Motivational posters to suggestions of counselling – an insight into Paul Hurst’s management methods

PUBLISHED: 17:08 31 May 2018

Paul Hurst (right) celebrates with goalkeeper Dean Henderson after Shrewsbury Town booked their place in the League One Play-Off Final. Photo: PA

Paul Hurst (right) celebrates with goalkeeper Dean Henderson after Shrewsbury Town booked their place in the League One Play-Off Final. Photo: PA

PA Wire/PA Images

From motivational posters to suggestions of counselling - here’s an insight into Paul Hurst’s management methods from those who have witnessed them first hand.

Paul Hurst galvanised Shrewsbury Town fans - many of whom had started to walk away from the club. Photo: PAPaul Hurst galvanised Shrewsbury Town fans - many of whom had started to walk away from the club. Photo: PA

‘He suggested counselling’

Hurst signed centre-back Toto Nsiala at both Grimsby and Shrewsbury. The 26-year-old said: “What makes him good is his man-management. I was still getting lots of yellow cards and wanted to fight everyone, loved a two-footer. But he worked hard on me – he knew what I was about and he took his time.

“He suggested I take counselling and that really helped. Something would happen on the pitch and I could feel myself getting angry, so he told me to press my finger and think of a happy thought – say my mum or dad.

“That worked wonders. I still use the technique a lot. If I get booked now, I’m beating myself up about it.”

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‘We all put in a shift’

Toto Nsiala (pictured tackling) says Paul Hurst helped him overcome anger management issues. Photo: PAToto Nsiala (pictured tackling) says Paul Hurst helped him overcome anger management issues. Photo: PA

Former Wales international Danny Coyne worked as Hurst’s goalkeeper coach at the New Meadow having previously acted as caretaker boss.

He said: “The gaffer wants good characters in the club, hard-working, honest lads – but good players as well.

“Everyone keep saying ‘they work hard, they get stuck in and give 100 per cent’, but we’ve got some good players in there as well.

“What we do as a staff, team and squad, we all put a shift in and give everything. That epitomises the gaffer. And it can take you anywhere.”

MORE: Stuart Watson’s Verdict: ‘Paul Hurst is a classic Ipswich Town appointment – and that is exciting’

‘He turned us around’

Alex Rodman is thankful for Paul Hurst giving him a chance after a serious lung condition set back his career. Photo: PAAlex Rodman is thankful for Paul Hurst giving him a chance after a serious lung condition set back his career. Photo: PA

Chris Wynne, joint-chair of Shrewsbury Town Supporters’ Parliament, outlined the way Hurst galvanised the club when reflecting one year on from his appointment.

Looking back, he said: “We were setting up negatively, just trying not to lose and there was so little entertainment on offer for the fans. Crowds were starting to fall away. I even knew season ticket holders who stopped going to games early in the season.

“Two words explain how we turned things around... Paul Hurst.”

MORE: Style, recruitment and journey to this point – here’s the lowdown on Hurst

‘Buzz in the community’

Shrewsbury captain Mat Sadler said: “In the last 18 months since the manager has come in there’s been a real change.

Shrewsbury Town's goalkeeper Dean Henderson (left) Carlton Morris and James Bolton (right) celebrate with a selfie at the end of Shrewsbury's Leaguie One play-off semi-final win against Charlton. Photo: PAShrewsbury Town's goalkeeper Dean Henderson (left) Carlton Morris and James Bolton (right) celebrate with a selfie at the end of Shrewsbury's Leaguie One play-off semi-final win against Charlton. Photo: PA

“I don’t know if we’ve made the town proud with how we’ve played but there’s been a real coming together with the place, people and players. There’s a real buzz in the community.”

MORE: ‘Best and most significant managerial appointment since Burley in ‘94’ – Town fans react to Hurst appointment

‘We are rubbish’

Young barrel-chested striker Carlton Morris was brought in on loan from Norwich. He said: “When I first went into the changing room, the gaffer had put that table up of where we were expected to finish (23rd) and under it said ‘we are rubbish’.

“I think that really stuck in a few people’s heads. It definitely stuck in mine.

“Then the first 16 games we went unbeaten, so you could walk past that every day and have a little smile to yourself.”

MORE: Skuse excited by ‘fresh start’ under Hurst

‘Clear desire’

Shrewsbury chairman Roland Wycherley, explaining his decision to recruit Hurst from newly-promoted League Two club Grimsby back in October 2016, said: “To be honest, he first came to my attention when we played Grimsby. We were League One, they were in the Conference and they gave us a really good run for our money and we were fortunate to beat them over the two games.

“We had a very good chance to look at how he sets his teams up, on a smaller budget than what we have, and I was very impressed.

“When I spoke to him I was very impressed with his attitude and clear desire. I believe he will bring in the right players for what Shrewsbury needs – which is hungry, committed players.”

MORE: ‘He was my top target from day one’ – Marcus Evans on appointing Hurst

‘Best shape of my career’

Front man Lenell John-Lewis played under Hurst at both Grimsby and Shrewsbury.

He said: “I’ve put in some one-on-one work that has done wonders for me. I’m in the best shape in my whole career.

“It’s not just me. The whole team, we’ve worked very hard this pre-season. We had a poster up at the training ground which said how many miles we’d run and we were all astonished ourselves – it’s nice to see it paying off.”

MORE: ‘Players will be judged from day one... but I know I will be as well’ – Hurst’s first interview as Blues boss

‘Arm around my shoulder’

Winger Alex Rodman was sidelined for a year-and-a-half with a serious lung condition.

He said: “It took a long time for me to get back to my best, but the gaffer got me going again (at Grimsby). He worked with me, put an arm around my shoulder and got me playing some of the best football of my career.

“We had a successful time there so I was grateful for the chance to link up with him again (at Shrewsbury) because I knew what he could do for me and that he could do it for others too.”

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