One of his greatest strengths as a manager was to simplify things. He would implement a plan, and it would work. A lot of European teams then were playing with a back three and wing-backs.
Jack said: “We’ll turn them around, play into their half, put it up to the centre-forwards or in the channel, and if they win it back they’re too arrogant to just boot it out; they’ll try and play out. We’ll put them under pressure and win the ball back in their half – and then we play. And from that we’ll start getting chances and win games.”
Guess what? We did. Teams hated playing against us. It was very successful.
In 1988, when we were playing England, it was: “When Peter Beardsley gets the ball, one of you run at him. Just don’t let him get his head up and start running. If he gets his head up, he’ll pick a pass – and if he starts running he’ll start weaving, and he’ll be in our box and we’ll end up giving a penalty away or he’ll end up finding a pass.”
“He changed it around for us – our self-belief and our mindset”
It was the simplest information, but it worked.
To say that Tony Galvin, Ray Houghton, Ronnie Whelan, Frank Stapleton, John Aldridge (below), Niall Quinn, Tony Cascarino, Liam Brady and Andy Townsend were not good footballers is ridiculous. We played to a specific way, and he made it very simple. If you didn’t do it, you didn’t play – it was black and white.
He was also an excellent man-manager. You could always have a laugh with him – the lads loved him – and he understood footballers of the time and how they worked.
Before he became manager, when we met up, the lads from around Dublin would go and stay with their parents, and he stopped that. We all had to go to the team hotel on the Sunday night, and stay there. We’d then go to the pictures on the Monday night.