Coaching classmates of Arsenal's Tony Adams and Manchester United's Roy Keane - now reunited ex-Portsmouth pair eyeing non-league glory

They were Warwick University’s class of 2002, enrolled on a star-studded Uefa B Licence course.

Tuesday, 16th November 2021, 11:30 am

Among the pupils were Premier League title-winning skippers and distinguished internationals Tony Adams and Roy Keane.

Now two of their classmates are attempting to oversee high-flying Gosport Borough’s rise from the Southern League Premier Division South.

Ex-Pompey boss and 17-time England capped midfielder Graham Rix arrived at Privett Park in July as first-team coach.

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It marked a reunion with Borough manager Shaun Gale, who made four Fratton Park appearances after coming through the ranks.

The duo have so far taken Gosport into second spot, having won 10 of their opening 15 league matches, most recently last weekend’s 5-0 hammering of Merthyr Town.

And Gale has paid tribute to the significant impact his old classmate has so far had on the club.

He told The News: ‘I have known Rixy a long, long time to be fair and he is a fantastic coach, I cannot speak highly enough of him.

Former Pompey boss Graham Rix joined Gosport Borough as first-team coach in July. Picture: Colin Farmer/Gosport Borough FC

‘I did my B Licence with him 20-odd years ago, we were on the same course as Roy Keane and Tony Adams. I’ve also played golf with him many times.

‘When Scott Green left, just before pre-season started, I wanted someone local, I didn't want someone travelling, and it had to be someone I could trust and that I knew.

‘Graham came down, enjoyed it and has been here ever since.

‘He’s managed at a higher level, was obviously a great player himself, has a lot of nous about how the game should be played, and gives clever things to players.

‘Rixy is different to me as a character, but the players respond to him well and take it on board. The boys are learning all the time.

‘He’s quieter than me for starters, he’s not really one to get really irate, a bit cooler than me at times, but it’s good to have a mixed balance.

‘I don’t think you need two of the same. He won’t always agree with me – and I don’t want someone who is going to agree with me every week. I want someone who is going to challenge me and go “I wouldn’t do that” or “Maybe I would play him”.

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‘You need that, not someone agreeing with everything that you come out with.’

Former assistant Green, who was part of Pompey’s backroom primarily under Paul Cook, was at Privett Park last season.

It was his summer departure which forced Gale to turn to ex-Pompey, Oxford United and Hearts boss Rix as his right-hand man ahead of his second season with Borough.

And, on Wednesday night, they host struggling Kings Langley, seeking to close the gap on Southern League Premier Division South leaders Farnborough.

Gale added: ‘I don’t think Scott has got anywhere at the moment, he decided that it wasn't going to be for him, spoke to the chairman about it and that was it.

‘It’s a shame, he’s a very, very good coach, but one door closes and another opens for Graham- and he is thoroughly enjoying it and doing great for me.’

A message from the Editor, Mark Waldron

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