On the road: Barmby is back home and doing it his way …yet again
Nicky Barmby goes back to Middlesbrough on Monday. He”s been back before but this time Barmby returns to Teesside as a manager, Hull City’s manager.
Not a permanent manager as yet, but an interim one whose work in the interim period since Nigel Pearson departed for Leicester City means that Barmby should be permanent imminently.
There was a meeting on Friday in Hull that was expected to confirm Barmby’s new status. We await confirmation.
Hometown boy: Nicky Barmby is now in charge of the team he supported as a boy
BY THE WAY…
On September 1st 2001, Barmby started for England in Munich against Germany – the 5-1. A decade on only three of that starting XI – David Seaman, Gary Neville and Paul Scholes – have officially retired.
Barmby’s history suggests nothing should be taken for granted.
But the signs are that the 37 year-old born in Hull likes the hierarchy at the KC Stadium and that they like Barmby.
One obvious reason for this is that Hull City have just won their last four games. That winning sequence has seen Hull move from tenth place in the Championship to fourth. They have gone from being 13 points off automatic promotion to four points off it.
“The club wants Nick to stay and he seems to be enjoying the role so we will see what happens in the future,” said Adam Pearson last week.
Pearson’s title is director of football operations; Hull are now owned by the locally-based Allam family. They are prepared to be patient. As Pearson added: “Football these days probably isn’t tuned into something like this. The norm is if a manager gets a couple of results then he is appointed immediately.
“But Nick said right from the very start when he took the job on a temporary basis that he wanted to do it his way.”
Those two words “his way” served as a reminder that Barmby has rarely been the norm. One of the best players ever to emerge from Lilleshall, Barmby seemed destined to be one of the first golden crop of Manchester United youngsters reared by Alex Ferguson.
Instead, in April 1991, Barmby chose Tottenham.
“I was going to sign for United, but I went to Spurs for a week and it just felt good,” Barmby explained a couple of years ago.
“Though I loved it at United, it just felt right. Terry Venables showed interest, Gazza was there, Chris Waddle, Gary Lineker. It was a very difficult decision, Alex Ferguson had shown great faith and I loved my time there. But I was in the Spurs first team at 17; the things I learnt were incredible.”
Dream team: Barmby was part of the England team that beat Germany 5-1 in Germany in 2001
It was the first public evidence of decision-making that challenged the expected trajectory.
Neatly, Barmby’s first-ever senior goal came in a 2-2 draw against Middlesbrough at White Hart Lane. It was October 1992; Teddy Sheringham was Tottenham’s other scorer.
Robbie Mustoe and Paul Wilkinson had given Boro a two-goal lead. Barmby scored in the next game, too – at Plough Lane against Wimbledon. Names, dates and places that show Barmby’s Giggsian longevity.
It was to just-promoted Middlesbrough that Barmby went after Tottenham. He cost 5.25m; the northern lad wanted to be nearer family.
Barmby would never move south again, but he did move. He was top scorer in his first season at the new Riverside Stadium. But it was with seven goals and after 15 months, Barmby moved to Everton. This time the fee was 5.75m.
Local hero: Barmby celebrates with Dean Windass after scoring for Hull
He stayed three and a half years at Goodison Park before, for 6m in 2000, he became the first player in 41 years to be signed directly from Everton by Liverpool. Not the norm.
Barmby was part of that Gerard Houllier team that won the Uefa Cup, FA Cup and League Cup in the same season but by August 2002, Barmby was at Leeds United.
Venables was there, as he had been at Spurs and England – Barmby won 23 caps – but when Leeds were relegated from the Premiership in 2004, Barmby was on the bench.
He had just turned 30 and having collected several major clubs, another such move would have been unsurprising. But Barmby did it his way. He moved to his hometown club, who were in the third division at the time and helped transform Hull City into a Premier League club.
All the while he collected managers, 24 of them, and experience. Now he is a manager himself. “I’ve got to be my own man,” he said one game in. It’s not in doubt.
So good, they named it once
How often does the Wall Street Journal report on Rotherham United A guess is not very often but it did last week.
Three years after leaving Millmoor for the Don Valley stadium – in Sheffield – Rotherham have announced that their new ground, based in Rotherham, will be called the New York Stadium.
Fresh start: An artist impression of the proposed New York Stadium home of Rotherham United
An old part of Rotherham is called New York and the new stadium is built on land where a former foundry constructed the fire hydrants that dot the American city’s streets. These are strong connections and Rotherham United’s stadium will join past, present and future. It opens next season. So, boom-boom, start spreading the news.