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Friday, 18 April 2014

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John Gorman: a grown-up on a planet of juveniles

English football will lose a gentleman at the end of the season, so Roy Hodgson’s appointment as the national team’s coach is worthwhile for that reason alone. It means there will be some balance for the time, coming soon, when John Gorman is no longer around.

John Gorman photo
John Gorman

A civilised man takes the top chair as another gives up the slog. Gorman, Carlisle’s greatest ever left-back and current MK Dons number two, is ending his 44-year career because the daily demands of the job are testing his health.

Around Carlisle you won’t have to search hard to find someone who will sit you down and tell you what an exciting sight Gorman was when in full flight down United’s left side. Those of us who never had that privilege have had to get by with Gorman the coach, Gorman the man. Gorman the person.

That has been a joy of a different kind. A coach of principle, Gorman took his beliefs on the game from Dick Young, United’s legendary trainer, who reckoned that the game was best played with the ball on the floor, being passed at pace, always with enterprise.

He has invariably flooded his teams with these thoughts, often to great success, and down the years has never rejected a phone call, never rejected the opportunity to discuss his thoughts and his passions for Carlisle, never resented an intrusion on his time, and never given any impression that the game is not something to treasure and share.

Not so many, these days, are inclined to entrust you with their ideas, their memories, their confidences. There is fault on both sides for this but for most of his days Gorman has been the best kind of football man: open, warm, kind and encouraging of maturity, both ways.

The Daily Telegraph’s Henry Winter best described Hodgson this week as “a broadsheet man in a tabloid world.” At times Gorman has seemed a grown-up on a planet of juveniles. He deserves the happiest retirement.

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