Craig Short racked up well over 600 appearances in a career which took in a variety of clubs from Pickering Town FC to Everton and he is now making his name as a coach with 28-time Hungarian champions Ferencvárosi TC.
Short, 41, ended his playing days in 2007 at Sheffield United FC having gone from non-league Pickering to Scarborough FC, Notts County FC, Derby County FC, Everton and Blackburn Rovers FC and also run a sailing school. But last October Ferencváros tempted him back into football to assist coach Bobby Davison, and a fortnight ago Short stepped up to replace his compatriot at the helm. "As a player, after reaching the age of 26, I always thought of moving abroad but I never expected to achieve this as a coach," Short told uefa.com. "It all happened so quickly."
He took over a side struggling in 15th place after their return to the top division and Short's first game in charge ended unhappily when it was abandoned due to crowd trouble with Diósgyőri VTK leading 3-1. An €11,000 Hungarian Football Federation fine and an order to play three home games behind closed doors followed but things have begun to turn around with consecutive 1-0 wins against Győri ETO FC and Lombard-Pápa TFC in the space of four days. His side could even enter the top ten on Friday if they defeat city rivals Budapest Honvéd FC. "Our aim is to win but to win with fans," Short said. "They are too fanatical sometimes and that does not help us. Everyone should experience the 'Fradi' atmosphere as that is something a player really likes."
Even with such wide experience at the top in England, Short has learned plenty already in Hungary. "The teams use different tactics than in England. A few years ago I would never have thought that I would see teams playing a 4-2-3-1 formation but I am happy to learn new things." The former defender certainly has great respect for the Hungarian game. "There is a great tradition and heritage of football here in Hungary," Short said. "My father always kept talking about the Magical Magyars and I also think that there is definite improvement. Take [last month's FIFA U-20 World Cup] bronze medal as an example. In general I can say that Hungarian players are skilful and technically very strong.
"The league is also better than I thought. The pace is not as quick as in England, also on the continent teams normally play less offensively than in Britain. But all the teams can beat each other and that makes the NB I a good league in which I am really happy and proud to work. I can understand now why Debrecen were able to qualify for the UEFA Champions League as they are really strong but I must say that MTK Budapest with their young players, Videoton with a massive budget and Újpest are good sides."
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