning the Third Divi­sion ti­tle in 1998. 1998-2008 Af­ter ten goals in 111 games for the Mags, Bar­a­clough joined QPR in March 1998, spend­ing three years at Lof­tus Road and scor­ing 12 times in 125 matches. Fol­low­ing rel­e­ga­tion into the the time, just a huge re­lief. The 2-2 draw we got that day ef­fec­tively kept us up and sent them down. Just to stay in­volved in the game. When I re­tire, I want it to be my choice. I love coach­ing, try­ing to im­prove play­ers. I love ev­ery­thing about the foot­ball en­vi­ron­ment, which is why I played for so long.

I’m scout­ing for Dar­ren Fer­gu­son at Don­caster now, while ac­tively look­ing f or a full-time role in the game. Coach­ing, man­age­ment – I don’t care. As long as I can work with play­ers day in, day out, that’s what gives me the buzz. third tier in 2001, he re­joined Notts County – by then back in League Two – and made a fur­ther 101 ap­pear­ances, scor­ing 18 goals. 2004-08 Aged 34 when he joined Scun­thorpe in 2004, Bar­a­clough nev­er­the­less en­joyed the most suc­cess­ful pe­riod of his ca­reer, win­ning the League Two ti­tle in 2004, League One ti­tle in 2007 and, fol­low­ing rel­e­ga­tion from the Cham­pi­onship and re­tire­ment in 2008, the League One play­offs in 2009 as part of Nigel Ad­kins’ back­room staff. 2008-present Named man­ager of Scunny in 2010, Bar­a­clough was sacked af­ter win­ning eight of his 34 games in charge. He then joined Ir­ish side Sligo Rovers, win­ning the League ti­tle in 2012 and the FAI Cup in 2013, be­fore a sur­prise dis­missal in June 2014. Bar­a­clough joined Mother­well in De­cem­ber 2014 and staved off rel­e­ga­tion from the top flight with a play­off vic­tory over Rangers. How­ever, he was dis­missed eight games into the cur­rent cam­paign.

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