Former Irish boss Mick McCarthy proves that old age is no barrier to success with an unbeaten start to his career in Cardiff City. Photo: Nicos Savvides / Sports File
If social media and radio phone-in shows are a barometer, there was no red carpet for Mick McCarthy when he became the manager of Cardiff City 33 days ago was appointed. Disappointment and indifference were the main emotions as a city hurt by the failures of its soccer team shrugged.
A 61 year old who had lasted two months in his previous job and not a game of great importance in his short time Had gained meaning when the Irish manager caused a groan and not a grin.
The mood music is completely different now as Cardiff seems confidently storming down a path after seven unbeaten games under McCarthy, including five straight wins – in a whisper – could lead back to the Premier League.
When he took over last month, Cardiff had lost six in a row and relegation was a real concern. McCarthy’s initial job was to stabilize a sinking ship, and most importantly, make sure they stayed in the division. They have now escaped the championship as beating Bournemouth tonight could put them in the play-offs.
Some are surprised at how well McCarthy did in Wales. But those who worked with him expected it as he ignored the doubters and proved that his age was no barrier to success.
« That reaction wouldn’t have bothered Mick one bit, » says Stephen Ward, who is currently working for plays one of McCarthy’s former clubs, Ipswich Town, but has a warm relationship with McCarthy, going back to their days at Wolves.
« I’m never surprised when it comes to Mick. He just has that aura on himself. He has always been successful at promoting teams. » He takes a team back to basics, works hard, runs and fights for every ball. You can see the Cardiff players have reacted to that. “What I found with Mick at Wolves was his ability to get the most out of his roster. We didn’t have the most talented squad at Wolves, but they brought out the best in us as a player. And Cardiff is the same. «
Daryl Murphy worked twice with McCarthy in Sunderland and Ipswich. Murphy will be 38 on his next birthday and will continue his own career at Waterford FC in the 2021 season. He is keen to understand the importance of age and he thinks there is clearly a place for 60 years … something like McCarthy.
« It makes me laugh when people say he’s a dinosaur. See his track record of how clubs are promoted. I know the trend is towards younger managers now, but if you want to get promoted you need someone like Mick, someone who was there and did it, « says Murphy.
» And don’t be surprised if he brings Cardiff into the play-offs. They are well on their way, I can imagine the place is very busy compared to a few weeks ago. «
Former Sunderland player Stephen Elliott is now working in the media so that they understand how comments on social media or radio waves can access and set the agenda. He’s impressed with the way McCarthy handled it.
« Mick isn’t a dinosaur. He’s only 61 years old, he’s not old, he still has a clue about the game and he’s got good people around, like Terry Connor, a great coach, « says Elliott.
» Some of the comments are very harsh. It’s easy to say the game went on, but it didn’t. You can come up with any tactic you want, but you need players to buy into that tactic, you need a relationship with the players and there is no one better than Mick. It’s hard and lazy to throw away labels and I’m glad he did well. «
How McCarthy turned a losing side into a winning habit is the big puzzle, but those who played under him claim it was a simple recipe.
» I know how he works. He would have gone in there in Cardiff, would have taken the place, raised the players, put an arm around some players who might be lacking in confidence because they had a hard time, and he just feeds you that trust; he just brings that Best of the players, ”Murphy feels.
“ I know people look in from the outside and say, “How does he do it?” He just gets the best out of the players, it’s that simple. He makes you feel like you’re so comfortable and you know what you’re getting with Mick. I’ve always said he’s the best in the business at man management.
« I loved working with Mick because I wanted to give everything for him, because I knew he’d pay back that you don’t want to disappoint him, and Cardiff benefits, « added Murphy. Stephen Elliott felt more personally attached to his boss in Sunderland.
« When you play for Mick, you first and foremost want to be good for him. You can talk about tactics, and tactics are important, but it doesn’t matter what your tactic or philosophy is. They need players willing to do what is asked of them, and Mick has that in abundance, « says Elliott, who won a Sunderland championship under McCarthy.
» The Mick thing is on Compared to other managers, that he is always honest with you and that is when you are fine or terrible. He tells you how it is. I was there with managers who dropped you and said, « You will be your chance get, you’re doing everything right « . Maybe tell you what you want to hear. When he dropped me he was brutally honest, but you know where you are and you appreciate that.
» He had a decent squad in Cardiff, better than the league position suggested when it was taken over. He went in and made the players believe. «
Ward also speaks of the simplicity of McCarthyism. » He knew how to lift a dressing room, « he says. » He simplifies things. That year in When we got promoted to Wolves, we had a bad saying, but Mick kept it simple: work hard. ”
Current Cardiff player Will Vaulks said this week that McCarthy made City » awful to play, « one Boast that Murphy can support.
« When I was in Ipswich with Mick, guys I knew in other clubs said they hated coming over to us and it’s a compliment to say that » says Murphy.
Elliott was on a McCarthy team that was promoted from the Premier League and he can see a possible replay. « Cardiff needed an immediate response, they fell off the table, » says Elliott.
« Now you wouldn’t get behind Mick to keep this run up until the end of the season Get it. «
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