King’s Lynn Town helping Ian Culverhouse to fulfil his ambition of becoming a manager
- Credit: Ian Burt
After a whirlwind arrival as manager of King's Lynn Town, Norwich City legend Ian Culverhouse spoke to David Freezer about his ambitions as a manager.
The ambition to be a manager has finally been realised by former Norwich City defender Ian Culverhouse – but he knows the real hard work begins now.
Having been Paul Lambert's assistant at Colchester, Norwich and Aston Villa, the 52-year-old has served a lengthy apprenticeship. Now he begins his journey as a manager, returning to Norfolk to pick up the reins at King's Lynn Town.
'It's always been an ambition of mine, to be the number one,' the Canaries legend said.
'I've had jobs where I've made a lot of calls but not actually put my head above the parapet, so now's a chance to really go to the forefront and show people.'
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The chance to do that in Norfolk – where he lived between 1985 and 1994 while making 369 appearances as a Norwich player, and between 2009 and 2012 as a coach – proved the ideal opportunity.
He succeeds Gary Setchell as only the second manager of Lynn's reformed club, looking to help owner Stephen Cleeve – who bought the club last summer – achieve his ambitions of pushing for a place in the Football League.
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'It was a massive appeal to me,' Culverhouse said of his return to Norfolk. 'The scope for recruitment is massive, my remit is to get out and watch as many local games as possible, I want young, hungry players at this football club to drive it forward.
'Obviously the contacts I've got in the game will be massive to us as well when need be but it's an area that really only has one big club in it and this is the next one after Norwich.
'So as long as we can get the pull and get in the right direction, I think it's going to be a great journey.'
For those paying close attention, there was a phrase in that comment which will have been very familiar to Norwich fans.
Lambert regularly spoke of the need for 'young, hungry' players during his time as Canaries chief – but Culverhouse has also moulded his coaching philosophy on his experiences with another manager.
He arrives at The Walks after a year as assistant to John Still at National League title chasers Dageham & Redbridge.
'He's the best, if you look at his record in non-league and in the league, I think he's outstanding, there's no-one better,' the former Tottenham and Swindon defender said. 'I worked with him previously at Barnet and then obviously we went our separate ways and then to go back and work with him, probably a bit closer than I did before, was a great learning curve.
'It's something that I treasure because I've learned a lot from him in the year that I had with him, on the management side and the way to play so that listen is invaluable.
'Everyone you work with you take little bits from, or the bits that didn't work you brush that aside and say that didn't really work.
'I've got my own ideas of how I want to play, the way I want to manage and the interaction I want to have with the players but if you can't learn off of John Still then there must be something wrong with you!'
Culverhouse held his first training session last night ahead of tomorrow's trip to high-flying Hitchin Town – ironically, also nicknamed the Canaries.
Despite his wealth of top-level experience, his time with Dagenham has taught him that non-league football is not always about style and skill.
'I've always been brought up with a passing style of football but I'm not stupid, I know pitches dictate the way you play at this level, but we will look to try and play,' he continued.
'We will look to get the ball and move it quickly, have a lot of mobility in the side and a lot of pace, but I really want to get the ball down as much as we can – in the right areas I should say!'
While also confirming that there are no plans for any other immediate back-room appointments, Culverhouse still wants to see his new team attempting to close the current 21-point gap to the play-off places in the Southern Premier Division.
'We've got to build momentum, I know we've gone eight games now undefeated so it's building nicely,' he added. 'They've probably drawn too many games and I think Gary (Setchell)would be the first to admit that. I think he's done a fantastic job in six years at this football club, he really has. Full credit to him, I'm sure he won't be out of the game long.
'But now until the end of the season is just analysing the squad, every player will get a chance, what's gone is gone, and then it's just assessing what I need to challenge next year because this club needs to challenge next year, that's very, very important.'
Plenty of City fans may well be watching his progress closely.
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