Date:Friday May 19 2006
Ahead of Sunday Championship play-off final Watford boss Aidy Boothroyd looks back on his tenure at Elland Road as well at the big showdown in South Wales.
“I kept a personal diary during my time at Leeds,” the gaffer told the official site. “When I look back on it, I think I learnt so much simply because so much went on at the club in such a short space of time. It's been a real rollercoaster for Watford fans in the last few years but I would imagine it's true to say the same about Leeds.”
Boothroyd worked as first team coach to Blackwell before stepping into the Vicarage Road hotseat and explained: “I haven't spoken to Kevin Blackwell at all in the build up to Sunday. When you work for a manager who has to build a club in many ways, like Kevin did, I think you can't help but learn. That club was in such a state when I went there it was almost like a scene from Dream Team,” said Boothroyd.
“We never knew what was going to happen, one week it looked like we might be going into administration, the next week the wages weren't paid then the next month the club was saved and Ken Bates came in,” added Aidy.
Having worked for Blackwell for almost a season, Boothroyd believes it may give him an advantage over the Leeds boss: “I've worked with him, I know what he's like under pressure and I think that might give me a slight edge. Mind you, he would probably say that he's spent £12million more than me and that he's manager of Leeds United and that gives him a slight edge on me,” explained Aidy. “There's loads of stuff that goes on at Leeds and there are big name managers linked with the job every few weeks.”
Speaking of the incredible job that he has done since taking over from the lacklustre Lewington, namely instilling confidence and belief into Watford players as well as playing an attacking brand of football, Boothroyd said: “When I came here, my situation was a little different from what Kevin had at Leeds because I didn't have to bring in a brand new squad. Some good work had been done here and there were already some good players here. For me, the belief and the mentality are the things that have changed and that's down to everybody - players, staff, chairman and fans.”
Boothroyd also had a word for the Watford faithful ahead of their first trip to the Millennium Stadium: “I want our fans to go to Cardiff and enjoy it and have a fantastic day but I also want them to come away knowing their team is in the Premiership.”
“For me, to finish the season properly, we want to send our fans home very, very happy having capped off a wonderful season with promotion and for Leeds fans to have respect for what we've done here at Watford. They are my aims from Sunday,” envisaged Aidy.
The gaffer also spoke of his progression up the coaching ranks and learning experiences from it: “When I went to Leeds, I'd come from youth football where I was used to picking the team and deciding the tactics. I got plenty wrong doing that but I enjoyed being my own boss,” said Aidy. “Then I went to Leeds and found myself in a situation where I probably had to do what I was told and I wasn't the number one. I thoroughly enjoyed being around Leeds but after nine months there I knew that I wanted to have a go myself.”
Aidy continued: “At Leeds, I had some input but it was always the manager who took the final decisions just as that is the case here but now it's me making those decisions. I have a good, healthy relationship with Kevin Blackwell. I don't phone him up and ask for advice because he's my enemy now.”
The gaffer has earned a reputation as a meticulous planner and having already visited the Millennium Stadium once this week, Aidy spoke of other aspect of preparation that he has been doing: “To prepare for the play-offs, I took a day where I phoned 15 or 20 people who I thought might be able to give me useful advice. I spoke to players and managers from this sport and other sports and most of them said pretty much the same thing - It's all about who performs on the day,” concluded Boothroyd.
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