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Kevin Kilbane column: Media work brings different pressure and nerves to playing

Media work isn't as nerve-racking as making your debut as a player… but it's not far off



00:41 GMT, 15 December 2012

I played at Everton for three years and made more than 100 appearances for David Moyes.

I’ve lost count of the number of games I have watched at Goodison Park as a player, spectator and a pundit.

Last Sunday, just a day after finally announcing my retirement, I walked into the ground in my new job. And with that came an entirely different pressure, and plenty of nerves. Not as bad as making your debut as a player, but pretty close.

New pressure: Kevin Kilbane says life as a pundit will bring different stresses

New pressure: Kevin Kilbane says life as a pundit will bring different stresses

I’ve worked with BBC Five Live and Newstalk as co-commentator while still playing and always enjoyed it, it’s one of the reasons I’m happy with the choice of new career.

For the record I don’t see the career taking me to Limerick as manager just yet. I’ve always said I wouldn’t rule out a return to coaching but when I landed in Dublin yesterday to read about my pending appointment at Jackman Park, it was as much of a surprise to me as everyone else.

The club did make contact for the first time yesterday afternoon and I wouldn’t rule out talking to them in the future, if they are serious.

As a player, as soon as you put down the headphones and head home, you start worrying about the day job and training on Monday morning. That security was gone now.

I love watching football – I was at Preston North End v Crewe Alexandra on Saturday just to see my old club – and I’ve always analysed games the same way, and want to put that over in the commentaries.

Particularly at Hull last season I started to really study the opposition and analyse formations, teams and players, so I’ll use that as the basis of the information I’ll bring to the listeners.

I’ve always tried to be honest, but of course, while still a player yourself, at the back of your mind is the fact you might say something that might upset a former team-mate or fellow professional. I’m not going to go daft and say things for the sake of it but I’ll say it as I see it.

In attendance: Kilbane was at Goodison to see Everton score a late winner and beat Tottenham 2-1

In attendance: Kilbane was at Goodison to see Everton score a late winner and beat Tottenham 2-1

The reaction to last week’s announcement has really surprised me, and fans from all the clubs I’ve played for, and from Ireland, have said some very nice things.

There have been one or two less favourable ones and my personal favourite was a tweet from a Sunderland fan who said 'I thought he retired when he was playing for us.'

Yes. I’m on Twitter, and the first week has certainly been interesting.

I know a lot of players use it now but I was never really comfortable joining while I was still a professional footballer representing a football club.

While I will still be careful about what I say, and won’t be using it to provoke furious debate, I am freer now to express my views and enjoy it.

It’s really nice to interact with fans and answer their questions, send on any retweet requests, and pass on any little tips. Just don’t be fooled by this week’s success!

I can use it to raise the awareness of the Downs Syndrome Association and without Twitter I might not have found out about the campaign to save Preston Bus Station. It’s part of my childhood (is it right for a man to be proud of his town’s bus station). They can’t knock it down.

Whatever apprehensions I had about hanging up the boots disappeared the moment it was out. Finally I could answer questions about my future and look forward to that first game at Everton.

Good times: The Irish international retired from football last week

Good times: The Irish international retired from football last week

And since then the phone hasn’t stopped. It’s been incredible really, and of course I know it will calm down, but the offers of work have naturally been very welcome.

I was asked to stand in at the last minute for Question of Sport. And bumped into Robbie Savage as he left following the first recording. 'They let any old riff-raff in here.' Yes, Robbie Savage.

Played on Phil Tufnell’s team and met Irish champion jockey Richard Hughes, which was a real honour. I had to put our snap on Twitter.

If there’s one commitment I am nervous about, it’s my first appearance on The Late Late Show. It’s an Irish institution. And just to put my mind at rest the fellow guests are Dohmnall Gleeson, The Dubliners, Catherine Jenkins and Billy Connolly.

I do keep asking myself what I’m doing there.

Coleman's coming through

Everton reserves manager Alan Stubbs first brought Seamus Coleman to my attention.

He’d just signed from Sligo Rovers and Stubbsy mentioned him because he liked the look of him straight away and he looked like he was going to become a good footballer.

So I kept an eye on him and I know he was an integral part of the Blackpool team which gained promotion.

They wanted to sign him permanently but David Moyes recognised that loan spell was an important part of his progression and he had plans for him at Everton.

In his first season he mainly played in midfield but for the last two has been competing with Tony Hibbert for the right-back slot.

Tony is a very good defender, and not much gets past him, but doesn’t give as much as Seamus going forward.

Impressed: Kilbane rates Seamus Coleman and is pleased with his progress

Impressed: Kilbane rates Seamus Coleman and is pleased with his progress

Tony’s injury has given Seamus his chance, which he has really grasped. He was excellent against Tottenham last week and you can see his defensive game is improving. He has made mistakes but the good thing is, you can see he is learning from them.

I really believe that Seamus’s long overdue regular place in the Republic of Ireland team is behind his form this season.

It should have happened two years ago but now he is established in the squad, he has grown in confidence.

He could have gone the other way after missing out on the Euro finals, and I know that must have hurt him. How many players get the hump and don’t make themselves available You have to earn the right to play for your country.

Seamus has been on the peripherary but always made himself available, turned up when selected, not moaned when he hasn’t played. He just wants to play for Ireland.

He’s turned up, worked hard, played well for his club and got his call-ups. His performances can only be good news for Ireland, Everton and Seamus.

My part in Arsenal’s downfall

I got a text message from my former Hull team-mate Matt Duke on Tuesday, wishing me all the best for retirement.

I asked what he was up to and he texted: 'All good, got a game against Arsenal tonight.’

Clearly it inspired Matt to his heroics in the penalty shoot-out Capital One Cup win over The Gunners.

Matt, who’s now coaching at Bradford too, has fought back from testicular cancer, and his harsh release from Hull in the summer of 2011.

And I can’t think of many lads who deserve a night to cherish for the rest of his life as much as Dukes.

Kevin Kilbane is a columnist for The Irish Daily Mail

Preston manager Graham Westley refunds fans after Bury clash postponed

Preston boss Westley covers petrol costs of fans after Bury clash called off



22:41 GMT, 4 December 2012

Preston North End manager Graham Westley helped soften the blow some of the club's fans suffered on Tuesday night, dipping into his pocket to refund their travel costs after their Johnstone's Paint Trophy clash against Bury was postponed.

The match at Gigg Lane was called off an hour before kick-off due to a waterlogged pitch, despite referee Gary Sutton giving the all clear at 6.30pm.

Westley came across a minibus full of fans making the 30-odd mile journey home, and offered to cover their petrol costs, as well as a round of soft drinks.

Scroll down for video of the Preston boss paying back the fans

Making friends: Graham Westley has covered the petrol costs of some fans

Making friends: Graham Westley has covered the petrol costs of some fans

Video footage of the kind gesture quickly circulated on Twitter, while a number of Lilywhites fans were full of praise for the boss.

@Weyer95 wrote: 'Home and dry (like bury's pitch according to GW). Very disappointed with the game being called off but Graham Westley is magic.'

@ecossesteve added: 'Hearing some great stories from #PNE fans being refunded travel expenses by Graham Westley personally. Fantastic stuff.'

And ‏@ingolwhite claimed his son had been one of the benficeries. He wrote: 'top man graham westley bought my son and his mates a drink and gave them 40 petrol money.'

Preston are 11th in League One after an indifferent run of results, and sit six points adrift of the playoff places.


Paolo Di Canio reconciliation with Wes Foderingham

Di Canio offers reconciliation path to Foderingham after hauling keeper off after 20 minutes



15:14 GMT, 3 September 2012

Swindon boss Paolo Di Canio has held clear-the-air talks with Wes Foderingham, less than 24 hours after publicly criticising the young goalkeeper.

Di Canio blamed Foderingham for Preston's opening goal during Sunday's 4-1 npower League One defeat, and after the 21-year-old reacted angrily to being substituted, Di Canio called him 'arrogant' and 'ignorant' and demanded that he openly apologise or be dropped.

This afternoon it appears Foderingham has said sorry to Di Canio, who is now looking ahead to Swindon's next fixture against local rivals Oxford in the Johnstone's Paint Trophy first round on Wednesday night.

Rant: Paolo Di Canio hauled Wes Foderingham (right) off against Swindon

Rant: Paolo Di Canio hauled Wes Foderingham (right) off against Swindon

Football League blog

And the Italian confirmed via a
statement on the club's official website, swindontownfc.co.uk, that
Foderingham will be available for selection at the Kassam Stadium.

'Wes has apologised. The situation is
now clear and we will move on and work together,' said Di Canio. 'He is a
genuine guy and a strong character.

'The rules are there and he will pay
his price for his actions. He has been fantastic for us last and this
season, but he didn't behave well on Sunday.

'He will have his chance to be a part of the team and be available for selection against Oxford on Wednesday night.'

Foderingham was at fault for the first
Preston goal, hesitating over a clearance which then
rebounded off Stuart Beavon into the path of Akpo Sodje to score.

After 22 minutes, with Swindon losing 2-0, Di Canio replaced Foderingham with teenager Leigh Bedwell.

Foderingham, clearly angered at the
substitution, made his way straight down the touchline to the dressing
room, taking his frustration out on a water bottle en route, before
watching the second half of the game from the stands instead of the

Reconciliation: Di Canio has taken a step back

Reconciliation: Di Canio has taken a step back

Following the game, Di Canio launched into a stinging criticism of the goalkeeper.

He said: 'He was one of the worst
players I have ever seen. He's another player like the others, why can't
we change the goalkeeper Because the goalkeeper has a different
coloured shirt

'I know my players, I know Wes – he
was the worst player against Stoke in the cup in midweek – he was far
away the worst player, he made a rubbish performance. But I covered for
him because we won 4-3.

'What he did was not only the mistake,
which can happen to anyone, but the arrogance when he started moaning
to the other players – that was the worst thing for me.

'A player that doesn't recognise his
mistakes which were clear from miles away, he started moaning to his
team-mates. Out there he behaved as the worst professional, arrogant,
ignorant athlete I have ever seen.

'I don't want any argument from the
fans. And if he doesn't come out and apologise to the fans, to the
professionals in general, he is out from my team.'

Foderingham has kept 28 clean sheets in 47 appearances for Swindon, setting a club record of 12 consecutive home clean sheets.

Ritchie De Laet back at Manchester United after Norwich cancel loan spell

De Laet sent back to United after Norwich cancel loan spell

Ritchie De Laet has returned to Manchester United after Norwich cut short his loan spell at Carrow Road.

The Belgian defender joined City on a
season-long loan deal in the summer but he has made just six appearances in the Barclays Premier League and one in the
Carling Cup.

Injury-hit: Norwich City's Ritchie De Laet

Injury-hit: Norwich City's Ritchie De Laet

De Laet, who has featured at right-back and centre-back for Paul Lambert's side this season, last played in the 2-0 home defeat against Spurs on December 27, only to be forced off through injury in the second-half

City boss Paul Lambert commented: 'Ritchie has gone back to Manchester United. We thank Sir Alex Ferguson for loaning him to us and wish Ritchie well for the future and hope he goes on to have a successful career at Man Utd.'

De Laet joined United from Stoke in January 2009 and has had loan spells at Sheffield United, Preston North End, and Portsmouth.

Graham Westley appointed Preston manager

Westley appointed Preston boss as former Stevenage manager opts for new challenge

Graham Westley has been named the new manager of Preston North End.

Westley, 43, joins the Lilywhites after a highly successful spell as boss of fellow npower League One side Stevenage.

The two clubs agreed a compensation package on Friday morning, that also included the release of assistant manager John Dreyer and coach Dino Maamria who will join him at Deepdale.

Deal: Graham Westley is set to be confirmed as Preston boss

Deal: Graham Westley is set to be confirmed as Preston boss

Football League blog

Westley said: 'It is a privilege to be handed the reins at this historic football club.

'When you see images of men like Sir Tom Finney, Alan Kelly and Bill Shankly looking back at you from the stands at Deepdale, you get a very clear sense of the responsibilities that you are accepting.

'My job is to do my very best to re-ignite the Club's on field performance and in the first instance help the Club to punch at its weight. We will take things on from there.

'The one thing that I will promise the fans is that I will sweat blood to build a team that lives up to the Club's traditions and which strongly reflects the ethics of hard work, discipline and organisation that I hold dear.

'I am here to create a team that wins football matches and honours. That isn't easy, but I don't look for easy options.

'It is my job to build a ferocious spirit of passion and unity amongst our team and in support of our team.

Parting gift: Westley signed off from Stevenage with a win over Reading

Parting gift: Westley signed off from Stevenage with a win over Reading

'There is a superb platform here at Preston North End and it is up to me to capitalise on that.

'Let's just get better every day.”

Chairman Peter Ridsdale was delighted to conclude the deal, adding: 'After a thorough and deliberate recruitment process, we are delighted to have secured the services of our No 1 target.

'We look forward to working together to restore this fabulous football club to its rightful position in the football hierarchy.'

Westley and his staff have signed rolling contracts and will take over their duties following Saturday's home game against Wycombe Wanderers.

Graham Alexander and David Unsworth will take charge of first team affairs on Saturday, but the new management trio will be in the stands.

Michael O"Neill to be new Northern Ireland boss

Shamrock Rovers boss O”Neill to be named Worthington”s successor at Northern Ireland

Luck of the Irish: Michael O

Luck of the Irish: Michael O”Neill is set to replace Nigel Worthington in the Northern Ireland hotseat

Michael O”Neill is set to succeed Nigel Worthington as Northern Ireland boss in the New Year.

O”Neill, who guided League of Ireland side Shamrock Rovers to the group stages of the Europa League en route to a second championship on the spin, won the race to the post ahead of former international team-mates, Jim Magilton and Iain Dowie.

Irish FA bosses concluded their interview process on Monday when they were impressed by the 42-year old”s vision for the future.

The former Newcastle United midfielder has seen his stock rise since cutting his managerial teeth at Brechin City in 2006, and has been fast-tracked to the top.

Managerless Hartlepool are believed to have made O’Neill their top target to succeed Mick Wadsworth but Northern Ireland got there first.

After his country came calling, O”Neill announced the European showdown against Spurs would be his final game as manager, prompting speculation he would soon make himself available for Northern Ireland.

Now sources close to the governing body have confirmed O”Neill is the man they want to recruit, but they only have a limited budget to work within.

Low ebb: Worthington left the post after Euro 2012 qualifying

Low ebb: Worthington left the post after Euro 2012 qualifying

Worthington earned a not insignificant salary of 450,000 a year in the job but O”Neill has reportedly been warned his pay cheque will not exceed 250,000, with a figure of 215,000 a more reasonable expectation.

It”s now down to chief executive Patrick Nelson to resume talks with O’Neill after Christmas.

The IFA were expected to announce the news in mid-January but following leaked information, bosses may be forced to finalise contract negotiations sooner.

O”Neill”s assistant at Shamrock Rovers, Jim Magilton, who was also interviewed for the post, may now be a renewed target for Preston North End, who sacked Phil Brown last week.

Phil Brown sacked by Preston

Ridsdale wields the axe as Brown sacked by Preston after less than a year in charge

Phil Brown has been sacked as manager of Preston North End less than two weeks after Peter Ridsdale took over at the club.

Former Hull boss Brown leaves the League One club 10th in the table, just five points off the playoffs.

In a statement, Ridsdale said: Preston North End Football Club announces that Phil Brown, first team manager, has today left the Club with immediate effect.

Out: Phil Brown has been sacked as manager of Preston North End

Out: Phil Brown has been sacked as manager of Preston North End

“Phil Brown joined the Club in January 2011 with the objective of trying to ensure that we could maintain our status in the Championship division of the Football League.

“Regrettably this did not happen and the Club were relegated to League One. Following relegation we had hopedthat we would be in a position to compete for an immediate return to the Championship but after a promising start we have only won one of ourlast 11 league games and we are out of all three cup competitions.

Oops: The Preston website continued to show a story of Brown

Oops: The Preston website continued to show a story of Brown “looking forward to the next match” despite the announcement of his sacking having been made

“Brian Horton, assistant to Phil Brown has also left the Club with immediate effect. Both Phil and Brian leave with our best wishes for the future.

“Until further notice, Graham Alexander and David Unsworth will be in temporary charge of first team affairs.”

Peter Ridsdale named chairman of Preston North End

Preston fans stunned after Ridsdale named chairman of League One club

New Preston chairman Peter Ridsdale has moved to reassure fans that the club has a bright future after his shock appointment.

The former Leeds, Barnsley, Plymouth and Cardiff chief joined the troubled League One outfit after Maurice Lindsay, aged 70, decided to step down due to ill health.

Hot seat: Ridsdale has left Plymouth to take charge at Preston

Hot seat: Ridsdale has left Plymouth to take charge at Preston

The move stunned Preston fans, who voiced their anger and disbelief on message forums and Twitter.

Clocky1 tweeted: “#pnefc be afraid be very afraid #ridsdale”, atkypne wrote: “Peter Ridsdale is the new PNE chairman, the final nail in the coffin for me!” and CraigyAnderson said: “The one headline all football fans must dread: “Peter Ridsdale appointed chairman of…” Hard luck, Preston North End fans.”

But Ridsdale played down concern over the club”s finances by setting his sights on promotion to the Championship.

In a statement released by Preston, Ridsdale said: “I am delighted and privileged to be joining Preston North End Football Club.

“Preston North End is a football club that has an incredible football heritage, a large and loyal supporter base and a club that frankly ought to be competing to join the Premier League rather than playing in League One.

“I sincerely hope that working with Preston North End’s existing staff and with the continued support of its fan base, I can play a part in ensuring that we return to the Championship as a minimum in the not too distant future.”

Phil Brown has the job of trying to revive Preston

Under pressure: Phil Brown has the job of trying to revive Preston”s fortunes on the pitch

Owner Trevor Hemmings was expected to make the new appointment from within his personal business empire, making Ridsdale”s arrival at Preston – currently 14th in League One under manager Phil Brown – something of a shock.

Ridsdale moves to Deepdale from Plymouth Argyle, where as acting chairman he oversaw James Brent”s takeover of the stricken npower League Two club.

In a statement on the Pilgrims” official website, www.pafc.co.uk, Brent said: “I would personally like to thank Peter for his contribution to Argyle as there is little doubt that, without his presence here during the period of administration, it is highly likely that this football club would no longer exist.

“In expressing my disappointment at Peter leaving, I fully understand the reasons why he would wish to take up the offer at Preston North End and I and everyone at Argyle wish him well for the future. Peter leaves us with our grateful thanks and he will always be a welcome visitor here at Home Park.

“We will be engaging a recruitment consultant to seek an appropriate replacement following Peter”s departure.”

Ridsdale,aged 59, who enjoyed a brief period at Barnsley, is best remembered for his time with Leeds from 1997 to 2003, when a lavish transfer policy led the Yorkshire club to the semi-finals of the Champions League before a dramatic slide in fortunes and relegation from the top flight.

Hemmings revealed itis costing him 750,000 a month to keep the club alive and by the end of the season his investment will total 25million