A true great
This season is the final season as a manager for one of the true greats of English football. Dario Gradi is finally handing over the reins of Crewe Alexandra and moving upstairs to become director of football. The man responsible for keeping Crewe up well above the level that a club of their size can reasonably expect deserves far more credit than he receives. Dario has turned the Alex into a production line for talented young footballers.
This is despite the better youngsters having the pick of Manchester United and City, Liverpool, Everton, Stoke City and many other clubs in the local area. What Gradi has done is prove good coaching can make a massive difference. It might even be a benefit to Crewe that he will no longer be responsible for managing the first team, Dario can now devote his time completely to improving the youth set up even further. It is just a shame he never got the chance with a bigger club.
It would have been good to see what Gradi could have done with a Premier League club such as Newcastle. After Kevin Keegan scrapped the youth system (losing the club Michael Carrick in the process), they could have done with Dario stepping in and setting up their new academy. I can only imagine the wonders Gradi could have done with a decent amount of money at his disposal.
He would have also had the top young players in the area to pick from instead of feeding off the scraps left by the bigger teams. If he can produce the likes of David Platt, Neil Lennon, Robbie Savage, Seth Johnson, Dean Ashton and Rob Hulse at Crewe, what could he have done with a better level of talent to pick from?
Dario's teams always play good, passing football too, how much better would the Premier League be if he managed Bolton? Instead of a bunch of nearly-been foreigners booting the ball up to Kevin Davies, we would have been treated to a bunch of youngsters playing exciting, attacking and passing football.
Most of all how much better would England be if they had a bunch of youngsters coming through a Gradi coaching system? I guess we will never get to find that out.
Article written by Tris Burke