Talking Sport: Is it ‘out with the old’ in football management?

Rocks boss Jamie Howell / Picture by Tim Hale
Rocks boss Jamie Howell / Picture by Tim Hale
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It’s the one question that’s coming to the fore in football: Is the end nigh for the ‘oldies’? (writes Dean Adams)

David Moyes? Gordon Strachan? Sam Alladyce? No thank you. Julian Nagelsmann and Jamie Howell. Who? What?

After all Bognor missed out on going up... or did they?

Hoffenheim unveiled Nagelsmann as the Bundesliga’s youngest full-time boss in February, dubbed a ‘crackpot idea’ by the media.

Nagelsmann was just 28 and had never coached at senior level, while Hoffenheim were deep in relegation trouble, seven points from safety with 14 games remaining.

Not only did Nagelsmann secure the club’s Bundesliga place, but he has also seen his side move up to third in the table this season and become one of only five teams in Europe’s five major leagues to remain unbeaten, at the time of writing.

Back on these shores are our own Bognor Regis Town of the Ryman Premier. In a small town, it’s a football club that attracts 400-plus for an average home game. But it’s safe, it’s friendly and there’s no big-time Charlies on or off the pitch.

And the club have their own young manager – 39-year-old Jamie Howell was just 32 when he took charge.

Last year he took the club to the FA Trophy semi-finals and the Ryman premier play-offs, narrowingly missing out on Wembley and promotion, while he was also considered 40/1 to fill the vacant managerial vacancy along the coast at Pompey back in 2014.

The Rocks’ promotion miss led to a summer of player departures with players joining so-called ‘bigger’ clubs for more money – and who can really blame them?

After all Bognor missed out on going up... or did they?

After star strikers Jason Prior and Alfie Rutherford departed for local rivals Havant & Waterlooville, Bognor had to rebuild on a much tighter budget than many of their rivals can boast.

But not once did you hear the manager having a moan. In fact, he was quiet in the press. No doubt he would have had thoughts along the lines of “Was last season our big chance?” and “Have I done all I can?” as he sat and pondered the future.

Instead, the highly-thought-of boss quietly went about his business and rebuilt a young squad with the help of the club’s popular coach Darin Killpatrick.

At the time of writing, Bognor are an impressive second in the table and at times this season have topped it - the first time since 2003 they have reached the summit of this division.

Howell and Killpartrick now have their place in Bognor Regis Town Football Club folklore alongside the legendary Jack Pearce.

The enthusiasm of the young, or the experience of the old?

The thought is yours as England get set to appoint Gareth Southgate as the Premier League’s youngest manager, Bournemouth’s Eddie Howe, distances himself from the opportunity at ‘this young stage of his career’.

Follow @deanoadams on Twitter for more talk about Sussex and national sporting matters.

Dean Adams is a sports journalist who features on Sky Sports.

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