A passionate Rae of light on the sidelines

Alex Rae
Alex Rae
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IN football you come across people motivated for a number of different reasons.

Some get up in the morning driven by success, others by fame and money.

Steve Thompson,  Alex Rae and Tom Ince

Steve Thompson, Alex Rae and Tom Ince

And every so often some which are totally obsessed by the game and everything about it.

Alex Rae falls into the latter bracket.

Blackpool’s new assistant manager joined Paul Ince at Bloomfield Road last week, just an hour before the trip to Leeds on Wednesday.

He took no time to settle in, and spent the whole of Saturday’s 0-0 draw against Leicester barking orders from the sidelines.

“Football’s in my blood. I love it, absolutely love it,” Rae said. “I don’t even know how many games I’ve watched over the last year or so.

“I never stop watching the game. I travel all over the country to watch football, and I still play in the Masters tournaments.

“I’m passionate. That’s why you see me bouncing around the technical area. That’s me trying to get things across to the players.”

The 43-year-old enjoyed a successful playing career, featuring in the Premier League with Sunderland and Wolves and later winning the Scottish Premier League with Rangers.

After retiring as a player he spent two years as manager at Dundee, before returning south as Paul Ince’s number two at MK Dons and Notts County.

And he was the first call Ince made when he got the Pool job.

“My relationship with Paul brought me here,” Rae revealed.

“I was fortunate enough to play in a very good Wolves team with him, and obviously played against him for many years.

“It’s ironic that we didn’t have a very good relationship when we were players, there were a few words spoken between us.

“But we have the same philosophy, same ideas and the same desire to win.

“We find ourselves here with a great opportunity at Blackpool.

“You tend to clash with people who are similar to you on the pitch.

“Then when Paul came to Wolves we had a brilliant couple of years there. We both have a good winning mentality, and hopefully that can get through to the players.

“I’ve been all over the place since retiring as a player. I had a couple of years as player-manager at Dundee.

“Then I joined Paul at MK Dons and Notts County as assistant manager. More recently I’ve been at MK Dons as head of recruitment.”

Rae enjoyed a hugely successful playing career, but always had one eye on the future.

In the latter stages of his career he spent four years gaining his coaching badges.

Rae added: “Without a shadow of a doubt I always wanted to go into this side of football.

“I accumulated my coaching badges quite early.

“It took me four years to get qualified.”

Despite having to watch from the sidelines these days, Rae isn’t shy of joining in with the lads on the training ground if needs be.

He said: “My body isn’t holding up as well as it used to, as middle age kicks in. But I still have the same desire.

“We were a man short in training the other day so I joined in, my first tackle was a slide tackle.

“The desire doesn’t go away.

“It’s frustrating when the body starts to slow down.

“It’s been great to get in and about the training ground with the lads.

“We have to try and install some of our ideas into the players.”

Pool’s new management haven’t had much time on the training ground yet.

Since taking over last Tuesday, they had an away game at Leeds on Wednesday, followed by Saturday’s clash with Leicester.

So they are looking forward to a full week at their Squires Gate training ground. And you can see how excited Rae is by the challenge ahead.

“It’s a great opportunity for us,” he said.

“There’s a great bunch of boys here who are really keen to kick on.

“I’ve been in the position before as a player when you’ve lost a manager and someone new has come in.

“As coaches we have to try and come in and get the best out of the lads straight away.

“The good thing here is that there are a lot of good players at the club.

“It’s a case of finding the right formula to get them winning again.

“There are obviously a few fair players at the club, but there are warriors too.

“We have to find a good blend.

“I’ve always liked to see teams I’m involved in play football. But first and foremost you have to be prepared to battle.

“I’ve never seen a team go into a game not prepared to battle and win.

“You have to first of all earn your right to play your football.

“That’s the key. The football side of thing is natural for players, but you have to earn the right.”