Norwich City chief Neil Adams is urged to stick to his beliefs
Dave Stringer is a humble man who has given decades of service to Norwich City football club.
"What I’ve seen is that individually they have the players but it is about playing in a way that suits them and getting the balance right in the team"
Such parallels with the newest incumbent will be lost on few. Spend any length of time in the 69-year-old’s company and you hear the voice of common sense. Neil Adams will inevitably have to adapt his approach from coaching callow youths but Stringer cautions one thing he must never change is his philosophy.
“You do change, of course you do. There are decisions you have to make about people’s futures and that is a big responsibility,” says Stringer. “You want the club to succeed and you know the decisions you make can shape that. I think in my own experience we probably made more good than bad decisions in terms of playing staff and also the way we wanted to play. We all agreed on the way we wanted to play. We felt and thought in the same way as a coaching staff. We wanted attacking football, we wanted to keep the ball and play and entertain and win games and to get all those things to come together is quite difficult in the First Division, as it was, when you are coming up against the best in the business to try and stop you.”
Stringer readily admits a sense of duty rather a thirst for management led him to replace Ken Brown.
“My objective was never to be a manager,” he says. “I enjoyed coaching youngsters and seeing them improve and come on and that was probably one of the most enjoyable times of my coaching career. Management was totally different in terms of the buck stops here; you are the man at the top. You have to get it right and face all the criticisms, if you like, and also take all the plaudits when they come along. You know around the corner there might be a stumble somewhere along the line and people will be more inclined to look on the negative side. It is how you deal with those moments and those periods. You have to be ably assisted and I was with Dave Williams and the staff I had at the time. It was a good fit and it worked well.”
Commanding the respect of senior players should not be a daunting prospect for Adams.
“They will know him from being a coach in the club and know him as a friend in lots of ways or at least one of the staff. You have to move away from that and perhaps divorce yourself from that and become the person who makes the decisions that affects their futures,” says Stringer. “If you are talking about respect I think respect comes from players who see a manager creating an environment where they can work hard and enjoy what they are doing and someone who shows they share the same ambitions and aims they do as players.”
Stringer witnessed the club’s downward spiral in recent times in his role as a match day host at Carrow Road but he remains confident Adams has inherited a repair job rather than a major salvage mission.
“What I’ve seen is that individually they have the players but it is about playing in a way that suits them and getting the balance right in the team,” he says. “I would always try to play a team that compliments each other and who know each other’s games. If I go back to when I was a player we would play 40-odd games a season and not change the side all that often. If you had the shirt, then those on the outside had to work very hard to try and dislodge the ones who did and those playing together usually fitted into what I called ‘pairs’ right across the pitch. They knew each other’s strengths and weaknesses – that is the team ethic you need.”