Billy Dearden - Interview with a Stags fan

By Mick Clarke & Mark Stevenson
Last updated : 26 January 2002
When Billy Dearden first came to Mansfield, what were your thoughts about him?
To be honest I, like I suspect many other stags fans, thought the chairman had gone for the "cheapest option" if you remember he took charge of the Stags on a temporary basis following the dismissal of George Foster. Bill wasn't deemed good enough then by the chairman so why now ?
Having said that the people of Mansfield have always had a soft spot for Billy he's surely one of the nicest blokes in football isn't he ?

What do you think Dearden's strong points as a Manager are?
I have the greatest respect for Bill's knowledge of the game, it is no secret that many of the "big names" in football respect Bill's opinions. I have yet to read a bad thing said about him from anyone in the footballing world. He has a great talent for spotting players and recognising ability (Chris Greenacre being a classic example of this)

Why do you think Dearden did so well at Mansfield?
It took bill 3 years to turn the corner at Field Mill. he was famously quoted on appointment "we have a lot to do, judge me on my 3rd season" (many doubted him even up to last season but boy was he right !!) This is no disrespect to him at all but I strongly feel that The appointment of Watkiss as his assistant made the difference. This was surely the "dream team" for the Stags, in terms of management. Stuart had worked with all the youngsters at the Mill as youth team coach and knew them "inside out", combined with Bill's obvious knowledge of the game they couldn't fail could they ??

What do you think Dearden will do to the Notts County team to get them playing well?
Bill is a football "purist" he believes in the passing game, I'm sure he'll be looking to build a side around players with the ability to play the game the way he feels it should be played. If you've any kick and run merchants I'm pretty sure they'll be "looking elswhere" before to long. I'm not sure if you have any talented youngsters waiting in your reserves, but if they can play, Bill's not afraid to put them in the side.

What do you think Bill should do to help him and the team at Notts?
Bill wasn't achieving resultsperformances with Mark Kearney as his assistant, was it a coincidence that the results changed when Stuart Watkiss became his No 2 ? I feel sorry for Bill to have to come to a team, and have his backroom staff chosen for him as seems to be the case at Notts.
As I said before Bill is very well respected, but with this comes (in my opinion) his major flaw HE'S TOO BLOODY NICE !!! He work's best with an assistant like Watkiss who isn't afraid of upsetting the players. If you look on matchdays Bill studies the game, leaving the shouting to his no 2. If Brazil isn't capable of motivating the players during the game who's going to do it ?

What does Billy need to do to bring success to Notts?
At the Stags Bill struggled with the attitude of the "seasoned pro's" they showed little commitment and felt that their names were on the teamsheet as a matter of course (ring any bells?). Towards the end of last season Bill decided he'd had enough and threw the "kids" in, with nothing to lose (we were destined for mid table) this was a master stroke. The youngsters, hungry to keep their places in the team were a revelation. If you have a decent youth policy I'm sure Bill will introduce some "new blood" to the team. Perhaps this is what the "regulars" need.
It has to be said that it did take Bill, the 3 years he said he needed to turn round the Stags, but you have to bear in mind, when he took over at Mansfield, I think we only had something like 9 contracted players. Looking at your squad, you have to ask yourselves why are you struggling? I'm sure Bill has the knowledge, and your players have the ability to stay up. Your players are obviously suffering in the confidence stakes at the moment and if your assistant isn't a motivator (not Bills greatest asset either) this is an area you need to address (like now !!)

What were your thoughts on his appointment at Notts?
I'll be honest I was a bit miffed at our chairman. Bill has not been the first member of staff to walk away due to the lack of consultation towards the end of his contract. The annoying thing is that he always says things like "I was just about to start negotiations" yea right !!! I think he recognised the ability of Watkiss and saw it as a good opportunity to make a "money saving" internal promotion. In the short term Watkiss will carry on where Bill left off, time will tell if he can do the things behind the scenes that Billy did so well.

Any other comments to make please make here ....
I hope Bill has enough time to turn around your fortunes, if he does next season could be a cracker ! the chance for both sets of fans to have local games against Notts, Stags, Spires, Rotherham, Sheff Wed etc is what we've been missing for years. Lets hope we don't meet in the 3rd instead !!

Thanks to Mick Clarke Also known as - Mick the Stag

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