Burnley Under 23s coach Steve Stone is bringing the Brian Clough and Archie Gemmill factor to Turf Moor
Steve Stone, just like Burnley boss Sean Dyche, is straight out of the school of legendary Nottingham Forest figures Brian Clough and Archie Gemmill.
The Under 23s coach learned his trade at the City Ground having graduated from the youth set up before going on to make more than 200 appearances for the club.
Working under Clough, who led Forest to successive European Cups, and former Scotland international Gemmill, who played in Forest’s 1979 final against Malmo FF at the Olympiastadion in Munich, has clearly rubbed off on Stone.
Both were outspoken, intimidating characters, but the pair, considered to be two of the best coaches of their time, left their mark on the game.
Clough, considered to be ‘the greatest manager England never had’, won 16 pieces of silverware in his time with Forest and Derby County as well as three individual honours.
One-time England winger Stone, who featured nine times for the Three Lions, truly valued his education in West Bridgford and is hoping he can share his knowledge with the future generation at Turf Moor.
“It has got to be [the Clough effect],” said Stone. “It is what he instilled in you. He wanted you to be good people first and I always talk about that to my players.
“You always have to be a good person before you are a good footballer because it will help you along the way.
“Brian was like that and we all seem to have the same traits, work really hard, play good football and be good people. That comes out of it.
“I couldn’t see Stuart Pearce being a good person, but I got underneath that and realised he was a good person with the way he trained and went about his business.
“He interacted with people and helped the younger kids with doing the right thing by being a professional and giving you a tough time to show how hard you had to work to get to where he was.
“There were so many good role models in that dressing room and we’re all of the same ilk. We all want to win and have a winning mentality because that is what the coaches had when we were there.”
Stone, who scored 27 times for Forest in all competitions, learned that it’s essential to play both ‘good cop’ and ‘bad cop’ to succeed in the industry, just a more diluted version of Gemmill’s methods.
The former winger, who went on to play for Aston Villa, Portsmouth and Leeds United, added: “I had Archie Gemmill, who was a really good coach and a proper footballer who had played in World Cups.
“He was tough and really hard. I am hard on my players as well, but not to the extent he was. I get that young players and people are different these days and I have to manage them differently.
“I have a wide age group as well with lads like Dan Agyei, who are 21-22, down to Lewis Richardson, who is 16 and still in school.
“That is the difficulty I find, managing the age groups where one is a child at school and Dan Agyei is a man.
“I have to get that balance right and that has been my development as a coach. I struggled with it to start with, but now I am getting better at it. We are all trying to improve all of the time.”
The emergence of Dwight McNeil is the paragon of the academy’s conveyor belt of talent, even though the 19-year-old was on the scene prior to Stone’s arrival.
Others such as Jimmy Dunne [Hearts and Sunderland] and Ali Koiki [Swindon Town] have enjoyed successful loan spells, as did goalkeeper George McMahon [Ashton United] and Scott
Wilson [Stalybridge Celtic] with the latter recently signing his first professional contract at Turf Moor.
Meanwhile, Anthony Glennon and Josh Benson both made the bench for the Clarets during the 2018/19 campaign.
Now Stone is looking for more of the same. “Duffo left me in a good place, he has the same mentality that I have. He has been brought up around the gaffer and the first team and the squad had that.
“All I have tried to do is to keep edging it forward and move the Under-18s alongside us to try and educate them.
“It has been a real positive and it is going in the right direction, but we need to continue to invest. There is no point having one good season and then falling behind again.
“We need to get more players out on loan and I need them to experience league football. I am a bit disappointed that we have had to keep some of the boys here because I would have liked more to have gone out.
“My aim next season is to get more of the Jimmy Dunne’s, Ali Koiki’s out so they can play men’s football and develop.”
Stone, who guided the Under 23s to the Lancashire Senior Cup final and a fourth place finish in the Professional Development League, added: “In terms of the players we have brought through, I think that has been a huge positive.
“The gaffer is trusting them and they are getting there on merit and when there is space he is looking at the likes of Josh, who he has seen in training, and said ‘I will have him’.
“Glenno has deserved a place on the bench because he has been brilliant in training. They might not get on the pitch yet, because they are not ready, but it shows that the gaffer has trust in what we are doing.
“Because you are so attached to the players, and it is impossible not to be, you have immense pride for them. I have had my career and my job is to get them through now.
“I remember making my debut many years ago and how proud I was to do it and how in awe I was of the whole situation.
“Now I look at Glenno and I live my memories through him and the others and it is great to see. I have a small part (to play) but I see how hard they work every single day.”