The for­mer Mansfield Town man­ager is ea­ger to learn from top bosses

The Football League Paper - - INSIDE: - By Matt Bad­cock

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.”

PIC­TURE: Ac­tion Images

OUT OF THE BOX: Adam Mur­ray was al­ways keen to try new tech­niques at Mansfield. Inset, Derby’s Steve McClaren and Chris Pow­ell

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