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INTERVIEW: Years ahead of his time

27 November 2012

Greg Abbott on Dave Sexton OBE

Dave Sexton OBE became one of the most recognisable faces in the game through the 60's, 70's and 80's, having managed at some of the top clubs in the country, and he brought tremendous success to both Chelsea and QPR as he picked up silverware and honours throughout a ten-year stay in London.

His later career saw him take charge of the England Under-21 team and an influential post at the Football Association's School of Excellence at Lilleshall where he was the first technical director.

But it was his attitude and approach whilst managing Coventry City in the early 80’s which would go on to make a lasting impression on one of his young charges.

“The structure of coaching when I started out as a player was nothing compared to what it is now,” manager Greg Abbott said. “There wasn’t too much in terms of phases of play or in breaking things down to work on specific areas, and the main focus was on the physical side of it all. 

“Looking back, I have to say that Dave Sexton was light years ahead of his time. He was the first manager I ever had and he started to introduce the more technical aspects of the game to us at Coventry. It was like a breath of fresh air. 

“I hadn’t seen anybody as inventive and imaginative as he was and he introduced a structure to absolutely every bit of work we did. I worked with some really good coaches after that but I don’t think any of them were ever as thorough as he was. He was one of the most complete coaches I ever worked under.”

“He was a very quiet and thoughtful man but you knew he was the boss,” Abbott added. “Like I say, he was an unbelievable coach in terms of how he did things and it’s easy to see why he was so successful. I don’t think I could have had a better coach to start my career with. I learned a huge amount and there are things he did, in terms of making sure that the sessions have a real purpose, which I have brought into the way I do things now. 

“He was a good, good man and he’ll be missed by a lot of people in the game.”

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