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Not many role models for Niall to live up to.

Byline: By Stuart Rayner

The role of chairman-manager will be a challenging one for Niall Quinn, but at least he does not have much to live up to.

Although out of necessity the dual role abounds in non-League football, history suggests at league level the jobs mix about as well as oil and water.

Those with a foot in both camps are generally egotists horrendously under-qualified for one aspect and, when it all ends in tears, soon end up doing neither.

As someone who juggled a ball in front of a packed Old Trafford in 1989 before having actually bought Manchester United (he never did), Michael Knighton could never be accused of modesty.

So it came as little surprise when Knighton decided the best man to manage Carlisle United was him. The results were even more predictable.

Knighton led his newly-promoted team to relegation in 1997-8 and when he finally accepted seven months later he was not cut out for management, Nigel Pearson was left to stop the Cumbrians dropping out of Division Three.

Pearson succeeded, thanks largely to goalkeeper Jimmy Glass's final-day heroics and a 1-0 win over Scarborough, who finished below them.

Chester City's Terry Smith went one better the following year. After Kevin Ratcliffe resigned four matches into the campaign complaining of "interference", the former American Football coach cut out the middle man. When, in January 2000, Ian Atkins was left to pick up the pieces the damage was done and Chester dropped out of the Football League.

Lincoln City's John Reames was another businessman who thought he could do a better job than his manager, sacking Shaun Westley, then taking the Imps down to Division Three in 1999.

Unlike that trio, however, Quinn is a reluctant manager, having made perfectly clear his stop-gap appointment is a last resort. Quinn will need to do better than Barry Fry, the veteran manager who took over as Peterborough chairman and, after leading them to relegation for a second time, sacked himself last year.

But there have been some successful chairman-managers, such as Hereford United's Graham Turner, who took charge of the boardroom in 1998 and last season led the Bulls back into the Football League.

Perhaps the most successful of all chairman-managers was both a businessman and an egotist, however.

After 17 years enduring the failings of Crystal Palace managers, Ron Noades took control of Brentford United in 1998. After winning the Third Division in his first season, Noades stood down six months later. Quinn will hoping for a far shorter tenure.
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Publication:The Journal (Newcastle, England)
Date:Jul 26, 2006
Words:423
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