Darren Carter is home. A lifelong Birmingham City supporter, his playing career at the club included scoring the club’s penalty shootout in the 2002 Premier League.
When that ball hit the net, some of the players were not born, but he was remembered in those parts. The number of family and friends present at St. Andrew’s first game against Manchester City last month was overwhelming.
“It was a special time,” he said. Sky Sports. “Probably not the first time everyone was so proud. As you grow older, you will appreciate those times more. My whole family is a fan of Birmingham City. I still feel at home.”
Although Carter, 38, says, “I love every minute of it and learn every day.” The team is top of the Women’s Super League with just one point from 10 games.
There was some fighting in the first leg and Manchester City’s late goal sealed the victory. There were even two goals to celebrate – doubling their total during the season. It was encouraging because he had little confidence in the team’s ability to compete.
“The first step was to lift the spirits because we have to compete and the players have to be at this level,” said Carter. But how does it restore self-confidence? “Only you can remember their characteristics. I was there. This is how you build power.
“I’ve seen a change of mindset. The players are starting to get excited again. This is a big thing for me. If you are not happy in any industry, if you are dancing, you can’t get the best out of it. It’s about creating people’s environment and smiling.
His playing career is only a passing season. Craig Gardner, a former team-mate, has admitted that he is now the club’s technical director.
Carter Steve Bruce and Mack McCarthy have played under a number of experienced coaches, but Solul Mours boss Jimmy Shan described his coaching career as a start. “I am his disciple. He is on the dial.”
Impacts are variable. Carter is a big basketball fan and is therefore encouraged by former Chicago Bulls coach Phil Jackson. He is one of the greatest. I have read all the books. During the first outbreak, I did a lot of research on him and his coaching methods.
“I like the basics of basketball, its psychology. They are better at how to create an environment for players, how to engage them. Although different sports, different variables, it is still a challenge to manage people. It’s still the same.”
Sunday, January 9, 30 p.m.
Tactically, he changed things, trying new methods. “What is the system that suits the players? But thinking is key.
“Trouble separates the winners and we know we have good leaders. Even the youngest have a positive attitude. They don’t run away. There are players here with a cornice. The challenge for me is to find them. Their best.”
In the second leg, they lost to Leicester. “It was a real gut test. I can’t lie. We felt we were good enough to score in the game. We went into good places.
But now they are at least creating opportunities. “This comes from a change of style. We want to be in the last three more, we want to create those inputs, those shots and those chances, because we have good players at the top of the field.”
They should be taken soon but there is still hope. With a dozen games left, the team is just two points away from safety. “We are positive,” he said. “Finally, you need results over the weekend but I know these players have to give a lot. The time is right.”
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