Delia's full of praise for Stringer

Delia Smith says the decision to ask ex-Canaries chief Dave Stringer to help in the managerial selection process was inspired. Stringer, manager of City for almost five years up to the summer of 1992 after 499 appearances as a player, was one of nine people involved at the sharp end as City debated the merits of their final six applicants.

By CHRIS LAKEY

Delia Smith says the decision to ask ex-Canaries chief Dave Stringer to help in the managerial selection process was inspired.

Stringer, manager of City for almost five years up to the summer of 1992 after 499 appearances as a player, was one of nine people involved at the sharp end as City debated the merits of their final six applicants.

And City's majority shareholder says it couldn't have worked out better.


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“I just thought we needed somebody who really knew about football,” said Delia. “Barry Skipper suggested Dave and it was just like, 'wow', that is exactly right.

“You need a football man, you have to have a football man there. He played a major part in talking to us and in talking to the applicants and I can't praise him highly enough - I never want to choose a manager without that.

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“Looking back it was the icing on the cake really.”

It took City les than a fortnight to get their man in a process that Delia described as exhausting.

“I am thrilled and delighted we managed to do all the business in 13 days,” she said. “I remember other times when things dragged on and on and on. It's been a whirlwind, a bit of a rollercoaster, very exhausting and we have only one thing we want to achieve and that is success for our football club and for our supporters and we have to do our very best to achieve that.

“What I am delighted with best of all is that the vote was unanimous, the number one on the list of all interviews was totally unanimous, I think that's pretty good.

“Before we did any interviews at all we had things on our list - passion, commitment, hard work and suddenly it was all there.

“We had some very strong contenders, I was surprised at how strong - there are some good people out there.”

A number of high-profile managers were supposedly on the original wish list, leaving some supporters nonplussed at the appointment of someone rather lower down their own particular rankings scale - although Delia is quick to point out that names don't guarantee success.

“Not at all,” she said. “I can understand where some supporters are coming from, but I honestly feel we did our research really well.

“Our chief executive Neil Doncaster prepared everything; we had CVs, we had every bit of information about every applicant. It was handled so perfectly and so well, but before we started we knew what we wanted and when we got down to six applicants and interviewed them all it was good, they were all really, really good. It was a strong group of people.”

Delia's mood yesterday was a far cry from a fortnight earlier, when she had lamented the departure of a man who had served the club as a manager for more than six years.

“It was very hard for everybody,” she said. “I spoke to Nigel yesterday and he was saying how many wonderful letters he has had from supporters. We were all disappointed, but there is a time for everything and it was the right time, for him and for us, and I think now is the right time for somebody new and somebody hungry and somebody who really wants to do the business.

“And whether it's here or somewhere, he's going to, I am convinced he is.”

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