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Football: Why go abroad if I can go to Newport?

Byline: PAUL ABBANDONATO

``I TOLD everyone that this is my third spell at the club. . . I must be a glutton for punishment!''

With those words, Colin Addison breezed back into management at Newport County. Smiling as usual and as he says, for a third time, only on this occasion as No2 to Tim Harris.

The man who was summarily dismissed by Swansea City only a few months ago snubbed offers to manage abroad in the new season and turned down opportunities to scout for Premiership clubs.

The lure of being back in the old County dugout, though, was one he found too tempting to resist.

And the immediate aim for the Harris-Addison dream ticket is to help the club lead a promotion charge into the Conference and to make their mark on the FAW Premier Cup this season.

``Swansea has been and gone. I've still got friends there, but I've not been back since what happened and I've nothing more to say on the matter,'' asserts Addison.

``I've had offers from abroad, which I felt weren't quite right for me.

``I could have worked for Premiership clubs, sitting comfortably in the directors' box doing scouting work and writing reports.

``But, even though I'm in my 60s, I don't feel I'm ready for that.

``No, there's still nothing quite like the dugout on a Saturday afternoon, the thrills and spills of a game, the tension.

``And if I can help my old club on the route back towards League football again, then I will be delighted.''

Addison's first spell as manager at County's old Somerton Park ground culminated in that win they still talk about in Newport - the one over Workington which led to the club keeping its League status.

His second spell, at the end of Newport's early 1980s golden era, was pretty ordinary, although his team did come within 90 minutes of a Wembley appearance in the old Freight Rover Trophy and the European Cup Winners' Cup. They lost to Brentford and Bangor respectively.

Roll on 2002 and Addison's third spell.

``After talking to people at the club and agreeing to join, I explained how I must be a glutton for punishment,'' Addison joked.

``No, I'm really looking forward to the challenge. I've known Timmy Harris for almost 30 years because he was youth team goalkeeper in my Newport side during my first spell here. ``I asked him what exactly he wants me to do and he just told me to come on board, use my experience, take the odd coaching session.

``It made me think back to my spell as Derby manager when I took John Newman, then Grimsby's boss, with me as my No2.

``He asked, `Colin, what do you want me to do?' My reply was, `If I miss anything, make sure you've got it.' ``That's what teamwork is about and hopefully, between us, Tim and I can get this club really moving forward again.'' Addison is adamant Newport can charge through the Leagues and regain their Division Three status one day.

``Has to happen,'' he said. ``This is a city, these days, remember.

``Just look at the rugby club down the road. They were only attracting 2,000 crowds three years ago. Tony Brown came in, pumped in money and everything is soaring again. ``Newport County are talking about going full-time in the not too distant future. With the level of support here, we can at the very least be a flourishing Conference club.

``With a little bit more impetus, we could yet see Newport County as a Football League team again.''

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ALL SMILES: Colin Addison is back in charge of Newpor t County
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Title Annotation:Sport
Publication:Wales On Sunday (Cardiff, Wales)
Date:Jul 21, 2002
Words:611
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