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Brown: People say there's a mountain to climb but people climb mountains every day

THE Billy Steel Lounge inside Dens Park was bathed in sunshine yesterday, but for one moment the atmosphere inside the room threatened to go ice cold.

John Brown settles into his first press conference  as Dundee manager alongside chief executive and friend, Scot Gardiner. Pictures: SNS
John Brown settles into his first press conference as Dundee manager alongside chief executive and friend, Scot Gardiner. Pictures: SNS

John Brown was being unveiled as Dundee's interim manager until the end of the season and seemed to bristle at a particular line of questioning.

Jaw jutting and heckles up, it seemed for a second as if the man known universally as Bomber was going to reprise the famous, if somewhat chilling, Joe Pesci speech from Goodfellas.

“What do you mean I’m old school? What does that mean?” he asked one radio reporter, who, to his credit, quickly reassured Brown that it was meant as a compliment, extolling the new man’s reputation as a coach and manager who quickly instills discipline in his players. Brown accepted the explanation and the room quickly defrosted. “Your hairstyle’s old school,” he added with a smile.

As a coach of some standing,  Brown clearly offers much more than the shouting and bawling sergeant major he is often perceived as but, given the circumstances, it might not be the worst thing to happen to Dundee  if Brown is able to use fear to motivate them in the weeks and months ahead.

There will be no bedding-in period for the new manager. Dundee are 15 points adrift at the foot of the Clydesdale Bank Premier League with just 11 games remaining and chances are they will  not survive. But it is not an entirely hopeless situation. Both Hearts and  St Mirren, the teams in 10th and 11th  in the table respectively, are enduring some fairly rotten league form, and  a win or two for Brown’s men – starting with St Johnstone at home tomorrow – might put a seed of doubt in the minds of those above them.

Brown has not managed at first-team level since leaving Clyde more than three years ago but, as a short-term appointment, might just be the man to get more from a group of players who have won only three league games all season. As he pointed out, the starting line-up in Gordon Strachan’s first match as Scotland manager earlier this month contained four players who had developed under his watchful eye during his time as Rangers’ under-18 and then reserve coach – Brown proudly demonstrating he has previous for getting the best out of players.

Brown, a Dundee player between 1984 and 1988, took in Sunday’s 5-0 defeat by Celtic from the Main Stand at Celtic Park and, despite the result, was not entirely disheartened. His will not be  a complicated philosophy; the team needs to win more games so strikers, such as John Baird, need to spend more time in the opposition penalty box, and less time grafting outside of it. The rest of the players, he added, need to show greater confidence by having more shots at goal. After that it’s just a case  of scoring more than the other team.

“What I learned at Celtic was that  it was an even game,” he said. “We were 1-0 down at half-time but the effort the players put in, under the circumstances of the last week, was remarkable.  To look at the team and the way Ray [Farningham, his assistant] set them up shows I have something to work with. We’ve scored very few goals this season and we have to get more.”

As if the job wasn’t difficult enough, Brown has found himself in the midst of crossfire between the Dundee board of directors and a section of the club’s support, unhappy at the decision to sack Barry Smith, ending his 17-year association.

Brown had praise for Smith for what he achieved as manager but revealed he learnt long ago that sentiment counts for nothing in football. “Barry is a legend at this club and what he did through administration and the 25-point deduction was remarkable but things happen and that is football,” he added. “I was 18 years at Rangers and Paul  Le Guen came in and I was out the door with no reason other than it was a new manager and it was time to move on. You are a number and that is it.”

One man’s misfortune can often be another man’s gain and so it was when Dundee decided to part company with Smith. Brown, though, admitted he was as shocked as anyone when chief executive Scot Gardiner, a friend dating back to their time together at Ibrox, called him up last week.

“I was very surprised,” Brown admitted. “I go back a long time with Scot. We’ve been friends for a number of years. When he phoned on Wednesday and offered it he did say it is interim until the end of the season, we’re taking applications for long-term manager.”

Gardiner has come in for some flak but, given his closeness to Brown as someone he clearly feels he can rely on plus the uncertainty over what division Dundee will be playing in next season  as well as over league reconstruction,  it makes commercial sense to not commit to anything for the long-term.

The chief executive questioned the timing of a fiery Q&A session with supporters last Saturday afternoon – “I wouldn’t have had it” – but insisted there would be no resignations from the Dundee fans-run board as a result of Smith’s sacking and Brown’s subsequent appointment. “John has answered the call and me and the board of directors are 100% appreciative of that,” said Gardiner. “I’m delighted he’s here. I have faith and trust in him.”

And if he could keep them up  this season? “It would be my best achievement ever,” added Brown. “People say there’s a mountain to climb but people climb mountains every day.”

 

John Brown settles into his first press conference  as Dundee manager alongside chief executive and friend, Scot Gardiner. Pictures: SNS

 

Brown: People say there’s a mountain to climb but people climb mountains every day

 

THE Billy Steel Lounge inside Dens Park was bathed in sunshine yesterday, but for one moment the atmosphere inside the room threatened to go ice cold. John Brown was being unveiled as Dundee’s interim manager until the end of the season and seemed to bristle at a particular line of questioning.

Jaw jutting and heckles up, it seemed for a second as if the man known universally as Bomber was going to reprise the famous, if somewhat chilling, Joe Pesci speech from Goodfellas.

“What do you mean I’m old school? What does that mean?” he asked one radio reporter, who, to his credit, quickly reassured Brown that it was meant as a compliment, extolling the new man’s reputation as a coach and manager who quickly instills discipline in his players. Brown accepted the explanation and the room quickly defrosted. “Your hairstyle’s old school,” he added with a smile.

As a coach of some standing,  Brown clearly offers much more than the shouting and bawling sergeant major he is often perceived as but, given the circumstances, it might not be the worst thing to happen to Dundee  if Brown is able to use fear to motivate them in the weeks and months ahead.

There will be no bedding-in period for the new manager. Dundee are 15 points adrift at the foot of the Clydesdale Bank Premier League with just 11 games remaining and chances are they will  not survive. But it is not an entirely hopeless situation. Both Hearts and  St Mirren, the teams in 10th and 11th  in the table respectively, are enduring some fairly rotten league form, and  a win or two for Brown’s men – starting with St Johnstone at home tomorrow – might put a seed of doubt in the minds of those above them.

Brown has not managed at first-team level since leaving Clyde more than three years ago but, as a short-term appointment, might just be the man to get more from a group of players who have won only three league games all season. As he pointed out, the starting line-up in Gordon Strachan’s first match as Scotland manager earlier this month contained four players who had developed under his watchful eye during his time as Rangers’ under-18 and then reserve coach – Brown proudly demonstrating he has previous for getting the best out of players.

Brown, a Dundee player between 1984 and 1988, took in Sunday’s 5-0 defeat by Celtic from the Main Stand at Celtic Park and, despite the result, was not entirely disheartened. His will not be  a complicated philosophy; the team needs to win more games so strikers, such as John Baird, need to spend more time in the opposition penalty box, and less time grafting outside of it. The rest of the players, he added, need to show greater confidence by having more shots at goal. After that it’s just a case  of scoring more than the other team.

“What I learned at Celtic was that  it was an even game,” he said. “We were 1-0 down at half-time but the effort the players put in, under the circumstances of the last week, was remarkable.  To look at the team and the way Ray [Farningham, his assistant] set them up shows I have something to work with. We’ve scored very few goals this season and we have to get more.”

As if the job wasn’t difficult enough, Brown has found himself in the midst of crossfire between the Dundee board of directors and a section of the club’s support, unhappy at the decision to sack Barry Smith, ending his 17-year association.

Brown had praise for Smith for what he achieved as manager but revealed he learnt long ago that sentiment counts for nothing in football. “Barry is a legend at this club and what he did through administration and the 25-point deduction was remarkable but things happen and that is football,” he added. “I was 18 years at Rangers and Paul  Le Guen came in and I was out the door with no reason other than it was a new manager and it was time to move on. You are a number and that is it.”

One man’s misfortune can often be another man’s gain and so it was when Dundee decided to part company with Smith. Brown, though, admitted he was as shocked as anyone when chief executive Scot Gardiner, a friend dating back to their time together at Ibrox, called him up last week.

“I was very surprised,” Brown admitted. “I go back a long time with Scot. We’ve been friends for a number of years. When he phoned on Wednesday and offered it he did say it is interim until the end of the season, we’re taking applications for long-term manager.”

Gardiner has come in for some flak but, given his closeness to Brown as someone he clearly feels he can rely on plus the uncertainty over what division Dundee will be playing in next season  as well as over league reconstruction,  it makes commercial sense to not commit to anything for the long-term.

The chief executive questioned the timing of a fiery Q&A session with supporters last Saturday afternoon – “I wouldn’t have had it” – but insisted there would be no resignations from the Dundee fans-run board as a result of Smith’s sacking and Brown’s subsequent appointment. “John has answered the call and me and the board of directors are 100% appreciative of that,” said Gardiner. “I’m delighted he’s here. I have faith and trust in him.”

And if he could keep them up  this season? “It would be my best achievement ever,” added Brown. “People say there’s a mountain to climb but people climb mountains every day.”

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