‘Dublin’s answer to Tim Sherwood’: Footie mad finalist turns inspirational manager
He had a five month unbeaten winning streak
A former 1st XI star lived every fan’s childhood dream by managing his very own football team and leading them to cup glory.
As a fourth-year at Trinity College Dublin, Patrick “Paddy” Meade was offered the role by the club chairman after a string of injuries forced him to hang up his playing boots.
Paddy said: “As a young player I was one of those special talents that narrowly slipped through the professional net. My big ‘break’ never materialised and after a succession of injuries I found myself languishing in the second XI.
“The club chairman pulled me to one side and suggested I leave my prodigious playing days behind me and take my first big step in to management – the university 3rdXI.”
Paddy’s role model Ray O’Malley, who helped rejuvenate DUAFC after inheriting a broken club in 2010, said that it was a brave move for a young player to take at such an early stage in his career in the beautiful game.
He told The Tab: “Paddy was special. His strongest attributes were his leadership qualities, match day preparation and knowledge of the game.”
In fact, Paddy was so good, Ray believes he could have gone all the way to the top. He said: “He could have been a future contender for the first team hot seat.”
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The appointment of Paddy and his assistant manager, tactical maestro Jamie Khan, was met by initial scepticism.
But the dynamic duo silenced their critics by leading DUAFC’s 3rd XI to a five month unbeaten winning streak.
In a statement on Facebook in January, a club spokesman said: “After their controversial appointment in September…Dublin’s answer to Tim Sherwood and Les Ferdinand have tackled the role with youthful panache.”
Paddy added: “The run was pretty remarkable for a team of first years, Erasmus students, and first team rejects.”
Paddy’s managerial prowess didn’t go unnoticed, as Ray, a senior official in club management, hinted that he had the hallmarks of a great.
Ray told The Tab: “His ability to take defeat on the chin reminded me of Tony Mowbray.”
But Paddy, now a graduate living in London, says it wasn’t an easy ride. He said: “People assume that being TCD’s answer to AVB is a life of fame, glamour and excess. They wouldn’t be wrong.
“However, it was also a lot of hard work on the training ground and seeing the team develop and improve over the year was extremely satisfying.”
Remembering his finest hours, Paddy recalled tactical breakthroughs with assistant manager Jamie Khan.
He reminisced: “Contrary to popular belief, it was us that invented the ‘False 9’. Another highlight was implementing the 4-3-2-1 ‘Christmas Tree’ formation during the busy December fixture rush before the festive period.”
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And when it comes to discipline, Paddy reckons ruling the dug out with an iron fist isn’t the way forward.
He said: “Some players may think they’re the next Adrian Mutu on and off the field so it’s all about managing expectations. I tried to bestow my knowledge of the top level on my players with an open and honest approach is always best.
“I saw myself as a father figure to these boys and always included a constructive element to any dressing down.”
But he insists he wasn’t soft on the team: “There was the occasional flying boot and pizza slice. Although I’m not a hairdryer kind of guy to be honest.
“We once had a German winger who tried to dish out tactical advice at half time in his first game. The assistant manager made sure he never played again.”
Members of the club wax lyrical about Paddy’s footie nous and the effect he had on the club as a whole.
In a comment on Facebook, megafan Rory McCarthy said: “He’s changed the way we think about football.”
A sentence David Moyes will never hear.
As far as DUAFC icon Ray is concerned, Paddy set an admirable example for young footballers everywhere.
He told The Tab: “Whether they have the knowledge or not, the experience of managing can assist anyone in their post-university life. In fact, many may never get the chance to lead a team of 11 men in their professional life.”
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