FOOTBALL: INTERVIEW, IAIN DOWIE - I Graft Hard and Know What I Want.Any Player Who Does Not like It Can Go; PALACE BOSS HAS A CRYSTAL CLEAR MESSAGE

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Byline: PAUL McCARTHY

STEVE McCLAREN set the standard. Paul Sturrock has taken up the cudgels. Now a growing line of young, intelligent British managers and coaches wait impatiently for their chance.

At the head of the queue stands Iain Dowie, a man whose reputation has grown to embody the new breed...ferociously ambitious, articulate with a willingness to embrace every aspect of coaching from innovative tactical thinking to the scientific preparation of their teams.

Even at Oldham, constantly teetering on the brink of financial extinction during Dowie's time, he employed the same rigorous standards to ensure survival on the pitch.

Now, in a few short months at Crystal Palace, he has transformed the club from relegation contenders to a side hankering after a play-off place.

The seeds of his ambition were sown around the Dowie family dinner table every Sunday when discussions about football transcended the usual 'my team's better than yours' banter.

He explains: "My dad's a passionate football man who thinks long and hard about the game while my brother's a qualified FA coach, so the conversations and debates we had were usually fierce.

"It forced me to think about the whole aspect of coaching, tactics, how to get the best out of players and just what you had to have in a team to be successful.

"I always thought my strengths would be in coaching. I enjoyed my playing career and I had a few good times, but I'm not one of those who says coaching is no substitute for playing... to me it's a hell of a lot better.

"I've had more enjoyment as manager of Oldham and now at Palace than I did as a player. I'm more suited to this job, it's where I feel most comfortable and I think I can go on to be more successful as a manager than I ever was as a player."

Dowie won 59 Northern Ireland caps but was always regarded as a plodder, somebody who merely made the best of the talents he had rather than possessing the innate ability which marks out the very best.

As a coach and manager, it's a very different story.

"I love the way everything is evolving at the moment," he says. "There's a real feeling of freshness about the attitudes among the younger coaches. I think we're pushing back the boundaries - and that's exciting.

"For me, every aspect of coaching has to be broken down and looked at with a new eye.

"Tactically, there's not that much new under the sun but the way we prepare our teams can be scrutinised. …