A great gaffer is a leader who inspires athletes to perform at their optimal levels and allow them to receive the due plaudits for their impressive performances and achievements while also providing a shield from criticism and ridicule during the less joyful times; football, like many sports, is a beautiful game with its own set of unwritten laws and any gaffer worth his salt knows that great performances are often credited to the players while poor showings can often lead to the hot seat feeling more uncomfortable than usual. At GSV, we take our self allotted duty to help balance the imbalances in our sport dreadfully seriously and we earnestly hope that this GSV Dugout feature helps to shine a light on those that plan the great shocks, thrilling comebacks, goose bump causing thrashings and clinical smash & grab results that leave us confabulating for eons to differing degrees.
Full Name: Thurston Shaun Bartlett
DoB: October 31st, 1972 (42)
PoB: Cape Town, Western Cape; South Africa
Playing Role: Striker
Playing Experience: Cape Town Spurs, Colorado Rapids, MetroStars, FC Zurich, Charlton Athletic, Kaizer Chiefs, Bloemfontein Celtic (422 Games; 129 Goals); 74 Caps, 28 Goals
Highest Coaching Accreditation: UEFA A License
Previous Coaching Experience: Golden Arrows Assistant Manager (April 2012 – February 2014)
Managerial Roles: Golden Arrows (February 2014 – Present)
Preferred Formation: 4-4-2 (Double Pivot/ Double 6)
Playing Philosophy: Attacking
Achievements: 2014/2015 NFD Champion (Promotion to PSL)
The Grand Stand View
There is a long held perception within football circles that a legendary footballer can never achieve anywhere near the success they enjoyed as a playing professional in their managerial careers, we have seen countless examples of great footballers living in the shadows of their playing legacies and mainly surviving off that reputation as a gaffer when things go predictably wrong. This writer figures that it is only fitting that Shaun Bartlett continues his impressive career trend by defying all logic as a gaffer and achieving the level of success that his vast and insightful football knowledge deserves.
Shaun Bartlett the gaffer is much akin to Shaun Bartlett the footballer in the determination he exudes to win football matches through goals being scored and spectators being entertained while giving 100 % for the jersey. While he may still be moulding his identity as a gaffer, the tactical nous exhibited by Bartlett thus far has been impressive to say the least; while countless Mzansi based gaffers seem to shun the 4-4-2 base formation that our current crop of active players thrive in, Shaun has enjoyed great success from employing the structure well renowned through Mzansi diski and his players have grown under his tutelage.
After earning his stripes under three different and vastly experienced minders during his stint as an assistant, Bartlett has shown that he has learned a lot from those that he had the pleasure of working under; it truly is great to see a South African gaffer making the most of the opportunity he was afforded after proving himself capable for through his work as an assistant. Having secured Abafana Bes’thende a return to the big boys table, Shaun has earned the right to be the man in the hot seat as they seek to re-establish themselves as Premier League mainstays with a proud tradition of playing great football and developing good young players to play the Golden Arrows way while remaining competitive.
The current Golden Arrows side has been well assembled by Shaun and his fellow management team members, there is a good balance of young players and players with the know-how to help them along the way; yet the gaffer is already thinking about life in the Premier League and he will be compiling his shortlist of targets to bolster the side for a shot at survival or maybe even a Top 8 charge next season. The connections that Shaun has built up in the game will come in handy as clubs, players and intermediaries will be more inclined to pick up the phone when the legendary Shaun Bartlett is on the other end of the line; its these connections that will make Golden Arrows a dominant force in the transfer market under the guidance of a young gaffer that has shown a keen eye for talent and the ability to nurture and develop it to fulfil the potential that existed.