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Story posted: Friday, 19th February 1988

Head to head
Story courtesy of Burton Mail
Embittered Glen West opened his heart to the Mail this week after his shock sacking by Gresley Rovers.
West told how he was given the news by Rovers boss Frank Northwood the day after Gresley’s 1-0 Banks’s League Cup defeat by Tamworth – ironically one of the Amington based coach former clubs.

“Frank phoned me up and his actual words were: ‘Glen, we’ve got to part company.’ In other words, he was blaming me for our last two results. Not that there’s anything new about that – he’s blamed me every time we’ve lost this season.

“I was pretty shocked. I feel very down about it because I thought a lot of Gresley Rovers and I thought a lot of the players. But I’ve got to admit that, over the last six weeks, I haven’t been very happy about certain events and I’d thought of resigning.

“I mentioned this to one or two people at the club and they tried to persuade me to change my mind, so I said I’d stick it out to the end of the season – then this happened. I feel that Frank has used me as a scapegoat after the last couple of results. And it’s my belief that the wrong man has been sacked – Frank should go.

“He told me after Saturday’s game that Tamworth looked the fitter side. But the real difference was that they had a settled side and we hadn’t.

“Frank’s told me I don’t train the players hard enough but most of them play at least twice a week and sometimes three times – they couldn’t be fitter than they are now. What they lack is an understanding that can only be built up if you train together with the same squad over a period of time.

“Such a lot of obstacles have got in my way – I never knew which players were in the team the following Saturday because they were coming and going so quickly. It was impossible to work on any particular aspect of the game because you’d get a certain player to do a certain thing and then he’d be out of the team.

“Frank has so little patience – one bad performance and he’ll change the side. But judging from the way we started the season I feel I’d done little wrong. Every team goes through it’s bad patches – but a side like Rovers doesn’t become a bad one overnight. It was changing for changing’s sake.

“He’s got a really good bunch of players at Gresley but I wonder if he realises it. It’s only their talent that’s carried them this far because they’ve been messed about something chronic.

“Don’t get me wrong – Frank’s brought good players into the club. You can’t criticise him for that. You can never knock his record or his dedication. He absolutely lives and breathes football and he gives so much to the club it’s unbelievable. But you have to question the way he handles players.

“Franks accused me of being too soft and being a shoulder to cry on. In some respects he’s right – but that can often be a good thing. The more feedback you get from players the better.

“But Frank’s idea is to train them hard and let them know who’s boss all the time. I’ve been awfully surprised that they’ve stuck it as long as they have. I’ve played under some tremendous managers and some tremendous coaches but Frank’s never been in that situation. It was his decision to sack me, though, I didn’t resign. The team’s got to two semi-finals, did well in the FA Vase and near the top of the league – I don’t feel I’ve done a lot of wrong. I’d love to see Gresley win something this season – but I just can’t see it happening.”

Rovers boss Northwood was last night “surprised and disappointed” at his former coach’s outburst.

“I spoke to Glen on Sunday and he said he’d been expecting to be asked to leave. His
parting words were: “We’ll always be friends and we’ll have a drink together sometime.”

“I’m very disappointed to hear him saying these things about me now, and especially that he suggested that the wrong man has been sacked. The fact is that Gresley Rovers are totally behind Frank Northwood, We’ve come from the doldrums to where we are now, and that’s not down to Glen West or Jeff Bourne or Roger Davies or any other previous coach at the club. It’s been a lot of hard work.

“These people have come to the club as assistants to me and they’ve all been after my job instead of doing their own. I’ve yet to see any of them bring a decent player to the club.

“And despite what Glen says about my relationship with the players, there isn’t one who is unhappy and wants to leave the club.

“As for not fielding a settled side, it’s very difficult. I’ve got players like Jon Laws who’s one of the best midfield players in the league but very inconsistent.

“I had a meeting with the players a week ago and they all felt Glen didn’t train them hard enough. If you’re a shoulder to cry on you’re not a good coach. If a player can take the easy way out he will. Glen West wasn’t good enough for the job and that’s that. He thinks he’s a coach but he’ll never have the bottle to be a manager.

“People like Glen West are never going to hold me back. I know where I’m going and I’m going to get there.”

Rovers chairman Peter Hall last night gave Northwood the full backing of the club’s committee.

“The committee is totally behind Frank – his record speaks for itself. We haven’t won anything yet but we’re on the verge of it and that’s all down to his management.

“Glen West wasn’t prepared to train the reserves which I didn’t approve of and I know that he was at odds with one or two of the players. As coach he should have been working for Gresley Rovers. Frank’s right when he says the players could be fitter.”
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