LAST Saturday, Oxford United unveiled Gary Waddock as their new head coach and he took charge of his first game away to Southend on Monday evening.
I can see why United chief Ian Lenagan appointed him as the man to succeed Chris Wilder because he knows how to lead a team to success.
Getting Aldershot back into the Football League 2007-8 and Wycombe Wanderers up into League One in 2010-11 are both on his managerial CV.
As there is no guarantee of success in football, to Lenagan this appointment would seem less of a gamble and more of a calculated risk.
Back in January when Wilder and United parted company, I spoke of wanting to see the U’s go for a hungry young manager on the rise, not someone who was established or had been there and done it.
So that’s why the appointment of Gary Waddock doesn’t excite me.
I have worked under Waddock during my time at Wycombe and that’s part of the reason I’m not excited.
On my 34th birthday on October 14, 2009, Wycombe appointed Waddock as the new manager, replacing Peter Taylor, and it didn’t turn out to be the best birthday present I had ever received.
Just like most new managers when they take over, individual meetings with players take place almost immediately and as team captain at the time, I was the first of them to meet with the new gaffer.
In that meeting, he asked for my opinion of the team and where I felt we needed improving. I gave him my honest opinion and truthful answers.
He spoke to me about his ideas, plans and the way he wanted to go forward. He also asked for my help as a senior player and team captain in getting players to believe in him and his methods.
I thought it was a positive meeting at the time, but soon realised it wasn’t – and it proved the theme of our short working relationship.
When Waddock did not pick me it obviously hurt and dented my professional pride, just like it would any player.
I can handle that and never took it personally because he wasn’t the first manager to ever overlook me in their starting XI.
My biggest disappointment was that I felt I should have been treated better than I was, handled differently and given more respect by Waddock and his staff.
I was banished from training with the first team, was made to train with the kids and had to do running sessions on my own on a Saturday morning. That was some of what I thought was unnecessary treatment handed out to me.
They were very ‘old school’, pretty prehistoric methods of excluding someone from your plans, when really all it takes is just a simple conversation between manager and player.
It all boils down to man management and that’s a skill you must have in the modern era of football.
If I saw Gary Waddock tomorrow I would shake his hand, as I bare no grudge against him. In fact as I see it, Wycombe’s loss was St Johnstone’s and Oxford United’s gain.
I hope United also gain from the new appointment, as I would love our handshake to be congratulating him on promotion to League One.