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Life begins at 30

1 Beitrag in diesem Thema

Life begins at 30

By Paul Fletcher

Thirteen years ago, he was a member of Manchester United's FA Youth Cup winning team.

He played alongside Ryan Giggs, David Beckham, Nicky Butt and Gary Neville. A promising career as a defender beckoned but things never really worked out for Chris Casper at United and he eventually transferred to Reading. Then at 24 his leg was broken in two places in a tackle by Cardiff's Richard Carpenter, and two years later his career as a professional footballer was over.

Fast forward four years and Casper is close to becoming the youngest manager in the Football League. Casper, Burnley-born and the son of former Clarets manager Frank, has now been in charge of the Shakers for four games - winning twice, drawing once and losing the other. Last Friday his team defeated Rushden & Diamonds 2-0 to record their first away win in the League this season.

On Sunday, Casper bumped into Gary Neville, who is recovering from a foot injury and took time out to wish his former United colleague all the best. "I don't think I'll be able to afford him yet," was Casper's wry assessment.

There has been no firm word on when a decision on who will succeed Graham Barrow will be made - and so Casper remains in temporary charge, hoping to get his chance permanently.

"It has been a really good experience and I have really enjoyed myself," said Casper. "I don't know how it will work out as far as getting the job goes but I will give it my best shot."

After Casper was forced to retire he accepted a coaching position with Team Bath for the 2002-03 season - the year the team reached the first round proper of the FA Cup. He watched world-class athletes training at Bath's top-class facilities, learning from their dedication and discipline.

In 2003 he became youth-team coach at Bury and after the departure of Barrow and his assistant Ray Mathias, was given the chance to show what he could do.

"It is different dealing with experienced professionals," said Casper. "But as with any job you have just got to try and be yourself. Things have to change a little bit, you have to have faith and confidence and take it from there. You have to believe in yourself and that what you are doing is right as well as putting the hard work in."

Casper has no intention of imitating the management technique of his former boss Sir Alex Ferguson, wisely believing that people would see through it immediately. He has been in contact with some of the key backroom staff at United - Mike Phelan, Eric Harrison and Jim Ryan - learning from what they can tell him. But more than anything Casper is determined to make his own mark on management by remaining true to himself.

"I said when I took the job over that I would not be afraid to make decisions - what I don't want to do is die wondering," added Casper. "I'll always know that if things don't work out at least I did it the way I wanted to do it."

And Casper has undoubtedly shown he is prepared to make changes. Bury lined up in a 4-4-2 formation last Friday - ditching the 3-5-2 set-up featured over recent seasons. Casper had worked on it all week in training, making sure his players understood what was required. The 30-year-old believes in a no excuses policy - preparing his players as well as possible so that they have no excuse or nothing to blame if they don't perform.

If Bury keep winning Casper may well leave his chairman with no excuses but to make him the youngest manager in the Football League.


Eigener Thread, betrifft ja nicht umbedingt Manchester United. Gampern, ich warte trotzdem auf einen Kommentar deinerseits.

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