Assistant manager admits that he went into management too early after his career ended
EXCLUSIVE BY CONOR O’SULLIVAN
David Livermore is relishing his role as Millwall assistant manager but admits he would love another crack at management at some point in the future.
The ex-Lions defender, who made 273 appearances for the club, became Neil Harris’ permanent assistant in 2015. Livermore managed Histon FC between 2010 and 2012 at the end of his playing career in the Conference National, before returning to Millwall as part of the academy set-up.
“I went into management too early after my playing career finished,” Livermore said. “I was only 30 when I was made the manager of Histon FC and that was a very tough job because the club was in £1million of debt at the time.
“I felt I needed to learn more, which is why coming back here to work with the under-18s was the right decision for me and I’ve managed to work my way through to the assistant role.
“The final decision is not yours as assistant manager.
“You can influence and give your opinion but the ultimate decision is with Neil (Harris). In terms of my development, this is the ideal position for me. I would love to have a go at management again because it would be something I would regret if I never tried should an opportunity come along.
“But at 37 years old I’m in no rush and I love working with Neil so hopefully we can continue working together for many years to come.”
Livermore has a very good working relationship with Harris and knows he can challenge the boss on certain points, but knows there is a clear line of authority running through the entire squad.
The Lions cult hero can employ a gentler touch with the players while making sure the chain of command is respected.
He said: “It’s generally an unwritten rule that no one challenges the manager’s authority in front of the players, and that’s the culture that we want here.
“Myself and Neil have discussions in private and I’ll give my opinion over things but the final decision always rests with the manager.
“Neil has the 100 per cent backing of the staff but he doesn’t want staff who will just agree with him.
“We have a healthy relationship and it is important that we argue over certain things and Neil will admit if he’s been wrong about something, or vice versa.
“I’ve known him a long time, we played together and there’s a lot of trust between the two of us.
“You must be a bit softer with the players when you’re an assistant and you need to develop a good relationship with them.
“At the same time, it’s important that those relationships don’t become too familiar and there is that distinction of authority between the players and coaching staff. We have that balance at Millwall and everyone knows Neil is the boss.
“The culture at the club has come a long way since he took over.”
Millwall resume action this Saturday away to Sunderland in 17th position on 17 points, seven clear of the struggling north-east club. Livermore takes a great deal of pride seeing so many academy players involved in the Millwall first team squad.
“It’s a big source of pride seeing academy players graduate to the first team. We’re not a club that’s blessed with a lot of resources.
“Our aim is to develop youth players who can advance to the first team and help us get results at this level.
“All successful Millwall teams in our history have had a core of home-grown players.
“Getting promoted has put that to the test and it has made it more difficult for the youth players.
“I know in the academy they always aim to produce a Premier League player that is good enough to go straight into the first team.
“It means the coaches and players must work harder because the demands on all us have shifted.
“It is our aim to bring an academy player through rather than look for a transfer but they have to be good enough to add something to the squad. A big part of our daily role as coaches is to make sure we’re developing the players by making sure they’re ready to step into the first team or secure them a loan deal that will give them first team experience.”
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