After relegation 3 days into job, new Waterford boss says call to take over on Tuesday came 'totally out of the blue'

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After relegation 3 days into job, new Waterford boss says call to take over on Tuesday came 'totally out of the blue'
© Ryan Byrne INPHO Waterford manager Ian Hendon pictured during last night’s game.

IAN HENDON says he was asked ‘out of the blue’ to take over as Waterford manager earlier this week.

The 49-year-old coach made a handful of appearances for Tottenham at the start of his career and also had stints at Notts County, Northampton and Sheffield Wednesday among others.

Hendon has also been a coach at West Ham, and managed Barnet, Dover Athletic and Leyton Orient, while his most recent job was a stint in Gibraltar with Europa Point.

The Londoner says he was as surprised as everyone else to be given the Blues job during the week after the sudden departure of predecessor Marc Bircham.

“I got a phone call on Tuesday afternoon, I’ve actually just come back from Spain on Sunday, it was totally out of the blue. I know the chairman here [Richard Forrest] and he gave me a phone call on the off chance I would be able to help out.

“And, as I say, I don’t know what’s going on but because I knew him I said: ‘Yeah, no problem, I’ll come and help you.’ That was on Tuesday afternoon. I got here Wednesday lunchtime and had two training sessions with the lads and to be fair the boys have trained well, they’ve trained better than they played tonight and they know that. That’s how it’s all come about.”

With the crucial promotion-relegation playoff looming, Hendon admits adapting to his new surroundings in such a short space of time was a significant challenge.

“I came in and worked with [assistant boss] David Bell and I left them to it, I sort of watched them on Wednesday and had a good look at the players and yesterday we went about what we were going to do today and I’ve literally… I’ve hardly slept, because I’ve been watching and trying to look at UCD and how they play, strengths, weaknesses and all of that stuff.

“We started the game very well and scored from a set play and it was going to plan and I think the players probaby got in their heads that they were going to win the game, after going 1-0 up so early. And we probably got a bit complacent, we didn’t look after the football well enough. I’m not going to name names but a couple of lads didn’t perform and UCD were the better side on the night and fully deserved to win.”

Asked whether he will still be in charge of Waterford as they prepare for life in the First Division next season, Hendon was unable to give a definitive answer.

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“I’ve come in this week and I’ve got to say I’ve been into the town and what a fantastic place, the people are so welcoming. The first time I’ve been there, the supporters tonight, even the way the game went today, cheered the players at the end, which is fantastic. Going forward, it’s a case of letting the dust settle and seeing what happens. I’m willing to talk, there’s no issue there. I’m not happy with how the game went and I didn’t think it would go that way.”

Hendon also confirmed he had spoken about the job to Bircham, who was in attendance at the game at Richmond Park.

“I had a conversation to say I don’t know what’s going on, I’d let him know out of respect because a lot of things happen in football and certain people are disrespectful to other managers. I wanted him to know out front and up straight that I was coming here, there was nothing underhand or arranged pre him leaving the football club. It all happened on Tuesday, the first contact I had.”

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