McNamara knows how to find the balance between using notes and ad-libbing
JACKIE McNAMARA is a studious taker of notes. Most of it serves to aid him in his role as Dundee United manager, although some of it is stored away for potential future use.
McNamara penned a sitcom four years ago called The Therapy Room that was based on his experiences in football and the characters he had met and endured throughout his career.
One pilot episode was made and screened in an Edinburgh cinema but the rest of the series was never put into production. The script writing has been shelved for the time being – he has more pressing matters to contend with, including Saturday’s League Cup semi-final against Aberdeen – but McNamara is not ruling out returning to it one day.
“I had done that before I had started doing my coaching badges,” he revealed. “It was a sidetrack. I was doing it as a book.
“A lot of people do biographies or autobiographies and it was my way of doing certain things in a certain way – I don’t believe you can do a biography without hurting people. Not if you want to be honest….
“It’s something I might go back to. I have gathered a lot more material since then and certainly dealt with a lot more characters.
“It was escapism for me from dealing with a lot of stuff you don’t like dealing with in management.”
His dressing room team talks, however, are very much off the cuff. “I don’t script them, no,” he added.
“Everything I do or say before to the players or at half-time I don’t write down during the game.
“The stuff I don’t remember I don’t see it as important.”
McNamara has tried to narrow the scope of his team talks to ensure he has his players’ full attention.
“I do team talks, speak to the players on the Friday about how we’ll be playing and speak to them before they go out on the pitch,” he added. “What [I don’t do] is when a manager would go through the whole thing from the tactics board. If he was talking to defence alone the midfield and forwards didn’t have his attention and spent that time looking at their boots.
“I try to get it so I’ve got their attention and know they’re listening, whether it be the two full-backs and who they’re up against, how the strikers should move or the midfield.
“I’ll say other things collectively, such as if something is bothering me. It’s the way I like to do it. I liked that way as a player and you take certain things with you. Whether that’s right or wrong, who knows.”
As he steps up his preparations ahead of his team’s tie at Hampden, McNamara revealed he could consider fielding Ryan McGowan after the former Hearts player signed an 18-month deal after a stint in China.
“We’ve got clearance through for him and we’re happy with that and he’ll come into contention. He’ll be a fantastic signing for us.”
WELLSPOKEN: McNamara’s wise words have had the desired effect this term