New City boss Bryan Gunn this morning proudly unveiled his first choice as Canary coach – and revealed that the Three Musketeers could yet become four before the end of the week.
For as Gunn looked forward to tomorrow night's home clash with Southampton – now, of course, with the full-time managerial gig to his name – so he was joined by his former UEFA Cup pal and team-mate Ian Crook, still not quite 'fresh' off the plane from Sydney.
“I don't know what time zone he is in at the moment,” said Gunn, his easy and relaxed tone with the Press continuing to strike a wholly different chord than his immediate predecessor.
“But, hopefully, it is Norfolk time for an hour or two so he can do training – after that he can do whatever he wants!” said the City chief, clearly delighted that he was able to persuade Crook, 46, to rally to The Gunner's flag and end a ten-year spell coaching in Australia and the Far East.
“I'm obviously delighted that he's come on board – and he was a big factor in me getting the job… when I presented my 'dream team' to the directors and the vision that we had.
“This guy means a lot to Norwich City football club and it was great to be able to pick up the phone again and say to him that we'd got an opportunity to work for the club again – in a different capacity.
“And he just asked: 'What time plane do you want to get on?' And I had to calm him down because I hadn't got the job at that stage. But I think that the commitment he's shown is commendable and, hopefully, that will show that we mean to do the job right and it's not just an old pals act.
“This guy has got great experience in coaching teams – albeit on the other side of the world – but [given] some of the players that he's worked with and some of the managers that he's worked with, I've no doubt he'll be a success at this club.”
The next question had to be for the man from Oz. Was it as easy as that?
“Yes – it was, to be honest with you,” said Crook, those East End vowels now having a distinct Australian twang to them. And coming in from the height of an Australian summer, he had more of a tan than anyone else at Colney this morning.
He also revealed that this wasn't the first time that opportunity had knocked; that he had been somewhere in the mix on the last two occasions only for Messrs Grant and Roeder to be given the chance to install their own respective coaching teams into Colney.
“The opportunity to come back is always something that has excited me, but it hasn't happened in previous times – for whatever reasons.
“But this time, thankfully, this time it has,” said Crook, with Gunn's fateful first phone call actually arriving on his 46th birthday last weekend.
“As a family we'd spoken many, many times before about if it ever did come up so we pretty much already had the answers,” he added, with both his parents and his mother-in-law still to be found living in the Norfolk countryside. The fact that both boys, Sean and Sam, were born in Norwich and schooled in Norfolk made the decision ever more easy.
“The first contact was on the Sunday evening [the 18th],” Gunn revealed, as he and his own family decided whether or not to seize the moment themselves. Coming on the back of that 4-0 win over Barnsley the day before, the wind was in the Sheriff's sails like never before.
“I think you all know that I was contemplating what I was doing at that stage as well and I knew that the question would be: 'Who would you have in your backroom team?'
“And Ian was obviously one of those calls and John Deehan was the other – and we're still working on another potential member of staff. But, as I say, his commitment was incredible to more or less say: 'I'll get on the next plane…'”
Having jetted in on Friday morning, Crook conducted his first, full training session with his new charges yesterday.
“The buildings, the structures and the way that the pitches are all set out are still the same, but the thing that has blown me away is the professionalism of it all now,” as the man who honed his passing skills originally on the playing fields of Trowse gets introduced to the sports scientists, the ProZone specialist, the team masseuse, etc, etc…
And the players, is there something to work with there?
“100 per cent. Look I've said a while ago that we do have TVs in Australia – we're able to keep up with what's happening in the living world elsewhere. So I've seen Norwich on a few occasions this year; they've had some good results and some bad ones.
“But, for me, if you can get good results that shows that there is something there; the bad results, obviously, shows another side as well. But certainly I think there's enough quality in the dressing room to push up the table and away from the trouble that we're in at the moment.”
A big, Barnsley-style home win would certainly help – it would also keep a crisis-torn Saints firmly in the mire.
Gunn revealed that he had a fully-fit squad to select from suggesting that it will be same as – that if it wasn't bust, he wasn't about to try and fix it.
As for the prospects of any reinforcements given that we were now in the final week of the transfer window, he could do little else but reach for one of the standard sayings out of the managerial hand-book. “Things were on-going…”
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