Danny Cowley: The rise of a bright young English manager with old school values

Andy Dillon by Andy Dillon / 13 April 2018, 09:42

FOR THOSE of us who still pray there is romance and fair play in football don’t give up - Danny Cowley is coming.

There is hope that a young, energetic, British coach is germinating from the flat agricultural fields of Lincoln to become a serious challenger for a top job.

That is some way off yet and that suits modest Cowley just fine. He is the most reluctant star in the English league and is humble to the point of frustration.

Cowley and Jose Mourinho share two things in common.

Both were PE teachers and both have an inbuilt talent to coach footballers. The similarities end there - thankfully. Their personalities could not be more different.

Mourinho, self-obsessed, petulant, abrasive. Cowley, meek, diplomatic, genuine.

At some point it is going to hold him back. Ipswich Town are currently taking great interest in Cowley and his brother Nicky who have been on the ride of their lives for the past two years or so.

Yet there is a chance that at some point not too far off Cowley and Mourinho could be facing each other across the sterile area between two dugouts in a stadium.

Cowley has already done it with Arsene Wenger after all in last season’s amazing FA Cup run in wich little Lincoln faced Arsenal in the quarter finals.

Ipswich Town are taking an understandable interest in appointing Cowley as their next manager following the departure of Mick McCarthy.

Cowley was not satisfied with a romantic cup run and promotion into League Two last season. This season he took City to Wermbley for the first time last Sunday and won the Checkatrade Trophy, with 26,000 fans following him down to London in recognition of his abilities.

It’s a route he could be taking long term, stopping off in Suffolk for a while first. But if he continues to grow as a manager the way he is then let’s all just hope that someone big will take a punt on the brightest young home-grown manager in the land.

Cowley, 39, is young but seriously old school. His family home is still in Essex and last season he drove home after a night game at North Ferriby in Yorkshire so he could look after his young son the next day and take him to the barbers for a hair cut.

Last season he and his brother missed the team bus out of the Emirates Stadium after losing to Arsenal in the Cup because they were so enraptured at meeting Arsene Wenger and were determined to make the most of their learning experience.

Championship Ipswich want Cowley to be their next manager but Lincoln have offered their burgeoning young manager a new contract to tempt him to stay put and carry on his good work at Sincil Bank.

Barring a disaster, Lincoln will be in the League Two play offs this season and who’d bet against them making it back to Wembley to clinch a second successive promotion?

Cowley is more Eddie Howe than Jose Mourinho thank goodness. Honest, diligent, forward-thinking and understated.

Howe is just a few months older than Cowley and already an established Premier League manager - about to secure Bournemouth’s Premier League status for a third successive season.

Cowley is a passionate West Ham supporter away from total focus on Lincoln. He was a season ticket holder 20 or so years ago.

The A1 leads straight to London where The Hammers would be the perfect place for him to work but with a turn off along the A14 towards Ipswich for a few years in the meantime.

Wherever he lands up it is worth noting this moment in time to see whether Cowley’s attributes can shine through against an increasingly cynical industry where names seem to mean everything.


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