Sunday 29 January 2023 Dublin: 4°C
Laszlo Geczo/INPHO St Pat's boss Tim Clancy.
# Lessons learned
'You learn from every manager': How Hibs experience shaped Tim Clancy's style
New St Patrick’s Athletic boss discusses lessons learned from the past as he bids to take career to next level.

TIM CLANCY HAS been involved in football long enough to know the right way to be a manager.

Terry Butcher isn’t it.

The former England international may have come to symbolise a macho, lionheart attitude when it comes to defenders, primarily because of that famous photo of his bloodied head wrapped in a bandage, but as boss of Hibernian he was a complete disaster.

Clancy witnessed his “horrendous” methods first hand as a player at Easter Road in 2013 when Butcher replaced Pat Fenlon midway through that season.

His influence was felt to such an extent that Hibs plummeted from mid table to suffering relegation.

soccer-scottish-premiership-st-mirren-v-hibernian-st-mirren-park Jeff Holmes Terry Butcher during his ill-fated Hibs spell. Jeff Holmes

“How he spoke to players and how he alienated some people in the squad, particularly the older lads,” Clancy began.

“He ended up getting the club relegated, he got sacked himself, but I remember just from the very first training session to the day I left the club, it was something that stuck in my head that if I was ever going to get an opportunity to be a manager, I’d be the opposite to the way he was.”

So far that rationale has worked for the 37-year-old.

Clancy took Drogheda United to the Premier Division in 2020 and kept the part-time outfit in the top flight last term.

Stephen O’Donnell’s dramatic exit from St Patrick’s Athletic in the days after their FAI Cup win in November quickly led to the Inchicore club turning to Clancy to take the reins.

tim-clancy-with-alan-mathews-before-the-game Tommy Dickson / INPHO Clancy is keen to make the most of a full-time post. Tommy Dickson / INPHO / INPHO

With Pat’s expected to challenge Shamrock Rovers for the title – the signing of striker Eoin Doyle boosting their chances – and European football on the horizon, Clancy has been able to return to full-time football.

He juggled his Drogheda post for the last four years with a job at Musgraves but can now throw himself back into the profession he has known since leaving Ireland for Millwall when he was 18.

“I left school and went straight over to London. I know what football is like, the industry that it is, longevity is very rare. I suppose I had a bit of longevity at Drogheda. I’m not saying I was comfortable there, but it was less pressure than it probably will be at other jobs,” he said.

I think that’s why you get into management, the same with playing, to get to the highest level that you possibly can. I see this opportunity at St Pat’s has given me a chance to see how well I can go and it’s something that you have to back yourself and take these chances when they come along.

“It’s probably a cliche to say you learn from every manager. Stuart McCall was very good at getting over a disappointing result or a moment, He’d deal with it there and then and then it would be forgotten about and on Monday morning it would be smiles and the atmosphere around the place was brilliant.

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“Mixu Paatelainen was frighteningly good at how he wanted his team set up and giving instructions and doing patterns and making sure every single player in the squad knew what their role was and, when they got into the team, that there was no grey areas, just black and white. Everyone knew what their role was.

“I’d speak to Pat Fenlon quite a lot for advice. I’d Pat at Hibs and I worked with him again at Shamrock Rovers. I think the way he speaks to players and treats players and stuff like that is something I’d hope to replicate.”

matty-smith Laszlo Geczo / INPHO Matty Smith's future is up in the air. Laszlo Geczo / INPHO / INPHO

Former Dundee United and Rangers striker Jon Daly has joined Clancy’s coaching staff, the Dubliner returning home having recently been interim manager of Hearts.

Doyle’s arrival from Bolton is a major coup, so too Chris Forrester committing his future, but forward Matty Smith still has options and could follow defender Lee Desmond out the door.

“You understand that with players, that they will always have a look elsewhere, particularly players who aren’t from this country. They come over, do well and then they might say they’ll see what’s out there.

“I’ve spoken to Matty, we’ve made Matty an offer and it’s you have to give the players time, but in the meantime look at other targets as well and that’s sort of where it’s at at the minute.”


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