Former York City boss Alan Little spoke well about passion, hard work and committment at the press conference on Good Friday 1999 when he was announced as Southend's latest manager.
Anyone remembering him as a 19 year old player at SUFC in the 70s will remember him as wholehearted and committed. Whenever he was winding up for a shot the entire West Stand would duck. There are apparently still balls in the allotments in Fairfax Drive from his wayward shots.
He is considered by some to be a good motivator:
Little joined York City as assistant manager in 1988, having coached Hartlepool's youth, reserve and first teams for three years. The 1992 / 1993 season saw him handed the first team manager's position at York.
In his first season as manager of York he took them from the 3rd to the 2nd (via a Wembley play-off final win over Crewe) and in to playoff contention in the 2nd. They knocked both Man U (3-0 at Old Trafford) and Everton out of the Coca-Cola Cup.
Given York City's following and financial limitations that is exceptional. During his six-year managerial spell at York, Little spent £850 000 on players and recouped £3 765 000 in transfer fees. York City had apparently built a strong youth policy and that is what he wants to do here. There will definitely be a reserve team next year.
Little was sacked by York City on 15th March 1999. The announcement, to a fans' forum, that his contract had been terminated was greeted by wild applause although his loyalty and honesty were recognised.
Southend, under Little, barely managed to tread water. As with other managers of recent years, boardroom troubles did not help. Alan Little gave the impression of being honest and hard-working and he will not be forgotten for helping to ensure that Southend avoided the drop to the Conference during his stay.
His record of 21 wins, 19 draws and 30 defeats belies the fact that he was sacked, on 28th September 2000, just as Southend began their first three-match winning run in over forty years!
Little's replacement, David Webb, was officially announced on 2nd October.
© Luke Bosman Monday, 23 April 2007 at 21:08:46
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