Derby and Nottingham Forest met last weekend for the first time this season. The East Midlands derby divides a region but there are two exceptions that bring these rivals together, Brian Clough and Peter Taylor.
Taylor and Clough had a level of managerial and coaching co-dependency that football rarely sees.
“We just gelled together, we filled in the gaps…My strength was buying and selecting the right player, then Brian’s man management would shape the player.” This was how Peter Taylor described his working relationship with Brian Clough.
Without his right hand man, Clough’s managerial ‘gaps’ became all the more obvious. Brian’s judgement was certainly impaired when he ventured to Leeds United without Peter Taylor and we know how that story ended.
Clough needed Peter Taylor and at Sheffield Wednesday it may be time for Dave Jones to admit he is missing someone too.
After six consecutive defeats in the league and cup, questions are being asked of Wednesday manager Dave Jones. The decline in the quality of performances coincide with the departure of Jones’s right hand man Terry Burton.
During the close season The Owls assistant manager left the club to join Arsenal as their reserve team coach. As a highly regarded coach and a former Gooner, it was an opportunity Burton couldn’t refuse, especially with ringing endorsements from Arsene Wenger.
The Arsenal manager has described Terry Burton as ‘hugely respected and highly regarded in the game.’ This was one of the many reason’s Dave Jones and Milan Mandaric encouraged Burton to sign for The Owls.
Burton joined from West Bromwich Albion within a few weeks of Dave Jones accepting the Wednesday job.
Roy Hodgson, WBA manager at the time, said ‘Everyone at the club realised he (Burton) is closely linked with Dave Jones and that if another job with Dave came up, it would be Terry’s priority to join up with him again.’ The future England manager knew the level of their co-dependent relationship.
Under Jones and Burton The Owls went on an unbeaten run that saw them automatically promoted from League 1.
The pair met through various coaching training sessions. The beginning of their professional relationship began at Cardiff City and lasted for seven years. Dave Jones says in his autobiography that when he accepted the Bluebird’s manager post the first thing he did was call Terry Burton to find out about the club.
Through debt, chairman issues with Sam Hammam and Peter Ridsdale and multiple play-off disappointments, Jones and Burton built a squad from scratch that reached an FA Cup final and fought for promotion to the Premier League.
Terry Burton sourced the players. It was Burton who discovered Aaron Ramsey and Joe Ledley and through player sales they earned Cardiff City around £30 million. This sort of money was useful at a time when the club didn’t have a training ground and Ninian Park was reaching the end of its life.
When Dave Jones was sacked in 2011 by Cardiff City, the double act went their separate ways. Whilst Dave remained out of the game for nearly a year , Burton joined West Brom as first team coach until he made his way to Hillsborough.
So what evidence do we have that Jones is missing Burton other than the horrendous loss of form?
David Walker from the Sunday Mirror described Burton’s impact at Sheffield Wednesday during the push for promotion last season.
‘Terry is the one out on the training ground taking sessions and Dave’s very much an overview man and he (Jones) is very good at it. He has someone (Burton) to put his ideas into practice in training sessions.’
Players have also talked about how they enjoyed Burton’s training methods and that he is ‘very approachable and outgoing’.
If Terry Burton was the man on the pitch, without him Dave Jones is just the man looking on from the sidelines. The team looks disconnected and confused at the continual swapping and changing of structures.
Without a man to implement his ideas on the pitch, will Jones continue to struggle? Only time will tell but the Wednesday manager’s ‘gaps’ are becoming very apparent.