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No substitute for coaching experience

Could it be more than coincidence that the two clubs who lead football's Premier Division at the end of the first half of the season North Village and PHC are coached by two players who have more professional experience in the last 20 years than any other on the Island.

Shaun Goater was a superstar during Manchester City's Championship campaign that led to promotion to the Premier League where he continued to show some silky skills, no more than during the club's memorable defeat of arch city rivals Manchester United, a match in which the Bermudian banged in two goals.

Kyle Lightbourne didn't quite have the same impact in the English League, but don't tell that to Walsall fans who named him 'Killer' following his rise as the club's top goalscorer.

He also enjoyed a brief spell in the Premier League with Coventry City.

And the coaching knowledge that both gleaned from their days in the UK has obviously reaped rewards on their return to the Island.

Village are nearing the powerhouse team they were in seasons past, thanks mainly to the leadership of Goater, and PHC have put plenty of silverware in the cupboard since Lightbourne took over the reins three seasons' ago.

It could be argued that good players don't always make good coaches, but that notion has been dispelled in recent years.

Just take a look at the English Premier League and note how many of the clubs are under the guidance of former top players.

Chelsea are coached by Carlo Ancelotti, a former Italian international and AC Milan player, and Roberto Mancini (Manchester City) played in the same Italian team during his days with Sampdoria.

Two former Manchester United stalwarts, Steve Bruce and Welsh international Mark Hughes pull the strings at Sunderland and Fulham respectively.

Even veteran United manager Sir Alex Ferguson played the game at a professional level with Glasgow Rangers.

In fact, almost of the Premiership clubs are now coached by players who have turned out for leading British clubs.

The wily Harry Redknapp, who played alongside Bermuda's Clyde Best at West Ham in the late '60 and early 70s, has enjoyed phenomenal success as a coach with almost every club he's coached. It's no different with Tottenham this season.

Bolton's boss Owen Coyle played for that same team when he wasn't donning the Irish shirt, newly-appointed Newcastle manager Alan Pardew played for Crystal Palace, Blackpool's Ian Holloway turned out for Queen's Park Rangers, Stoke City's Tony Pulis played for Bristol Rovers, Everton's David Moyes was a pro with Celtic, fellow Scot Alex McLeish, now coaching Birmingham, played for Aberdeen and Scotland, Wigan's Robert Martinez was a member of a successful Spanish side, Zaragoza, and Wolves' Mick McCarthy was an Irish international during his days at Millwall.

Perhaps the only exceptions to the league are Arsenal's Arsene Wenger, Liverpool's Roy Hodgson, Aston Villa's Gerard Houllier and West Ham's Aram Grant, who may have played at some stage of their careers but not at the top level.

The point worth noting is that many of the current day managers/coaches learned the trade while serving under coaches before them.

And of the would-be professionals who have acquired the Level One coaching certificate, very few have been hired by the leading clubs.

Goater and Lightbourne have now demonstrated in Bermuda there's no substitute for experience.

The professional approach with which they became accustomed has now rubbed off on the amateurs who are under their wing.

Will the players follow the tactics and instructions handed down by the best two Bermudian players of the modern day?

If they do, chances of any team below Village and PHC catching them appear to be very slim.

* * * *

IT was no surprise that so many turned up for the memorial service yesterday to pay tribute to one of Bermuda's legendary sailors.

Jordy Walker, who passed away last weekend, might have contributed more to a sport which he had been involved in for most of his life, than any other Bermudian.

I didn't know Jordy well but whenever we met his passion for sailing shone through.

His achievements both on and off the water are too long to list.

He competed at the Olympics, and later was Bermuda's team manager at the same Games, he was a former Commodore of the Royal Bermuda Yacht Club where he was responsible for ridding the club's age old prejudicial traditions, he helped revamp the King Edward VII Gold Cup, served on the World Match Racing Association committee, help the growth of the IOD fleet, played an instrumental role in the Newport to Bermudas Race, and was the longest serving member of the Bermuda Olympic Association and that's just a few of his contributions.

No wonder he was so highly respected.

The sport will miss him as will many others.


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Published December 17, 2010 at 1:00 am (Updated December 17, 2010 at 6:43 am)

No substitute for coaching experience

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