Q&A with Whitey
1) What are your plans once the season is complete?
Head to the Euros with my son Richard and take in Northern Ireland's group games. Improve my terrible golf swing!
2) What has been your favourite memory from your time as first team manager?
Promotion to the Premier League for this great club
3) What has been your worst memory from your time as first team manager?
Relegation in my first season from Division 1. The 11 nil defeat at Portadown wasn't healthy either
4) What was your team's greatest performance?
The 3-1 victory over Linfield at Windsor Park in our first season. The complete performance.
5) Who is the most talented player you have worked with?
I will highlight 3 for differing reasons. When Phil Leonard arrived at our mini soccer centre in the mid 90s aged 10, he quite simply was incredible! Phil just unfortunately did not fulfil his potential. Duwayne McManus was also an incredible gifted natural player who could paint a picture 4 passes in advance - once again has not fulfilled his full potential. Chris Curran simply made the hair stand on the back of your neck. Championship player of the year and took the Premier League by storm. Exciting to watch. As you can see I like technically gifted footballers!
6) Do you have any advice for the up and coming youngsters at our club?
Listen to your coaches and enjoy the game. However your ATTITUDE determines how far your ability will take you!
7) Do you have any advice for the up and coming managers at the club?
Your greatest learning will not come from within a coaching course, but from the experience you gain over time. Like in life, we make mistakes and are always learning. As a Manager or coach it is no different.
8) There were doubts whether Fermanagh could sustain a Premier League club; 4 years later do you think it can be sustained in the long term?
Absolutely. It will be a challenge but it can be done. This club has good people and infrastructures mean nothing without people.
9) What stood out for you when we entered our first season in the top flight?
From early on the standard of referreeing and pitches. There are good people involved trying to improve refereeing and whilst we all make mistakes the young refs need to have a better understanding. Some have no experience of responsibility and find it difficult to manage 22 players on a pitch! It's fine to have a swagger of arrogance, however you need to be able to back it up. Improve pitches then the standard will improve. The majority of grass pitches are a disgrace.
10) Name your best 11 that your have managed (442 formation)
Rouse Keohane Carters Stafford McConkey McCartney Kee Hutchinson Curran Crawford Campbell.
A few other players hard to leave out but the Championship squad of 2011/12 and Premier League squad 2012/13 will never be equaled in my opinion. Ability, attitude, hunger, desire, team spirit and pure togetherness - a unique group! The 2008 Championship squad in the inaugural season was also very special. Groundsharing at Armagh for 18 months and laid the seeds for what lay ahead !