Working With Ray Lewington:
“We believe we have something to offer in terms of coaching, our ability to organise a team and man-manage players, we believe in that. I’ve got no idea how that’s going to go down with this particular group of players because I don’t know enough about them, we have to find that out and do the very best we can to bring the players along with us and buy the message we’re selling.
“We believe strongly we have a good message to sell, and if we’re lucky the players will also think it’s a good message and we’ll be able to bring about the changes we’d like to bring. That’s no reflection on anyone who has come before, but if you’ve got a clear philosophy about how you want your team to play, it takes some time to sell that philosophy.
“Both Ray and I are very encouraging coaches, we coach more by saying “well done”, than “that’s something you shouldn’t do”.”
Meeting Lewington For The First Time:
“If you go back to the very first meeting it was when he was playing for London Schools’ Under-14s and I was coaching them at Barn Elms, that was the first time. I was shipped in by the FA to do a coaching session with them.
“The second time was when he took his preliminary badge, I was sent by the FA to examine the course. He and Ray Wilkins were two of the star men on that preliminary badge course. We bumped into each other every now and again, and I met him to work at Fulham. I went on my own and there was Ray. He’d been laterally brought up to work in the first-team, Chris Coleman had brought him up. We made contact together, I’ve always admired him as a coach and we got on well.
“I moved on, but when I got to England there was an opportunity to choose a coach and I chose him, luckily he came with me and then that carried on into Crystal Palace. Eight of the last years we worked together, four years at England and four years at Palace.
“He’s someone whose ideas are absolutely in tandem with my own, someone who knows the way of working, and he will make life a lot easier for me to get the wheels rolling.
“Luckily the lure of the pitch, the siren song from the mermaid encouraged him as well and next thing we know, we’re here!”