Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Liddle: My Time at Quakers Was the Making of Me

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Liddle: My Time at Quakers Was the Making of Me

Article excerpt

Byline: Stuart Rayner

CRAIG Liddle believes he will join Sunderland's academy a better person than the man who nurtured Darlington's young talent.

The former Middlesbrough defender will take on a coaching role at the Academy of Light.

Chester-le-Street-born Liddle joins after six turbulent months as a reluctant caretaker manager of the Quakers.

The 40-year-old was in charge during arguably the most difficult period of the club's 129-year existence, which was under serious threat when they went into administration for the third time in nine years.

Hindered by a transfer embargo which saw him re-register as a player seven years after retirement, Liddle was unable to save them from relegation from the Conference.

He did, though, earn great credit for the dignity he showed combining running the first team with his day job, as youth team manager.

Liddle, who made his Quakers debut in 1998, said: "I think my time as Darlington manager strengthened my knowledge I wanted to stay in youth development.

"I half-enjoyed management, but youth football has always been my passion.

"It has made me a stronger character. I have had to deal with every emotion possible and hopefully that will stand me in good stead in this job. I am definitely a stronger character for it."

Liddle produced many of the players Darlington were forced to rely on during numerous lean times, such as Boro's Curtis Main and Fulham's Dan Burn.

His move is acknowledgement of his good work and Liddle admits it could scarcely have worked out better having spent his entire career in the North East since a one-season spell as an Aston Villa trainee.

He added: "I have known about this for a while but it was important I did everything I could for Darlington and did not allow this to be a distraction.

"It was not right for me to talk about it.

"Throughout my time at Darlington I always stated I saw my future in youth development, so to be given the chance to work at a big club like Sunderland was brilliant for me. …

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