"Not really, no, you're the boss whatever way you look at it. There's a different relationship now between managers and players; now players deal with their agents, their agents almost run their lives - if there's a problem, the agent rings the chairman or the chief executive and complains about the manager not picking them. The player doesn't knock on the manager's door very often any more - 'why aren't I playing gaffer, what's wrong?' - they just get their agent to ring the chairman. Agents have relationships with chairman and chief executives, not managers."
It must be tremendously frustrating, for you as a manager, to have to deal with that extra layer of bureaucracy?
"Yeah, it's gone. There's nothing you can do now. They bypass you, they go straight to the chairman or to the chief executive. It's a changing game out there. Half the managers are not even picking players that they signed, they're picking other people's. Years ago the manager signed every player - you went and watched the player play Tuesday night or Wednesday night - now the players all come from foreign countries, all being recommended by the chairman who's got an agent who's telling him about someone, or a chief executive who's got the agents on the phone - it's a changing world at the top level, the Premier League level now.
"You're signing players from Argentina, from Brazil, from everywhere - how d'you get to watch them play as a manager? When you gonna watch them? You can't. You can't go and watch them in real life, you can only watch videos - you're playing every Saturday. How you gonna get to Argentina and watch a game Saturday night or Sunday morning? You can't. So you're relying on your head of recruitment, or what used to be called a chief scout. Now he's got a fancy name - looking at stats - it's like moneyball."