Neale Fenn is currently the Manager of Longford Town Football Club. He is an ex-Tottenham, Cork City, Bohemians, Dundalk and Shamrock Rovers striker to mention a few of his clubs.
We recorded this on a few months back, on the lead up to Christmas in fact, in the off-season and dived into Neale’s career, lessons learned during that period, and also talked in detail about his move into football management.
As a Longfordian, it was a great treat to chat with Neale, even if he is a Spurs fan.
We covered a lot in the hour and it was a great learning and insight into how Neale has been developing as a manager.
Topics discuss during the show include:
- Not having Management as part of his plan when playing
- Starting Coaching Badges toward the end of his career
- Assistant Manager Role with Layton Orient igniting an interest in Management
- Crisis Management in the role & having a low expectation
- Early Career & Big Breaks
- Ambitions growing up as Spurs and Enfield supporter
- Playing Organized football at Under 11s
- Scouted by Spurs and managing to keep moving up the ages with Spurs
- Absorbing football & practicing non-stop – love playing football
- Starting to stand out more as he moved up grades
- Having natural talent and more ability
- Confidence from playing well
- Having a belief in his own ability & knowing a great performance was in his own hands
- Leaving school at 16 after being offered the 2 year apprenticeship and know this was what he wanted to do
- Scoring goals and getting to the FA youth cup final
- Pressure having a positive impact on performance
- Learning from Les Ferdinand, Teddy Sheringham and Gary Mabbutt
- Memories of a first team debut against Man united at Old Trafford in 1997
- Contacted by Agents and getting boot deals thrown at him afterward
- The Dream Contract – signing a 5-year deal with Gerry Francis
- Dealing with an injury and keeping positive
- Playing for Ireland was a no brainer
- Regrets? Yes, many
- Becoming a training ground footballer so looking for new opportunities
- A new start with Peterborough
- Football is just a job? The love of the game always there
- Dealing with the mental side of the game while out of the team
- Moving to the League of Ireland – A surprise move?
- Making a big impact in the 3 years in Cork
- From Dundalk to retirement to Shamrock Rovers
- First ever interview for the Longford Town FC job
- Pithing for the job and waiting for the news!
- Leadership & Management Styles:
- Playing the way he wanted them to play!
- Motivating players and balancing expectations
- Creating a philosophy that he believed in and where this came from
- Bending the approach when needed
- Balancing winning & possession football
- Learning from last season – trying to win every game
- Developing Patience and waiting for the right opportunity
- Challenges with recruitment, part-time football, facilities
- Approaches for preparation – video analysis once per week
- Qualities in other leaders?
- Pat Dolan – knowledge of everyone as a standout
- Pat Fenlon & Damian Richardson – determination
- Michael O’Neil – having the same view of the game
- Learning from others but making your own decision in the end
- The Book recommendation:
- A Brave New World – Inside Pochettino’s Spurs – https://amzn.to/2UBAguP
- @NealeFenn – Twitter
- LinkedIn – Neale Fenn
- The Coaching School – Path2Pro – https://www.path2pro.com/
Thanks for listening to the show.
It would be great if you checked out other episodes, or signed up to the weekly newsletter.