Mar 23 2012 by Andy Galloway, Lennox Herald (main ed)
WHAT do these three men have in common?
They are all football managers – but there’s a bit more to it than that.
Their levels of doing the job are very different – two of them have been in charge of Chelsea and won European honours with FC Porto.
The other, meanwhile, currently manages a Scottish Second Division outfit.
But Dumbarton boss Alan Adamson can reflect on his latest success as a gaffer knowing that he can identify with José Mourinho and André Villas-Boas in one respect.
All three of them have become successful managers at their respective levels without ever having played a single game professionally between them.
And while the Portuguese duo have a glittering range of medals at the top of the game to show for their success, Alan is proud of the honours mounting on his mantelpiece.
The latest was his second consecutive manager of the month award, which he received for February.
It was also the third time he’d won the Second Division prize in a year.
Adamson could have had a senior education in playing the game – including a potential move to Dumbarton – but chose a career in the police instead.
However, even when he was catching criminals, a move into coaching and management was never far from his mind.
He said: “Not playing at senior level didn’t hold me back in management at all. I had opportunities to play at senior level but my job with the police meant that I couldn’t.
“I was offered terms by Sean Fallon at Dumbarton when they played at Boghead Park. He even offered to pay my police wages but it didn’t happen.
“I also had offers from Queen’s Park and Clyde to go senior. It is a regret to a certain extent but I’ve now got the security of my police pension.
“I did play at roughly the same level as our current players, so I know what I’m talking about.
“I got junior caps for Scotland, which I would say was the same standard then as the Second Division is now.
“It was always in the back of my mind that I’d go on to become a manager, especially when I was doing my coaching badges.
“I always thought that when I retired from the police I’d go into management at junior or senior level.
“Then the opportunity came to work with Jim Chapman at Albion Rovers and Dumbarton and then I became Sons boss and it’s been brilliant.
“But the manager of the month awards are down to the players –they are the ones who do the business on the park. You try to keep them focused and organised but they’re the main ones.”
Adamson is delighted to have been honoured with the award again and added: “I can’t remember anybody ever being manager of the month twice in a row, but it’s a great compliment for everybody at Dumbarton and the way we are looking to progress.”
The similarities with the two Portuguese managers don’t end there, either – all three were trained by the Scottish Football Association at Largs.
Training in Scotland gave Mourinho and Villas-Boas a positive start in the game – and Alan feels he’s benefited from it as well.
He said: “These guys did their training at Largs and have obviously come up through the ranks since.
“The Largs training courses get a lot of bad press but they certainly go into detail about aspects of the job.
“The only problem I have is that if you pass you fall into their category as a coach or a manager. In my view managers should be allowed to go their own way.
“Among the ones on my course were Gordon Chisholm and Dave Baikie, along with a few others who are all tried and tested managers.”
Alan’s big break as a manager came in October 2010 when Chapman accepted a new position at Dumbarton. After six months in caretaker charge, he was handed control of first team affairs on a permanent basis in April last year – and he’s never looked back.
He continued: “Without a doubt I’ve strengthened as a manager since I took charge.
“There is a good team spirit among the players and you can tell that when we’ve gone a goal down recently and fought back for a draw or a win.
“If you look at them in the cold light of day, the games against Cowdenbeath and Arbroath came at the end of a really hard period for us.
“Had we played them earlier we might have stood a better chance but the players’ efforts in the previous months took their toll.
“We did beat Arbroath at the start of the 10-game unbeaten sequence so we’ve shown we can match them.
“I haven’t changed that much about what I do as a manager. I had a lot of experience as manager of the Scottish and British police teams so it wasn’t alien to me. I know how to motivate players and I think I know how to get the best out of them.”
Sons still have a potential top four place to play for this season, clear of Stenhousemuir and East Fife in third place. That would mean a shot at the end-of-season play-offs to determine who goes up with the league champions.
That presents a slight problem for Alan, who is already thinking about next season – but doesn’t know what level his team will be playing at yet.
He said: “I’ve very much thought about it. Should we go up we will need to do a lot of work.
“But if we don’t then I think there’s a bit of fine-tuning to be done. Hopefully we can do that, push on next season and really make a go of it.
“We’ve seen from Cowdenbeath and Arbroath what is needed to challenge for the title and I’m definitely confident we can match it if we don’t go up this year.
“However, we don’t know for certain what division we’ll be playing in yet.”
And the future for Alan?
He said simply: “I’m just focusing on Dumbarton and doing the best I can for them. When a manager is successful there’s always going to be speculation that they could move up.”
And after their respective moves from Porto to Chelsea, there are two Portuguese men who can certainly agree with that.