The former Mansfield Town manager is eager to learn from top bosses
HAND WASHING, pillow talk and date nights – Adam Murray certainly went the extra mile in search of ‘one per cents’ at Mansfield Town.
The 35-year-old walked away from Field Mill last month proud of how his first job in management had gone.
But he also knows that football doesn’t stand still.
So, in the three weeks since leaving a club where h spent more than 14 years of his life as player, captain, assistant and boss, the former midfielder has been picking the brains of Football League minds.
“As a young coach or manager, the way the game is moving, you’ve got to try to stay ahead of the pace if you can,” Murray told The FLP. “I try to think a step ahead.
“I didn’t want to dwell on it or say I’m going to have a break. I wanted to get straight back in. So, the day after I left Mansfield I went to see Nathan Jones at Luton.
“I sat with him, Mick Harford and Paul Hart. They gave me a real insight into how one of the bigger clubs at our level work.
“Then, Steve McClaren and Chris Powell at Derby allowed me to go in there last week, see the detail they do and how they approach games. That’s knowledge you can’t buy. You can’t read it in a book or look it up on the internet.
“This week, I’ve been in with Burton. Again, it’s been good to see other ideas, how people do things and pick their brains really.
“I’ve only just turned 35, so the more I learn at this age, the more it will stand me in good stead in the future.”
In his time in charge of the Stags, he turned them from relegation battlers to a side flirting with the play-offs last season, as well as handing debuts to youth players after re-launching the academy.
“Even in a short space of time that’s bearing fruit,” he said. “We managed to give six or seven kids who have come through the youth system their first team debuts. So, the infrastructure we put in is something I’m really proud of.
“To take a club scrapping at the bottom of League Two and establish them as a team people expect to be in the play-offs is the biggest thing I take from it because it was a lot of hard work.”
Some of his methods were unique as he tried to maximise every area. Players were taught to wash their hands properly to cut back on illness. They took their own pillows for overnight stays and got to know each other as well as possible.
“When I went into it, I said I didn’t want to be mundane,” he said. “If you’re doing an interview, don’t say 95 per cent of the things every manager is going to come out with it. I thought ‘What’s the point?’ You might as well put a tape on every weekend.
“Because we didn’t have fantastic resources, we looked at everything where we could get an extra one per cent. We did things a little bit out of the box, but it worked and got us to a place where we probably shouldn’t have been.
“We taught the lads how to wash their hands properly to try to limit the effect of picking up bugs.
“We pushed the vitamins because, when you get to this stage of the season, you do lose players through illness, which would harm us.
“For away trips, everybody had to take their own pillow because we knew it might give them a better quality of sleep.
“Then, at the start of the season, we had ‘Date Night’. The players had a minute to sit with each other before moving on. It was basically unloading your soul on to the opposite person, so they could get to know you and learn what makes you tick.
“We did lots of team building and, looking back now, it did give us the edge to go from the team that were relegation favourites to a team now with an expectancy to be in the play-offs.”
Having spent so much of his career at Mansfield, Murray is motivated to take a challenge at a club where he has no links.
“We’ve come away from Mansfield 15 or 16 games into the season, but myself and my staff are firing on all cylinders and we’ve got a lot to give,” he said. “I don’t want to be on my backside watching games on Saturday. I’m ready to go.”
OUT OF THE BOX: Adam Murray was always keen to try new techniques at Mansfield. Inset, Derby’s Steve McClaren and Chris Powell