While James Beattie may be a managerial novice, there can be no denying the new Stanley boss has played under some great managers.
From being a trainee at Blackburn when Kenny Dalglish was in charge to playing for England under Sven-Goran Eriksson, Beattie has crossed paths with some interesting personalities during his colourful career.
Current England boss Roy Hodgson gave the striker a handful of first-team appearances at Rovers before selling him to Southampton, where he played under the likes of Glenn Hoddle, Gordon Strachan and, briefly, Harry Redknapp.
New Manchester United boss David Moyes made him Everton’s record signing in January 2005 and Beattie went on to play for Bryan Robson (Sheffield United), Tony Pulis (Stoke), Walter Smith (Rangers) and Ian Holloway (Blackpool).
It’s fair to say that’s a mixed bag of characters, who have very different methods and have achieved contrasting success as players and managers.
And asked which manager he’d learnt most from, Beattie paused before replying: “Good or bad?”
The answer was both because, as the 35-year-old is now well aware, becoming a successful leader is as much about learning what not to do than learning what to do.
“That was one of the questions the board asked me – ‘have you got any managerial experience?’ I just went ‘well, just 18 years of playing under managers’.
“It’s a bit of a cliché to say ‘well, I’ll take the best bits, mould them into one and that’ll be me’. You never know until you’re actually in that situation.
“A lot of help will come from Paul (Stephenson). He’s vastly experienced on the coaching side. I’ll obviously decide the style of play and who plays but with his and Paul Lodge’s help.”
Beattie needs no reminding that a good player doesn’t necessarily make a good coach, which is why Stephenson is staying on as assistant manager and Lodge as first-team coach.
Both vastly experienced as coaches, they are sure to offer some valuable support while Beattie discovers which kind of manager he wants to become.
“I think a coach and a manager are two different things,” he explained. “I know they go hand in hand with being a manager, but I think a manager is a person who actually manages people.
“If you get a good enough team around you, which I have, it will be my job to manage the lads as people and to try to get the best out of them and to make sure they’re prepared enough – both mentally and physically – to get the results we want out on the pitch.
“I hadn’t thought about it (management). But I didn’t see myself stopping playing. I was going to continue playing and I would have run the coaching badges alongside my playing career.
“But certain things happen and it’s just something I couldn’t say no to.
“I spoke to the people that matter to me – my family and people within the game – and they said it was a no brainer.
“The experience that I’ve gained through football and my own experiences, I’ll try to give that to the young players or the players that we bring in.”
Beattie will begin the necessary coaching courses this summer but already believes he has the leadership skills to be successful with Stanley. Not only has he researched man-management, he’s taken the opportunity to put some of that theory into practice.
When Leam Richardson invited him to join the Reds as player-coach last November, Beattie felt there were too many people pointing fingers at Accy.
But Stephenson described last week how Beattie was prepared to speak up in the dressing room as the Reds slipped into relegation trouble, his calming influence helping Stanley regroup and secure League Two survival.
“I look at it like an office,” Beattie explained. “I’ve read a lot of books on morale within an office and a team, and within the armed forces.
“If you get everybody reading from the same page, that’s a good skill, and to get everybody to respect each other.
“I want the group to be able to police itself. I want them to be able to have a go at each other, as long as it’s for the good of your team-mate and the team. It’s not a personal attack on anybody.
“When I came in last year there was a bit of a blame culture. We then stamped that out and that’s when we started to kick on.
“The players have got the ability, they wouldn’t be here otherwise. As you’ll see this summer, some of them will probably move on to a higher standard.
“I think a lot of it’s in their head and, even if we had the same squad we started the summer with, I think I could get another 20, 30 per cent out of them, without even signing anyone.
“It’s just the way you go about things, what goals you have and whether you want to be successful. Whether you want to just come in and be average or be better.
“You need to do it individually first but if you can get that mentality within a group, if you’re honest with a player and they’re honest with you, I find that gets into people massively.
“You find out who they are and what they want. It drives them on and it makes them become better players, without really doing anything. I think that’s a skill I have got.”
Managing director Rob Heys has also been surprised by his IT skills, with Beattie producing spreadsheets to monitor his budget projections and see what wages he can offer players while staying within the budget.
And those skills will be needed as Heys has confirmed the playing budget will again be around £500,000 for next season, arguably the lowest in the Football League.
Despite going on holiday the day after his first press conference as Stanley boss, Beattie has been in daily contact with his backroom team and the Reds’ board.
And although finances will again be tight at the Store First Stadium, they are willing to give Beattie some leeway during the course of the season. chairman Peter Marsden has told him he doesn’t want to miss out on suitable players for ‘the sake of a few quid’.
“What a great fella he is, to have a chairman you get along with like that,” said Beattie. “He really wants to take the club forward.
“Obviously we’ve got a budget and he knows I’ll be pestering for more money. But he’s got the bug. He’s from London and he doesn’t have to, but he comes up for every game because he loves the club.
“He’s trying to get other investors involved to get us more money for the budget. I buzz off his enthusiasm and that’ll rub off onto the players.
“It’ll be a fun place to come and work, but we’ll work hard to achieve the results we want.”
Although the family home is on the south coast, there are no plans to move back to the North West – he’ll stay at his mother’s in Chorley during the week.