When Andy Thorn was appointed as Aidy Boothroyd's successor as manager of Coventry City at the back end of last season, he did not give up his previous job as head scout for the club, which must make him one of the hardest working managers in the Football League.
Thorn has a very high work ethic, one he imparts to his players, and has the philosophy that you get nothing out of life if you don't work for it and he is clearly working very hard to get the maximum benefit for his employers.
Although Thorn is still chief scout, he does not take all the credit for recruiting and hands praise to those who work behind the scenes and who have helped him become one of the most respected scouts in the country.
Thorn spotted and recruited players such as Aron Gunnarsson and Kieren Westwood and was one of the prime movers in spotting and recruiting Chris Dunn from Northampton Town.
In typical Andy Thorn jocular mode, speaking to the CT, he said, “I still do that job and manage to get a kip for an hour during the week. I spend a lot of hours working but my staff do as well. We all pull together and work very hard at what we do because you only get out of it what you put in."
“This is a great opportunity for me so it is important from my point of view that we don’t leave any stone unturned. There is me and three scouts I use, all very experienced and although it can be long days we enjoy our meetings in the pub afterwards."
Thorn explained, "There’s John Green who lives in the Shrewsbury area and worked with Manchester United for a long time, Alan Howarth who worked for Bolton under Sam Allardyce for years and John Sparrow down in London who worked with me at Fulham, so the four of us travel everywhere.”
“We try to share the load and plan the weeks so that everyone knows where they are going the next week. I have a set routine and everything else takes a back seat until it is done and then I can relax and the enjoyable part is when we get players in, they do well and everything comes to fruition. There’s no better feeling.”
Goal keeper Chris Dunn, who impressed on his full club debut last Saturday when he came on for the injured Joe Murphy at half time, even though he was sporting a black eye and stitches picked up in a training ground accident during the week, is just the latest in a long line of players found for the club by Thorn.
Among other players Thorn is responsible for finding are first team regulars Chris Hussey who came from non-league AFC Wimbledon, Carl Baker from Stockport, Lukas Jutkiewicz from Everton, Martin Cranie from Portsmouth and Richard Keogh from Carlisle.
Gary Deegan who joined City from Irish club Bohemians would most likely be in the side if he had not sustained a year long injury, is another of Thorn's finds.
It takes hours of research and hard work to track down potential signing and Thorn explained, “With Dunny we fancied him and then we dragged Oggy off the golf course one Saturday afternoon to go to watch him and he came back full of praise for the kid.”
“We do our homework first and we are fortunate because he’s going to be a very, very good goalkeeper so it was a good spot for us. We try to watch a player at least six times, home and away, and if you can’t tell by then you shouldn’t be in the game."
"Touch wood, so far, all credit to the scouts who are a good bunch. Even when I was just chief scout it wasn’t just me, it was a team effort and they have been a credit to the football club in the people they have brought in, and long may that continue.”
Thorn also praised his assistant Steve 'Harry' Harrison for his help, especially on the management side of things, which are new to both men.
He went on, “Some of the new stuff I have had to deal with as a manager is cropping up nearly every day, so I have had to learn quickly but Harry has got loads of experience so I have been able to lean on him and the good staff I’ve got around me.”