Thursday, 17 April 2008

Exclusive Alan Irvine Interview - With Audio

Alan Irvine has revealed that taking on the role as manager of Preston North End was a challenge which he relished and now feels has succeeded.

The Scotsman has exclusively told me that he wasn’t looking to take the step up from Assistant to David Moyes at Everton to a managerial position, but once the opportunity presented itself it was “too good an opportunity to turn down”.

Irvine said that there have been times during his period at Everton where it would have been much easier for him to leave, but he was enjoying the European run which he and his former colleagues were on.

“I wasn’t looking to get into management. At the time I was happy doing what I was doing. I was working for a great club, a terrific man and I was really enjoying the season”.

“I was thoroughly enjoying the European experience and I felt the team were going in an even better direction than it had been in previous years. I thought it was a really hard time to leave”.

The PNE boss has admitted that he has not changed too much during his stay at Deepdale, comment that there are parts of Preston’s play which they were doing before he arrived.

“I didn’t come in and think ‘change, change, change’, I came in the other way thinking ‘let’s have a look at what’s happening at the moment’. I don’t think you should come into a new club and think ‘everything here is wrong and I’m just going to change it all’, because it wasn’t all wrong. There are things we are doing now that were being done when I arrived”.

Although Irvine didn’t get off to the best of starts to his North End career, he was determined not let poor form affect him. He also praised his players for the turn around, which has lead to them reaching the target set in January.

“No [the start didn’t dampen my spirits]. I knew I was coming to a tough job, I knew I was coming to a team who were fighting for their lives. I knew players would be low on confidence and I knew that there would be a lot of work that needed to be done”.

“But that didn’t scare me, I just quite simply got on with it. I kept on working and kept on believing that the things I wanted to do would work”.

“[Our turn in form] is down to a whole load of factors. The players looked as though they were starting to understand what I needed from them and what was expected of them”.

A non-ego-tastic Irvine ended by saying that it has all been a huge learning curve which will stand him in good stead in the future and looks forward to improving next season.

“I’m learning all the time, you by things that you that work, and things that don’t work and you continually try improve as a manager and a coach. I’ve got no problem listening to other people’s ideas, and if I can continue to do that then I can probably continue to improve as a manager”.

Things are now looking up following a difficult season and it would seem that Alan Irvine is relishing the challenge took on six months ago. Don’t be surprised to this Scotsman become just as recognised as his former boss, or maybe even the one in Manchester, as Preston start to reclaim their pride.
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Preston North End Championship Status Now Safe?

Preston North End look set for another season in The Championship after they reached 54 points, a target set by Manager, Alan Irvine in January.

The Lilywhites have shown form reminiscent of title contenders. Unbeaten in seven games with five wins – a stark contrast to the performances displayed when the former Everton Assistant Manager took over the helm vacated by Paul Simpson in mid-November.

When Irvine was thrust into his first managerial role, Preston sat in the relegation zone, a sight not seen often by the Deepdale fans, who have witnessed more glowing scenes at the top of the table in recent seasons, with glimpses of the shining lights of the Premier League shining through, but fading as the seasons near their end.

This season has without question been a struggle for Preston, forever fighting the threat of relegation. However, the question of ‘why’ remains on the lips of the fans. The squad at the start of the season wasn’t much different from the end of the last. David Nugent was the big summer departure somewhat customary to the Preston close season. Former captain, Graham Alexander was sold off to rivals, Burnley leaving new recruit Kevin Nicholls to initially take the role now with Paul McKenna. Two reasons for Preston’s demise in the first half the season these maybe, however the book stops with the manager.

Simpson’s failure to replace two chasms in the North End team and turn form around lead to his dismissal. Irvine’s installment didn’t exactly breed a new lease of life, however things slowly began to slide into favour for the new saviour of Preston. New signings, new tactics, a new mentality and suddenly the weight of things have switched. Now with just a handful of games left to go, all crucial in one way or another, fears are now eased on the Lancashire club’s status. Mathematically still not safe, however, if I was a betting man I would put my life savings on Preston’s survival this season. The man to credit for the turn around – Alan Irvine.

Monday, 7 April 2008

English Ladies Clinch Cup


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Trish Johnson and Rebecca Hudson clinched the inaugral European Ladies Golf Cup for England by five-strokes in Alicante.

The English duo combined to card scores which beat of competition from Belgian and German couples at La Sella Club in Spain.

However, it wasn't all plain sailing for them despite a leading by five going into the final round, as Johnson revealed to Sky Sports.

"The two Belgian girls were absolutely fantastic".

"They deserve better than what they got actaully in the end but they played great and they pushed us all the way".

Johnson did take time out to credit her team mate by saying that they "gelled perfectly".

Tuesday, 1 April 2008

Andres Romero - Coolest Kid On The Block?


After Andres Romero won his first PGA Tour title yesterday by claiming the Zurich Classic of New Orleans, much has been made of the time that the Argentine had on his hands after he handed in his score card. He carded a four-under round of 68, just one shot ahead of Australian, Peter Lonard who finished on 13-under par. But Romero had to wait nearly three hours to find out whether he would indeed win his first title in 12 attempts.

Knowing he would finish so much earlier then the rest of the field, does this show that this young pretender is going to push on in the golfing world, because he shows the coolness and calm that is needed to become a real champion.

J Schil believes golfers everywhere can take a leaf out of Romero’s book.

“He had a lot of time to kill”.

“Most golfers would spend some time in the clubhouse, then go out and start warming up at the range”.

“Maybe it’s because he’s 26, but he spent almost all his time inside the clubhouse, faced turned away from the TV, having a good time. Down the stretch he even had a laptop in front of him”.

“Maybe we should all learn something from how relaxed he was chilling in the locker room”.

This may be a refreshing blast of coolness and a big show of confidence from Romero, however, having though about it, could this be sign of arrogance – or is this just being silly and unfair?

Links:
J Schil Blog
Sky Sports - Image taken from Sky Sports article

Wednesday, 26 March 2008

The Big Easy wins Honda Classic - The Expert's View

South African, Ernie Els came out blazing to stage a final-round fight back to win the Honda Classic and snatch the title away from Luke Donald by a single stroke.

The Big Easy's shot a final round of 67 to claim his first win in the USA for four years, and Sky Sports', Ewen Murray believes: "Form is current and class is permanent and that is the perfect way to describe Ernie Els".

Writing in his Skysports.com column, Murray highlights technical errors in his game, which could be the reason for his recent failings.

"His swing is alot steeper than when at his best, which allowed the club face to be more open than would be ideal, and that was the reason for the weak shots which cost him the Dunhill and Dubai Desert Classics".

Murray was delighted to see Els’ enviable swing compliment the weather conditions in America which set him up perfectly for victory and that he trusted his ability when it came to the crunch.

“For the first time in long enough, Ernie swung the club more around his body rather than above himself and there was no doubt he trusted his swing more than he has done in the past couple of years”.

Murray seemed overjoyed that the old Ernie Els seemed to have returned to golf and believes this win is a special one for the evergreen South African.

“He looked like his old self, enjoying the moments pressure presented, his belief was back and there was a sureness in getting the job done”.

“This was the Ernie we have known so fondly since he joined the professional ranks some 15 years ago”.

“This win would have taken a lot of mental strength. Every win has its own importance, but this victory might well turn out to be the most significant if his distinguished career”.

It is clear that Ewen Murray is a huge fan of the South African golfing maestro, and a believer that there is much more to come from the modern day legend.

Links:
Ewen Murray - Sky Sport's Column

Wednesday, 27 February 2008

Video: Avenham Park to Foster Bulding

videoI created this video as part of my JN2053 module. It shows the journey from Avenham Park to Foster Bulding through photographs. These photo's were found on www.flickr.com.
This map shows the location of the home of Preston North End Football Club, Deepdale. You can find the latest story surround PNE and also a link to the full story. This is a practise exercise for work in the JN2053 module.
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