Thursday, 8 November 2007

The Admirable Carey

This might sound a bit odd. I found Brian Carey’s press conference after the Wycombe game moving.

What struck me was the dignity of the man. Try to put yourself in his shoes. He has just been removed from his position. How would you feel rolling in to do your job in the morning if you had just been demoted?

Furthermore, this was a very public matter. Everyone with an interest in football knows what has happened, and you will have to face questions about it afterwards. The manner in which he faced these questions impressed me.

As he perched himself on the edge of his desk to answer questions, starting off with a witty comment which put a tense press corps at ease, I was struck by two key facets of his personality.

The first one was his dignity. I’ve used that word before to describe the man; it springs into my mind when discussing him. He has never, even in the most trying times, let his demeanour slip. He’s clearly been churning inside sometimes, but that never changed his behaviour.

The second is a remarkable lack of ego. Life in general and football in particular is heavily peopled with preening peacocks, desperate to brag about the tiniest achievement, always looking to bow their own trumpet. Their appearance to others, their standing amongst their peers, their desire to scramble ahead of the rest, is everything.

It’s a rare pleasure to find a man who doesn’t conform to these standards, but as a relaxed Carey explained his position I realised that he is one of those people. He has said from the outset that his first priority is Wrexham Football Club, and his behaviour over the last few days has shown exactly that. Would you accept a demotion for the good of your employer?

The other thing to come out of this situation as the dust settles is a surprising one. It seems the board might have pulled off a very clever piece of management! In finding an original solution to the problems on the pitch they might manage to hold onto two men whose talents are clearly crucial to the future of the club, albeit in a different capacity.

Rich, my co-commentator, has long suggested that Carey has the potential to be a fine manager in the future, but that he was appointed too soon. If the board’s approach works we might be able to benefit from his maturation.

Of course, Carey was right to point out on Wednesday that nothing is sorted yet. We don’t know who is coming in, and he might decide to bring in his own backroom staff. What will the board would do if their chosen man says he’ll only do the job if the previous manager is not around, looking over his shoulder? I hope it doesn’t come to that, because I suspect it just won’t be a problem. The lack of ego that Carey has shown proves that he’s a big enough man to put service to the club first.

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