Football League Expert & Columnist
No age concern
Peter Beagrie hails the rise of young and hungry managers such as Karl Robinson in League One.
Last Updated: 09/10/11 9:39am
When I look through the list of managers in League One I'm struck by the youth of the guys in charge.
Some of them are still in their thirties - Karl Robinson (31), Lee Bradbury (36), Richie Barker (36), Terry Skiverton (36), Paul Tisdale (38), Lee Clark (38), Paul Dickov (38) and Steve Eyre (39) - with several others in their early forties.
In such company it seems Gary Megson and Phil Brown are the old hands and Les Parry and Mick Wadsworth look like senior citizens!
Over the years we've seen a movement towards tracksuit managers, who do all the coaching and do all the player recruitment as well. With money being so tight in the lower leagues, clubs are looking for bosses who can do everything.
About 10 or 15 years ago we saw a rise in the number of player-managers in the game and we are increasingly seeing teams giving the top job to guys at the end of their playing careers.
That's resulted in a glut of young and hungry coaches and for evidence you only have to look at the top of League One, where Chis Powell's Charlton lead the way.
Charlton backed their man over the summer and he brought in 19 new players who have gelled really well. Powell has selected the same team for the last six league matches and that consistency has borne fruit.
They're top of the league and the club has been rewarded for sticking with one of their great servants as a player. He only scored three goals for them but must have made thousands of tackles during their years in the Premier League.
Chris is one of football's nice guys and he will be hoping to reignite a return to those glory days.
Meanwhile, second-placed MK Dons have a manager who was appointed at the age of 29 and his man-management skills have always stood out.
Karl Robinson is operating on a tight budget, but has created such a good environment at the club that several of his players, who might have chased the dollar elsewhere, have signed new deals to stay with him.
He's overcome the loss of the talismanic Sam Baldock and is still playing a lovely brand of progressive football. That work has seen him linked with the job at Nottingham Forest, but they're currently just five places above MK Dons in the league ladder, so would it really be a step up?
Robinson is well connected and I see him as both a good manager and a lucky manager at this moment in time. Some of his signings have raised eyebrows but they've always come off. At that level, the ability to spot a player is paramount.
I'll be at their game against Oldham, which is live on Sky Sports on Monday night and I look forward to having a chat with both him and Paul Dickov.
Other young managers I could mention include Lee Clark, whose infrastructure at Huddersfield is geared towards the Championship. He has a good relationship with his chairman, who has stood by him to get them out of a tough division, and he has a bright future.
I'll also mention my old pal Uwe Rosler, a typically passionate and organised German. However, I'd be lying if I said he was always the first in training and his towel was out by the time the rest of us arrived!
He'll forgive me a joke at his expense because I know he has a great understanding of the game and is introducing a progressive style of play at Brentford. I was at their midweek win over Charlton and you could see how physically well-prepared the team were.
League One is full of young, hungry managers who are desperate to do well and attract interest from clubs higher up the ladder. If the clubs give them enough help then there's no reason why they won't succeed.
The game of the week so far...
Speaking of MK Dons, I must send a personal thanks to Karl Robinson and his chairman Pete Winkelman who allowed Sky Sports to play a grudge match against the Football League at the Stadiummk this week.
I usually share a studio with Dave Jones, but this week I shared the midfield with him and we worked very well in tandem. I was less impressed with our producer, who was playing left-back and wanted to take the free-kicks on the right. He didn't seem to realise that I take free-kicks, corners, throw-ins and penalties!
Phil Stant and David Wetherall were supposed to represent the Football League, but wisely decided to pull out when they heard that myself and Don Goodman were playing for Sky. That was proved as yours truly tucked away a penalty plus a 35-yarder with swazz (swerve and dip) on it in a 2-1 victory.
With Jones doing most of my running I thought I did well to last 85 minutes before the old hamstring went...
September's Football League Awards
Championship Manager of the Month
Nominees: Tony Mowbray (Middlesbrough), Malky Mackay (Cardiff), Nigel Adkins (Southampton), Nigel Pearson (Hull)
PETER'S PICK: Tony Mowbray - Astute shoestring signings, the introduction of a core of home-grown youngsters and the understanding of the type of football demanded by the supporters of the club he once captained has seen Mowbray labelled the Middlesbrough Messiah! A great month for the Teessiders.
Championship Player of the Month
Nominees: Matthew Bates (Middlesbrough), Ross McCormack (Leeds), Rickie Lambert (Southampton), Jason Shackell (Derby)
PETER'S PICK: Matthew Bates - Matthew Bates has had an outstanding start to the season marshalling the Boro defence. It's fantastic to see after overcoming several career-threatening injuries and his efforts epitomise his drive and desire.
League One Manager of the Month
Nominees: Phil Brown (Preston), Mick Wadsworth (Hartlepool), Martin Allen (Notts County), Chris Powell (Charlton)
PETER'S PICK: Martin Allen - September was a magnificent month for Martin Allen in which his County charges topped the form tables with four wins and a draw. Plus there was a 1-1 friendly result against Juventus to provide the icing on the cake!
League One Player of the Month
Nominees: Scott Flinders (Hartlepool), Neil Mellor (Preston), Gary Madine (Sheff Wed), Leon Clarke (Chesterfield)
PETER'S PICK: Neil Mellor - The Preston forward bagged three braces in a six-goal haul in September, justifying Phil Brown's decision to rebuff approaches for his Mersey marksman.
League Two Manager of the Month
Nominees: Graham Turner (Shrewsbury), Paolo Di Canio (Swindon), Paul Sturrock (Southend), Terry Brown (AFC Wimbledon)
PETER'S PICK: Paul Sturrock - Southend stormed to the summit of League Two in September in real style. Two wins at the end of the month against promotion favourites Rotherham and Shrewsbury yielded six points with seven goals for and none against. Very impressive.
League Two Player of the Month
Nominees: Matt Ritchie (Swindon), Tyrone Barnett (Crawley), Danny Carlton (Morecambe), Michael Timlin (Southend)
PETER'S PICK: Danny Carlton - A five-goal tally, including a brilliant hat-trick against the normally miserly Crawley defence, made it a satisfying month for Danny Carlton. His goalscoring exploits have made sure Morecombe maintained their superb start to the season.
Finally, if we've failed to mention your team in recent weeks, don't forget to send in your views and questions for Peter in the comments box below...