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

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