Sunday, October 09, 2011

Gary Peters - I'm Like Red Adair

There's little doubt that Hereford United's new director of football Gary Peters is a Preston man through and through. In an interview he gave in February 2010, he admitted that he would be the kit man if he could go back there! He also spoke of his ability, akin to Red Adair, to 'get something that is not working, working again'.

Peters arrived at Preston in 1992 and worked with manager John Beck. He found a 'tired' club.

"Preston North End was tired, as if it was in a slumber and that's how it felt when we came," said Peters.

"Deepdale was decrepit, there was a worn-out plastic pitch, no real life to the place.

"But I fell in love with the town and the supporters.

"You sensed the great love for the club and I knew if I could give PNE a fresh impetus the fans would come back.

"I was assistant to John Beck for two years, manager for four, ran the youth academy, played for the Supporters Club and I turned out for the reserves at 41, - I loved every second of it," said Peters.

"I was back there last month (Jan 2010), I turned into Lowthorpe Road and when I saw the floodlights and stands, the hairs stood up on the back of my neck again.

"I'll never get Preston out of my system and if Derek had called me when Alan Irvine left, I'd have come back.

"I'd be the kit man at Deepdale and still be happy.

"It is my club – where I've felt truly at home."

Despite mentioning Blackpool and how they play these days in his post match interview yesterday at Swindon, Peters didn't have much to say about them when he was at Preston.

"That lot with the tower", or "That bunch up the M55," said Peters.

"I still can't bring myself to say the word.

"I didn't like them one bit and they absolutely hated me.

"I always gave their supporters a bit of stick, so they loathed me more than any other manager.

"It wasn't a made up thing or a gimmick, I genuinely didn't like that club.

"Preston North End was a proper club, that lot were like a made up one at the time with those strange people in charge.

"At Preston I felt part of the town, I lived in the town and I had a pint in the town, so the supporters could see me anywhere and I felt part of their community.

"It meant so much to manage Preston, a true football town."

When Peters took over at Shrewsbury he admitted he couldn't get Preston out of his system.

"When I was manager at Shrewsbury, the press lads would always be pulling me up for saying Preston instead of Shrewsbury!"

Peters, who has also managed Exeter as well as Shrewsbury in more recent times, feels the game has changed.

"I think that is one of the things that moved me on as well, I just enjoyed the lower divisions more because it seemed more honest.

"Nobody got fantastic wages, and at Preston I was getting paid the same money as some of the fans who came to watch us.

"Winning was a bigger deal for the players and if you were not in the first team then you might not have enough money to pay your mortgage.

"Now, it must be very hard to manage players who are getting too much money for not doing well.

"You see it in the Premier League, £50,000 a week if they play or don't play.

"How does a manager motivate a millionaire further? I really don't know.

"Lower down, a manager can instil that drive, and there's not as many Big-time Charlies.

"You are only there for a little while – a short episode in that club's history – and you try to look after the club for the supporters because they are the ones who really matter, they are there the longest.

"I'm like a Red Adair character, always fighting fires, because the clubs I've managed were always in danger, and I rescued them.

"I'm good at getting something that is not working, working again."

The full interview can be read at: http://www.leylandguardian.co.uk/news/big_interview_gary_peters_1_163400