Issue Candidate Four: Aidy Boothroyd, the local boy done something

As told by Michael Wood

The mark of excellence in management is not success but repeating success and as brightly as Bradford born Aidy Boothroyd shone in his first appointment where he took Watford to a 3-0 play-off final win over Leeds in 2007 so has the rest of his career been cast in the shade.

Boothroyd’s career ended at 26 owing to injury and and worked his way through youth teams and coaching positions to to becoming first team coach at Elland Road and then manager at Vicarage Road. His year in the Premier League with the Hornets impressed some but his story of relegation and then fading away is not uncommon amongst those who take a club up.

So spells at Colchester United and Coventry City showed signs of being on the brink of blossoming again but never did. He is out of work, looking for a job, and his home town club could offer something.

Which is – perhaps – the nub of the problem with considering Boothroyd as the next City boss. Were he not born in Bradford, and were he not a City fan in his youth, then would he be considered at all? Without “Born in Bradford” on his CV it would not be dissimilar to dozens of other candidates.

However writing Boothroyd off could be a mistake. Looking into his past, and how he talks about his career, the noises he makes have a ring of familiarity.

Professional footballers should be professional. They have a responsibility to come in, listen and learn, watch their performances, analyse where they went wrong and improve. Not to come in, have a five-a-side, bugger off and play golf. I get quite passionate because I was that person. I was a mercenary who went from club to club on a free transfer and, really, that’s not how football should be – Aidy Boothroyd

Boothroyd’s words recall Paul Jewell’s summation on his playing career and his motivation to move into management. Boothroyd talks about football as a mental game and underlines the importance of modern training methods, empowering player’s to take charge of their own performance. He is analytical, business-like, and at times can come off cold. A leap from the emotional whirl of Peter Jackson.

At forty Boothroyd has experience and youth – he took Watford up aged 34 – and there is talk that he is on the shortlist of three for the City job. If the convenience of the appointment can be overlooked, the merits of it might emerge.