Ormondroyd has a foot in both camps ahead of Bradford City v Aston Villa clash (From Bradford Telegraph and Argus)
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Ian Ormondroyd has a foot in both camps ahead of Bradford City v Aston Villa clash
Ian Ormondroyd rises highest to clear the danger in his own box playing for Villa against West Brom in 1990
For many, he will always be known for the phrase: Do I not like that.
The ill-fated behind-the-scenes documentary on his England management coloured the popular opinion on Graham Taylor.
Twenty years on and those words of frustration he uttered in a World Cup qualifier in Poland continue to haunt him.
But that is not the Taylor that Ian Ormondroyd remembers. For big Stix, he was an innovator and a football boss ahead of his time.
City’s Capital One Cup semi-final against Aston Villa will be extra special for Ormondroyd, who played for both clubs.
And seeing Villa again will rekindle memories of a time when he was part of their side that finished second in the Premier League.
Taylor was in charge of that 1990 team which ran Liverpool close until running out of steam in the closing weeks.
“He was the best manager I had by a long way,” recalled Ormondroyd. “He was brilliant tactically and so organised.
“Every aspect of his management was spot on and you always knew what you were doing two or three weeks before.
“He was an old school type and such a good motivator. Taylor would keep all the players on their toes because you never knew if he’d take training or even if he’d be there.
“You had to be spot on in training every day to get in the team because he wasn’t afraid to change things round. He was very aware of every little thing.
“If we were second best after 20 minutes of a game, he’d just switch everything. We’d go to three centre halves and wing backs and all of a sudden we’d score a goal.
“A lot of teams nowadays play with a so-called one man up front but we were doing that back then. I played on the left, Tony Daley on the right with Ian Olney or Tony Cascarino in the middle.
“We had two sitting midfield players as well, which was very new. He was ahead of his game.
“But that documentary killed him. It was awful and I’m sure he looks back still and must regret it.
“I didn’t recognise him on there. The Graham Taylor I knew was top quality.”
Ormondroyd was Villa’s club record signing when Taylor took him from Valley Parade for £650,000 in February 1989. He started slowly in the second city but was transformed, like the team themselves, in his second season.
Suddenly Villa were up there with the big boys and goals from Ormondroyd and David Platt at White Hart Lane in mid-February sent them to the top.
Ormondroyd added: “We should have won the league and when we beat Tottenham that night, we really thought it was going to happen.
“But then we played Wimbledon at home and lost 3-0. It killed us stone dead. Everybody expected us to win and it knocked the stuffing out of us completely. Liverpool just came with a big run and we couldn’t live with them.
“We drew with Liverpool twice that year and beat Man United at home. We were a good team.
“A lot of the lads had played lower-league football like Platt, who was just becoming an England international.
“Gordon Cowans was quality and Paul McGrath was the best player I’ve ever played with. He was absolutely unbelievable but it was just that he liked a beer.
“Kent Nielsen, a Danish international with a load of caps, came in and made a big difference and Tony Daley could rip people apart on his day.”
A mention of fans’ favourite Daley brings a wry smile to Ormondroyd’s face. They were a contrasting couple on the two flanks, one with his distinct dreadlocks the other a Peter Crouch incarnate.
He said: “I used to get stick all through my career because of my height. I could cross the ball and get booed if nobody got on the end of it. Tony would go down the other wing, beat his man twice then put the ball in the crowd and they’d all applaud. It was the preconception because he was pleasing to the eye.
“But they were great times, with Villa Park rammed each game when we were getting up towards the top of the league. Hopefully we’ll see that again in a couple of weeks.”
Given Villa’s brittle Premier League form, City head into their showdown with arguably more of a shout than they had in the quarter-final against Arsenal.
Villa are still hot favourites given the three-division difference between the sides and particularly with two matches to play. But Ormondroyd does not completely dismiss the chances of another massive upset.
“I think we’ve got more chance against them than we did with Arsenal. They’ve got a lot of young lads in the team and will be under a lot of pressure.
“The average age of their team is only about 23 and there aren’t many in there with a lot of Premier League experience. If we can get a result at home then you never know – even a draw wouldn’t be too bad.
“Playing two legs is in their favour because it’s not a one-off. It’s going to be very difficult to come out on top of them twice.
“But I wouldn’t say City have no chance. It’s going to be fantastic for everybody concerned, the fans and the club, and I’m sure we can hold our own.”
Another magical cup episode for the Bantams? Wouldn’t he like that ...