LOYALTY is a commodity rarely found in modern football.
Players, coaches, managers and even chairmen come and go without shedding a tear for their former employers these days, so to see Lee Clark ignore Leicester City’s approach to replace Sven-Goran Eriksson as their manager was refreshing.
Clark’s Huddersfield Town side are making excellent progress in League One. Saturday’s landmark 2-1 win against Notts County at the Galpharm Stadium saw them break Nottingham Forest’s 33-year record of 42 league games unbeaten - no mean feat when you consider Brian Clough’s side went on to win the European Cup half way through their sequence.
Clark has done a superb job at Huddersfield since leaving his coaching role at Norwich to take up his first managerial role.
He has come a long way since I spoke to him following a 1-0 win at Hereford United in March 2009. Although they’ve had a fair bit of money to spend, Clark has moulded a superb squad together, and in Jordan Rhodes, has one of the hottest prospects outside the Premier League.
And his decision to ignore the overtures of the Foxes is made even more impressive by the identity of the man who eventually took up Leicester’s offer.
Nigel Pearson abandoned ship at Leicester in June 2010 to take up a job offer at Hull City, and his agent must have been laughing all the way to the bank after he once again showed a lack of loyalty by returning to his former club.
Since February 2008, Pearson has had four different managerial roles. Firstly as manager of Southampton, before his brief stint at Hull sandwiched between his two posts at the Foxes.
Pearson, who was manager of the Carlisle side who sent Scarborough F.C down to the Conference courtesy of Jimmy Glass’ infamous strike, has showed a total lack of loyalty and class in the way he has gone about his business - which is sadly only too common in the modern game.
Clark on the other hand has shown loyalty to an owner who has backed him 100 per cent.
Luke Edwards’ superb interview with Clark in Friday’s Telegraph gave a great insight into the former Newcastle player’s ambition and the reasons why he rejected Leicester’s approach.
Clark was quoted as saying: “People shouldn’t make the mistake of believing I’m happy with an easy life or I want to stay in League One.
“There isn’t enough loyalty in football and there aren’t enough owners who understand football.”
I think the game needs more young English managers like Clark. It would have been so easy for him to snap up Leicester’s offer and spend their millions to try and get into the Premier League. But had he failed to do so his stock would have fallen dramatically.
Look at Paul Ince. So much promise as manager of MK Dons but moved to Blackburn Rovers too early.
Managers these days don’t want to serve their apprenticeship and all too quickly have their head turned by the big boys.
Clark has shown that there are still managers out there who have an ounce of loyalty in them. He looks likely to have a bright future, and will be all the more prepared for management at the top level following his stint at Huddersfield.