HARTLEPOOL United boss Paul Murray has joked that assistant Willie Donachie is a “dinosaur” – but says his players should tap into the Scot’s “wealth of experience.”
The 63-year-old former Scotland international has seen it all in football, including playing in the 1978 World Cup.
His new role assisting Murray at Pools, who find themselves six points adrift of safety at the bottom of the Football League, is a world away from those dizzy heights.
But Murray says the former Manchester City star has a vital role to play.
“Willie is a dinosaur at times – in a nice way – but the lads should be tapping into his wealth of experience,” said Murray.
“He has done it all!
“They probably think “oh, there is Willie, he used to play for Man City,” but when you get down into the nitty gritty, he has done so much more than that.
“He is very humble about it all and Willie is a great example to the players.”
Glasgow-born Donachie – who won 35 caps for Scotland – turned out more than 350 times for Manchester City including playing in two League Cup finals, before moving to America with Portland Timbers in 1980.
He also had a spell at Norwich City after a £200,000 move before becoming assistant manager to Joe Royle at Oldham Athletic, helping steer the club towards the Premier League and a League Cup Final before the pair moved to Everton and won the 1995 FA Cup.
Experienced Donachie has also coached at Sheffield United, a second spell at City, Sheffield Wednesday and then Ipswich Town and Millwall, was boss of Antigua and Barbuda, before taking up the post of assistant director of Newcastle United’s Academy.
Pools turned to Murray and Donachie to rescue the season following Colin Cooper’s resignation and it has been a tough start for the duo, who are yet to pick up a league win in four attempts.
They recently enjoyed a bonding session on a scouting trip to watch Wimbledon play York City and Murray has been calling on his assistant’s vast experience in the game.
“It was a good trip down to Wimbledon with Willie and a chance to get to know his family life and for him to get to know me more,” said Murray.
“I’m tapping into his knowledge as well.
“He has loads of little stories and I have told the lads that they need to speak to Willie as he is a great character.”
As well as helping to coach the players on the training pitch, Donachie has also introduced a new yoga school at Maiden Castle,
Murray added: “Willie has his yoga school on a Monday and then on a Thursday there is also an optional one and you often find three quarters of the squad there as well.
“Willie is a very flexible man, that is all I will say!”