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The learners’ report is a shortened version of the regular weekly podcast. On this week’s learners’ report Damon and Damian discuss the managers of Bolton, Portsmouth, Aston Villa, and Reading from the Premier League. You can listen to the report by clicking on the link above, while there is also a worksheet here
Transcript: Profile of 4 Premier League Managers – The Dark Horses
Damian Fitzpatrick (DF) and Damon Brewster (DB) discuss the managers of Portsmouth, Bolton, Reading and Aston Villa (November 30th 2006)
DB: Okay this week we have got a new feature, we’re going to look at the ‘dark horses’ in the Premiership League and we’re going to focus today on the managers. What are the dark horses, do you think?
DF: Yeah, these were teams that weren’t really tipped to do very well this season so we’ve got Bolton, Portsmouth, Aston Villa and Reading.
DB: So they are currently in 3rd, 4th, 5th and 7th place respectively, so…
DF: Who would have thought that?
DB: Who would have thought that indeed? And their managers of course, Bolton in 3rd place, Sam Allardyce, can you tell us a little about Sam, ‘Big Sam’?
DF: Yeah well Sam used to play for Bolton. He’s from the Midlands, he’s a very uncompromising manager as yeah, he was an uncompromising and tough defender. He’s been in charge of Bolton now for a good few years and his highest position in the Premier League with them has been 6th. DF: How would you describe Allardyce’s coaching style?
DB: Perhaps getting the most out of his players, finding a good deal in terms of loan players and you have got to say, you have got to give him credit for mixing … he has a lot of nationalities in his team and he seems to get the most out of all of the players.
DF: That’s right. Now next up is the Portsmouth manager, you’re going to talk about Harry Redknapp.
DB: Or ‘Arry. Harry from London, apparently an Arsenal supporter
DF: I knew I didn’t like him.
DB: He was a good winger. Also like Sam he manages to find good deals in the market place. He’s known in fact for his ‘wheeling and dealing’ and he’s also known a little bit for moving between clubs when he … when it suits him. Famously when moving from Portsmouth to Southampton, their arch rivals, and then moving straight back again to Portsmouth.
DB: Indeed. So next in 5th place is Aston Villa and their manager, Martin O’Neill.
DF: Yeah, Martin O’Neill is from Northern Ireland, he was born in Derry and he played for Brian Clough’s Nottingham Forest team, very successfully. He won two Championships and a European Cup. He also played in the 1982 World Cup final for his country Northern Ireland where they did very, very well.
DB: What position did he play?
DF: He was a midfielder a very good midfielder, very cultured, very smart, very intelligent, probably because he also had been to university in Ireland. He then went into management, he took Wycombe, who were a non-league team. He took them into the Football league and then he moved to Leicester, he went, was at Norwich for a short time but he went to Leicester. He took them to the First …to the Premier league. He also won two League Cups with them, before moving to Celtic and he transformed Celtic in his first season he won the treble – he won 6 trophies in all. He also took them to the UEFA Cup final where they lost to Jose Mourinho’s Porto… in a bad-tempered game, I add.
DB: I see, he’s definitely got a good record, hasn’t he? A lot of players, …a lot of teams would like to have him as their manager.
DF: That’s right. He’s at Aston Villa at the moment and he’s starting to transform them as well.
DB: And finally in 7th place is Reading whose manager is Steve Coppell. Steve Coppell was born in Liverpool. He played for Tranmere while he was studying at university actually before moving to Manchester United where he played on the wing – a very good player, obviously very quick player. Unfortunately in 1982 in the World Cup, the World Cup qualifiers, he had a terrible injury on his knee and since that point really his game deteriorated. He went into management and he started with Crystal Palace – didn’t work out, went to Manchester City, back to Crystal Palace again. He moved through the lower divisions, Brentford, Brighton and then he started managing at Reading. Reading he’s brought into the Premier League and what a job he’s done – they’re 7th place and we’re well into the Premiership League. By far the best of the Championship League teams in the Premiership League. He certainly has bouncebackability, he’s a very studious and clever manager – let’s wish him well.
DF: Now, of the 4 teams, the 4 teams that we’ve mentioned as you said, Bolton are 3rd, Portsmouth are 4th Aston Villa 5th and Reading 7th, how do you think they will finish this season?
DB: How do I think they’ll finish? Well, that’s obviously a very difficult question, let me answer it by saying I think Portsmouth may find it difficult to keep up with this pace they’ve had a few, few shaky results recently, not least against Newcastle the last week. I think Bolton will be able to stay up in the top 6. I can see Aston Villa fighting with them for the 5th or 6th spots. Reading perhaps will do well to stay in mid-table but I think they may… may finish above Portsmouth. How about you?
DF: Well, I am going to actually disagree with you a little bit there. I don’t think any of those 4 clubs will be in the top 6 at the end of the season, no. I agree with you I think that Portsmouth don’t have the squad and they’re already suffering from a lot of injuries and I think they will finish in mid table. Reading, I think, will just about stay up this season. Aston Villa they are drawing far too many games and when their injuries start they’ll start sliding down the table as well. Bolton, I have no time for their style of play, I do respect them, I think they might come about 7th or 8th this season. Liverpool, Everton and Tottenham will all come above those teams.
DB: Right, there you have it.
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