When Lee Clark was announced as manager of Birmingham it was viewed as recognition of his excellent work in transforming Huddersfield Town into one of the stronger outfits in League 1. Following his controversial departure it was generally accepted that he would soon be offered another similar role, and now that the Blues have secured his services, he has recruited former Toon employees Derek Fazackerley, Paul Stephenson and Steve Watson to his back room staff. More importantly, Clark has turned to the vastly experienced Terry McDermott to act as his assistant
Terry Mac, as he is widely known, is now becoming one of the great survivors of the modern game, specialising in the job as Assistant Manager. He has served under Kevin Keegan, Kenny Dalglish, Graeme Souness, Glen Roeder and Sam Allardyce at Newcastle and latterly under Clark at Huddersfield.
Now in his sixtieth year, there have been times when his value to the management team has been questioned. Some witty observers have claimed he acts as the bookmaker's runner and comedian in the dressing room. Kevin Keegan also claimed that he was merely the 'Buffer'.
What is apparent is that he must possess some unique qualities which have been widely recognised by several managers. It appears that he can act as the guy whom players can talk to when problems occur, and there will undoubtedly be a fair few issues to contend with amongst a group of footballers.
Quite simply he must be a good listener as well as being a legendary joke teller. He can probably drink a pint with the lads when the occasion allows and he will be able to recall on the vast knowledge he has amassed during his footballing career spanning over 40 years.
It is probably true to say that he would not have been suited to a true management role, dealing with directors, agents and contract negotiating, but that his true skills are displayed on the training ground and afterwards in the bars, betting shops, and restaurants. It is here where Terry Mac will be happiest and where he can understand the players with whom his superior is tasked to mold into a football team.
One common question asked by supporters is - what does McDermott do? Ask several managers who have employed him and you will probably be told that he is a highly respected person, with a unique characters who provides a valuable service for the players.
Six different managers cannot have made the same mistake. Terry Mac must have been doing something all these years to earn a regular pay packet.