Pashley passion can spur on the Clarets
FOR Terry Pashley his first game in charge of a professional football match – a meeting between two of his old teams – is the perfect story.
He hopes to script the perfect ending.
It has been a potentially unsettling and emotional week for Burnley, with the unforeseen departure of manager Eddie Howe.
Pashley’s response has been a practical one, having been given temporary charge while the search for his replacement gathers pace behind the scenes.
“It’s good to be out on the grass with them.
“That’s why we’re here. That’s our job, and part of the job I really love,” said the 55-year-old, who admitted he was surprised when Howe completed his return to Bournemouth.
“The rumours were there and speculation,” he added, “but when it happens it still comes as a shock. I’m sure the boys were in shock.
“But we’ve a job of work to do. Our jobs are to play and coach. It’s a big game at the weekend and that’s what we’re all focusing on.”
Pashley admits it will be a proud moment when he walks out with the team tomorrow at Turf Moor, where his own career began a month short of his 17th birthday. He moved to Bloomfield Road in 1978, but while he returned to his first club some years later as a coach – after injury curtailed his playing career – the seaside resort of Blackpool remained his home.
“I played a lot for Blackpool – over 200 games – and I still live in the town. That’s a little bit of spice for me,” he smiled.
By day, most days, he can be seen moulding footballers of the future. He, along with fellow youth coach Andy Farrell, has kept Burnley’s production line active with the likes of Richard Chaplow, Kyle Lafferty, Chris McCann, Jay Rodriguez all going on to forge excellent careers in the professional game, and more recently youngsters including Steven Hewitt, Cameron Howieson and Shay McCartan, who were instrumental in the Clarets reaching the FA Youth Cup semi-finals for the first time in 34 years last season.
While Pashley has had his own impact on the senior game, he perhaps never envisaged that he would eventually be in the first team hotseat – although in his early coaching days it was something he aspired to.
“When Jimmy Mullen gave me the job (at Burnley) I did have those ambitions. But you wonder if time has passed me by a little bit,” he said.
“It’s a great job to have. That’s why there are people speculating on the new applicants and the quality of them.
“I’m in my mid-50s, I enjoy what I’m doing, that’s not to say I haven’t got the ambition, but I’m realistic as well.”
He is certainly determined to make the most of this opportunity – his first in charge of a senior game despite four previous spells as part of a caretaker team.
“It’s going to be a good occasion with a big crowd and the cameras there,” he added. “Let’s give them something to shout about.
“We’ve got to respect Blackpool. They have got some threats and some good players. We have to deal with those threats, but when we start the game it’s about how we play and what we do.
“We are good with the ball. I’ve emphasised a lot this week we’ve got to be good without the ball.
“Hopefully the players give everything they’ve got, keep their composure, impose themselves and play with freedom. But it’s like sleeping with one eye open, we’ve got to be aware there’s a threat there. We’ve got to get that balance right.
“In a short time I don’t think you can change things drastically.
“The little things I’ve seen in training Eddie has seen as well. I’m not saying I’m re-inventing the wheel.”
With Burnley looking for an improvement in results after dropping points in their last three games, is Pashley feeling the pressure?
“From day one I’ve felt surprisingly calm,” he said. “There have been other occasions when I’ve stepped up from coaching the kids, which I really love doing, but it’s a completely different challenge with the first team,” he said.
“I'll go with my gut feeling and hopefully the right selection. I’ll stand and fall by those decisions.
“By around seven o’clock I’ll either be a bit of a duck egg or flavour of the month!”