The Irishman talked to GT about the work he had done with Magic Johnson and Kareem Abdul Jabar at the LA Lakers and how they'd won two NBA titles in the three years he was there as a mental fitness coach. He felt his skills were transferrable and Taylor, ever the innovator, was all ears. GT was keen to bring him in to enhance his backroom team, but then he was hospitalised by an abscess in his throat.
“He got ill and Kenny (Jackett) took over and I heard no more about it,” said Cosgrave. “I was watching their results and I saw they had hit a bit of a slump in January. They had slidden down to ninth in the table and then, out of the blue, on March 18, I got a call. It was Graham. He said: ‘Now is the time to bring you in’.”
With a background in basketball, hurling and rugby, the 38-year-old Cosgrave was venturing into new territory, the unforgiving world of English football. His baptism, a dreary fixture at home to Bury, was about as far from life at Staples Center watching the Lakers as you could get.
“We drew 0-0 against Bury and I was furious,” said Cosgrave. “Coming from a rugby and basketball background, 0-0 isn't an option. Graham knew I was furious. There was an international break so I went back to Ireland and got some pals to put together a compilation of hurling clips. I came back and asked Graham if I could see the players on my own. I showed them the clip and asked the 27 players to give me one word to describe what they saw. They came back with adjectives like ‘fit’, ‘together’, ‘skilful’ and ‘lunatics’. I asked them if they brought those attributes to the next match how we would get on? To a man, everyone said ‘we'll hammer them’.”