Thursday, 11 November 2010

The Secret of Their Success…

Craig Levein, Eddie Turnbull and Craig Brown at Hampden Park

The Management: Scotland’s Great Football Bosses was launched at Hampden Park on Wednesday 3 November in a fanfare of press attention as authors Michael Grant and Rob Robertson were joined by Scotland boss Craig Levein, former Scotland and current Motherwell manager, Craig Brown, and Hibs, Aberdeen and Queen’s Park legend, Eddie Turnbull.

Sky TV. BBC. STV. The Press Association. Thirty-five journalists from every top Scottish newspaper and photographers galore. The media furore at Hampden wonderfully reflected the momentous nature of the book’s subject matter. Never before has a book tackled the subject of Scotland’s extraordinary football managerial success, questioned why and how Scotland has produced so many of the very finest managers ever to be associated with the game and so exhaustively researched and interviewed so many key characters in search of the answer. And the result? One of the finest sports books to appear this decade; indeed, The Management is one of the finest sports books to have emerged in British publishing in living memory. Hyperbole? Have a read and I challenge you to find me many better. The scope and breadth of the subject matter is vast, the skill with which it is relayed is exceptional, and the relentless fascination that it engenders has you turning page after page after page. It is a truly enthralling story, one that goes beyond football, beyond the confines of Scottish club and international management and delves into the very heart of Scottish life and society, into the very heart of the Scottish psyche; it is a story that seeks out answers from the depths of Lanarkshire mines and Clyde shipyards to the glamorous corridors of Old Trafford, Anfield, Highbury and Stamford Bridge. With interviews ranging from the great men themselves, to the players who served under them, the men who assisted them, and to the family members who knew them best of all, no stone has been left unturned as Grant and Robertson seek to answer a question that has burned on a thousand lips since the halcyon days of Busby, Shanks and Stein, and which continues today as Sir Alex Ferguson’s wonderful achievements forge a path that a new generation of Scottish managers hope to emulate.

At the Hampden press launch, Levein, Brown and Turnbull were each in turn asked for their own opinions on why Scotland has produced so many star managers – and whether we will continue to see their like again. As each man threw up their own analyses – based on traditions of hard-work, honesty, leadership, team ethic and hardness brought to bear by their backgrounds and upbringing – it was intriguing to realise that each of their individual insights are covered and examined in detail within the pages of The Management. It is a spellbinding read, one that is set to become a classic, and has already received a swathe of glowing reviews:

‘Scotland’s record as a producer of outstanding team mangers dwarfs that of any other country in the world. This excellent book provides vivid and fascinating insights into that remarkable distinction’ – Hugh McIlvanney

‘the scale of this book is vast… wonderful, memorable and moving… intoxicating reading’ – The Scotsman

‘a seminal tome… fascinating’ – Daily Record

‘Superb’ – Daily Mail

‘A great book – very entertaining and well researched’ – David Moyes