Interview: Boss who beats Ferguson in longevity stakes retires

MANCHESTER, England Thu May 23, 2013 6:45pm IST

MANCHESTER, England (Reuters) - England's longest-serving football manager is retiring aged 71 after overseeing several trophy-laden decades at the club he loves - but he is not called Alex Ferguson.

Just days after the footballing world watched Ferguson call time on his managerial career, Jimmy Davies will step aside from his post at amateur club Waterloo Dock after a 50-year stint that makes the former Manchester United boss's 26 years look short.

Davies has a lot in common with the highly successful Ferguson even though the worlds of a non-league Liverpool-based club and the serial Premier League champions are poles apart.

"We like to win," Davies told Reuters in an interview. "We come from similar backgrounds, he was a shop steward in the Glasgow shipyard, I was a shop steward on Liverpool docks.

"We are quite a successful side .. at the last count we had won 72 trophies ... But he probably doesn't have to go home and wash football kits like I have to do."

Like Ferguson, who is staying on as a director at United, Davies will not be quietly leaving the club he set up in 1963 with a group of friends he worked with on the docks.

"I keep telling myself I'm going to be a passive supporter but how passive I don't know," he said. "I'm just going to have to restrain myself. I'm going to still carry on going to the matches .. I don't think my wife will be too pleased about that."

Davies originally started out as a player before being gently nudged into a more suitable role.

"After about six games it was clear my footballing ability was sadly lacking," said Davies, whose record as England's longest-serving manager is recognised by the FA.

"They said you'd be better suited as the manger, I think they were trying to be kind to me."

HIGH POINT

The club sits a stone's throw away from Anfield, with the stands visible from its Edinburgh Park ground, and Liverpool fan Davies takes some inspiration from the great Bill Shankly who led his club to three league titles and two FA Cups

"Second is nowhere," is the mantra Davies has borrowed from Shankly, which puts into perspective what he thinks about Waterloo Dock's runners-up finish in the league this season.

They did win the league cup this term, though, and reached the semi-finals in two other cups.

Asked about the best and worst bits of his time at the club which will come to an end on Tuesday in their final game against Red Rum, he replied: "The low point is when we get beat.

"If we get beat on Saturday I'm terrible to live with - it takes me until the following Tuesday until I recover.

"The high point was probably playing Liverpool Reserves in 2009 in the final of the Liverpool Senior Cup and they beat us 1-0, scoring in the last three minutes," he said, referring to a team managed by former Liverpool player, the late Gary Ablett.

Waterloo Dock is a family club where fathers, sons and grandsons have taken to the pitch and Davies said it had generated some good players including up to 10 who had gone on to make it professionally.

Their biggest transfer business was selling John Durnin to Liverpool in 1986 for 500 pounds and while he never played for the Anfield side he went on to a professional career at clubs including Oxford United and Portsmouth.

Times have changed since 500 pounds was what Davies called a "king's ransom" which is part of the reason he is now retiring.

"My son said 'dad you've got to go on Twitter and Facebook', I said 'I've only just learnt to text'," he said.

"Trying to contact players and get them to the venues, you can only contact them on Facebook and Twitter and I think I'm maybe too long in the tooth for that to be perfectly honest." (Editing by Ed Osmond)

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