Joe Cole of West Ham United under pressure from Coventry City's Daire Doyle during the second leg of the 1999 FA Youth Cup final. EMPICS Sport

Memories of facing Cole and Carrick for one of the League of Ireland's newest managers

Daire Doyle is the guest on Ep. 14 of The Football Family.

AS HE PREPARES for his first full season as Longford Town manager, Daire Doyle joined us as the guest on Ep. 14 of The Football Family.

The latest instalment of the podcast is now available to The42 members.

Doyle discussed how he’s been adjusting to management since taking over from Neale Fenn in August, as well as revealing his objectives for the 2020 season in Longford.

The 39-year-old Dubliner also retraced his steps back to his days at Coventry City, for whom he played in the 1999 FA Youth Cup final.

Unfortunately for the Sky Blues, they came up against a very promising West Ham United team in the decider. A Hammers side that included Joe Cole and Michael Carrick ran out 9-0 aggregate winners over the two legs.

“They were a superb side and we were actually a really good side in youth football then,” said Doyle. “I think we won the U19 league that year, we got to the FA Youth Cup final, and not many teams beat us. We beat a lot of really good teams that year.

“What we found when it came to playing West Ham at the time with Carrick and Cole, they didn’t really play youth football. They sort of bypassed that, so when we played West Ham earlier in the year in a league game, I think it was 2-1 possibly or 1-1. It was quite close.

“Listen, they did teach us a lesson on the night but it was a great experience. We played at Highfield Road in the first leg and there was maybe 20,000 at it. The game at Upton Park had to be delayed by half an hour, there was so many people looking to come in that the place was full.

“They’re great memories, and actually in the summer there we had a reunion. We went down to West Ham’s training ground and we played against the same West Ham team. It was a great day… it was really good to see some lads who I hadn’t seen in years and years.”

Doyle, a Liverpool fan who went on to play under Reds legend Jan Molby at Kidderminster Harriers, joined Coventry in 1998 when they were a very established Premier League side. 

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“They had been in the top division in England from the mid-60s when Jimmy Hill took over,” he said of his former club, who currently sit in fourth place in League One. “They were a big club. Every game at Highfield Road was sold out, there was 24,000 at every single game.

“There was massive internationals at the club — Magnus Hedman, Roland Nilsson, Dion Dublin, Noel Whelan, Darren Huckerby, Robbie Keane, Mustapha Hadji, Youssef Chippo, George Boateng, Gary McAllister. It was just filled with top-class players.

“They were a massive club and it’s sad to see them sort of going homeless to a point, having played in Northampton and now actually they’re playing in Birmingham while Wasps play in the ground, the Ricoh, in Coventry.

“It’s sad to see how it is but they seem to be doing well this season. You’d be hopeful that they can get back to at least the Championship and maybe kick on from there.”

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