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Piethagoram in conversation with Ricardo Moniz




Piethagoram in conversation with Ricardo Moniz… (Copyright of Piethagoram)

Martin Johnson, a former cricket correspondent at The Independent once wrote about Ray Illingworth ..”from the non bull-**** school of plain speaking” which in  many ways reflects on how Ricardo Moniz talks about the beautiful game….that is football and not cricket! Continually, the phrase “Remember, I’m from the streets” resonates still from his press conferences at Notts.

Ricardo looks fondly back to his time at Notts as “Special, very special, undeniably proud to work for a club associated with the great Jimmy Sirrel”..but then referencing that his time at Notts was “all too short”. Good words also exchanged about Alan Smith (“a player that shared and understood his passion”), Aileen Trew, Ian Roberts, Matt Alexander, Kate and Tony (Cuthbert).

What is really evident from our discussions is the importance of the “Buy In” of the Dutch footballing philosophy… Not only for the manager / head coach but for all the key personnel at the Club, be it the players through to the technical staff and the Boardroom. Success needs everyone to be aligned and pulling together!

Ricardo’s Coaching  / Managerial CV reads like an A-Z of European football, in terms of countries covered:

1994–1997         VV Nuenen

1997–1998         UAE (assistant)

1998–1999         Feyenoord Rotterdam (assistant)

1999–2004         Grasshoppers Zürich (technical coach)

2004–2005         Jong PSV

2005–2008         Tottenham Hotspur (skills coach)

2008–2010         Hamburger SV (Technical coach)

2010                    Hamburger SV (Caretaker)

2010–2011         Red Bull Salzburg (Head of all Academies: Red Bull Salzburg: Leipzig, New York, Brasil and Ghana)

2011–2012         Red Bull Salzburg Austria

2012–2013         Ferencváros Hungary

2014      Lechia Gdańsk Poland

2014      1860 Munich Germany

2015      Notts County

2016–2017         FC Eindhoven

2017–2018         Randers Denmark

2018      AS Trenčín

2019–2020         Excelsior, Netherlands

Sourced: Wikipedia, as amended re Red Bull Salzburg


Prior to Notts:

Ricardo relayed “I had a difficult time after a really successful time at Salzburg” “I went to Ferencvaros Hungary, (whose fans are renowned  as being difficult to please), 20,000 or so of them, but I won them over, becoming very popular” Unfortunately at his time there, a player had a heart attack with a leg amputation too. He questioned the medical staff “It was the beginning of the end”

A good spell in Poland followed, then personal circumstances took him to 1860 Munich. A clash with the Technical Director, is how Ricardo sees it. The Technical Director signing players from his own contacts “It was a difficult time, stress, a lot of stress”. A preseason match against Kaiserslautern , again led to a clash with the Technical Director. By the 7th game of the season Ricardo was gone. As an anecdote, Sky were filming a documentary series of behind the scenes of the football club. Ricardo followed up to say after the documentary was aired “people said, <Ricardo> was the right guy …to run this club”

I asked Ricardo about comparing Notts to standards of football elsewhere where he has coached. It may have been too subjective a question but he reiterated the standard of football in Hungary Poland even Denmark and Slovakia can be perceived at a high level


Beginnings at Notts:

Ricardo attended a match alongside his agent and was sat in an Executive Box. Matt Alexander introduced Ricardo to the Trews and Ian Roberts, and then went on the explain his philosophy and also with reference to the Cruyff philosophy too. Ray, a man of few words, said “Just keep us up”. Ricardo, admits because of some issues needing resolving, he was maybe just too late to save the club from relegation.

Jamal Campbell Rice was injured in his first game and Ricardo had already identified him as a key player. His parent club (Sheffield Utd?) had indicated that he could not play again that season though Ricardo believed that his injury could be overcome to play the final two games. There were other issues too, with some loanees seemingly being not motivated.

Ricardo remembers fondly the positive atmosphere generated at home games, the 2-1 home win against Doncaster (Tyson with a penalty winner) and even the loss to a good Preston side but inevitably, it was the Gillingham game that proved to be pivotal for the wrong reasons.

The game is still very fresh in Ricardo’s memory, on course for a victory until 3 minutes from time. Ricardo still agreed with my assessment of what went wrong from Noble not tracking and blocking the space for that crucial chipped ball into the box, the memory rolls out as a slow-motion replay. Dumbuya not gaining any height with his jump and perhaps Roy Carroll could have had time to come to the edge of the area to claim the ball. In the end, it was a “Sliding Door” movie moment but with the trap door dropping us into League 2

Summer of 2015

Ricardo returned to The Netherlands leaving particular indications to offer Gary Jones and Garry Thompson contract extensions as their experience would be needed. He was apparently overruled and both players departed Notts. Specific instructions were left in terms of a central defender to be sourced who would be quick, strong, good on the ball to fit into the style Ricardo wanted to play.

Ricardo also pursued Dutch and ex Bournemouth striker Frank Demouge, but without success to get a deal done.

Ricardo was brutally honest about his own (few…emphasis here on the word <few>)signings… Sprockel “My mistake”, Aborah “Was good for me” Jenner “Not a player for the English game” Amevor “solid” but then one realised that Ray had delegated to others authority to sign players for the rest of the squad. He had asked Ray to be patient and wait for his return from The Netherlands before signing players because Ricardo wanted to ensure “ we signed the <right> players” As a footnote, I had always assumed Genaro Snijders was a Moniz signing but apparently he was not.

League Cup:

Fond memories by Ricardo of the unexpected win at Huddersfield. It was a “positive performance” The next round at Aston Villa, …referee and that penalty “ a terrible decision”… Burke’s goal, then Jon Stead  having a fantastic shot. “it should have been game over”… but special mentions for the likes of Jack Grealish (“a class above”) that evening and receiving personal praise from the Villa boss Tim Sherwood. The match also the emergence of the talent of Adama Traore, signed by Aston Villa from Barcelona (now at Wolverhampton).

League Campaign

A promising start away at Stevenage, particularly referencing the strength of the away following in the stands. Thompson and Amevor with the goals

Third game of the League season, was a Tuesday night at Oxford United and reality of defensive frailties dawned. A particular defender he had wanted was perhaps not up to the role Ricardo had in mind. Kemar Roofe demonstrated his undoubted quality that evening and left Notts with a 4-1 away defeat.

The next match was Accrington at home, Ricardo said “We created so many chances…” but an eventual Glasgow Rangers bound Crooks netted an equaliser in the 90th minute

The following match was Morecombe away. A relatively comfortable first half performance turned into a nightmarish 2nd half into an unexpected 4-1 away defeat.

Luton at home followed with Noble getting the winner deep into injury time.

Wimbledon away saw “Akinfenwa” engraved in Ricardo’s memory, “The big guy just walked through Swerts and Amevor to score”

Sunday 11th October Sky TV home to Plymouth … Ricardo still has a DVD of this game and rewatched it very recently. “Notts had about 83% possession, yes 83%!!!!, …a Gil Swerts individual error had let Reuben Reid in for one of his two goals”. “Ian Holloway had waxed lyrical after the match about Notts’ performance”.

Barnet 4-2 and Newport 4-3 victories remembered well by Ricardo for the football played. “we played good football, but away from home we were inconsistent”

FA Cup and where it started to go wrong

Salford “The whole country seemed to be backing them”.. Campbell missed a good chance….game was a turning point”…hinting pressure was being felt from “upstairs”. Ricardo had his own thoughts on the summer recruitment that had put him into this position. It would also appear the working relationship with Messrs Winter and "Brano" had become very strained.

His exit after drawing 1-1 at home with Morecombe still rankles with him “It wasn’t even a defeat, it was a draw!”

Stanley Aborah, an enigma? Discuss

“You see players like Gerrard, Lampard, no matter what they will always succeed” “Stanley is very sensitive to the coach and the footballing philosophy”

“I offered him a 2 year contract at FC Eindhoven but he chose to go to Portsmouth”

Ricardo indicated that his best position was taking the ball off the defence but if he played too higher up the pitch, he would “look lost”

The last time Ricardo spoke to Stanley was a year ago on the phone.

Post Notts

AS Trencin

Highlights the victory over Feyenoord in the UEFA cup Euro 2 million budget v Feyenoord's Eur 70m  “I try and create a team that no one expects to achieve” The club then subsequently sold the best players

Referees tended to ensure he spent more time in the stands than beside the pitch.

Footballing lessons / philosophy / Future

Ricardo” You need people to support the philosophy and to be brave…you need to create up front and be tight in defence” “I always try to <create value>”… Players to on sell at a higher price

Game Preparation

80% on your plan, your philosophy but adjusting to the abilities of the players you have available

10% Focusing on your opponent’s game

10% on rectifying the mistakes of the previous game

Final thoughts

Ricardo still comes across as deeply passionate about football and about Notts too. How does one measure success… like any business is about enhancing value, making players better, be it for the likes of training say Curtis at Notts through to player sales at Trencin. You do not get a “political” manoeuverer with Ricardo, you get it straight, which like in life is a good thing. Whatever club is his next port of call, you will get 100% effort. Wishing him well
PS If anyone feels wronged in this article, I offer them the right to respond
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I thought he was a good manager, especially during games. He knew how to get a side attacking, perhaps defensively it could have been improved but the brand of football always entertained. I actually don't recall why he was sacked, well the "reason" for it. I always felt Shaun Derry should have remained at Notts, but the memories of Moniz are there.

The opening game against Stevenage will always be remembered fondly by me.

I left thinking we were on the verge of something special, perhaps if he had more time to influence Notts he might have got us back into League One.

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This a brilliant insight into how the man thinks and also what was going on behind the scenes at the time. Thanks for sharing!

The almost tragic thing about Moniz is that he's big on establishing a philosophy at a club, but never seems to be kept on anywhere long enough to see it through. Part of that is the nature of modern football, with clubs always looking for that magical quick fix. But how much of it is due to his choice of employers? As he wants plenty of control over signings and wants to be a manager rather than just a head coach, it was a bit of an odd decision to join a club like Notts where there were clearly people upstairs with a great deal of control (and who were unwilling to relinquish it).

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Excellent read. I would echo @DangerousSausage with the sentiments.

Ricardo was and is, a philosophical coach who needs all around him to buy into that. With all the background stuff at Notts, it was always going to be difficult. Branston. Say no more.

As I said on another thread, he is one that I’ll admit, I called for his head too early.

Imagine what he could do with a boardroom like we have now behind him. His teams were always value for money on the attacking front and he deserved more than what the staff and fans gave him.

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Good insight into Ricardo Moniz as Notts manager, the philosophy he brought to the club was different than any team beneath the Premier League.

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i really enjoyed this, people are right its a good insight and shows his thinking behind things.

im going to give your blog a follow. 👍

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Really good insight, thanks a lot!

Confirms my suspicions that the snake that is Guy Branston was running the calamitous signings that ultimately ended in Moniz's dismissal. He should have been given more time, especially as the Trew's, in all their wisdom, appointed Jamie Fullarton.  After that we had Mark Cooper who kept us up but didn't endear himself to the fans one bit, then we had Sheridan. The real decline for me began when Moniz was sacked, the rot set in and is partially responsible for the league we currently play in. 

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Very good insight into that period of the clubs history and of course the managers short stay at Meadow Lane.

Where was Notts at the time he ended up getting the axe?

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