Ex-Mansfield Town boss Stuart Watkiss believes winning immediate promotion was the worst thing for his career

2002 Stags v Carlisle promotion to Div 2 Manager Stuart Watkiss
2002 Stags v Carlisle promotion to Div 2 Manager Stuart Watkiss

Stuart Watkiss believes achieving promotion in his first season was probably the worst thing he could have done.

Watkiss led Stags to promotion in 2001/02, taking over a good side mid-season when Billy Deaden left in the January and doing what David Flitcroft failed to do and getting them over the line.

However, when things went wrong the following year, Watkiss found himself axed and has now found himself working in Bangladesh with opportunities back at home so limited.

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“Arguably one of the worst things I did as a manager for the longevity of my managerial career was getting promoted,” he smiled.

“If we had just missed out on promotion we would have undoubtably been right at the top of that division again and it gives you an extra year to become more established.

“People often ask me the biggest mistake I made as a manager and I tell them getting promoted too early.”

Watkiss said the progress of Paul Hurst was a good example of getting established.

“You look at someone like Paul Hurst, who is a really good manager,” he said.

“He went in at Grimsby after doing a decent job at Ilkeston and was always up there or thereabouts but never quite got promoted in the early years.

“But he always did well enough that the board would keep faith in him and established himself as a manager.

“He then did get the promotion job, then did a super job at Shrewsbury, had a really tough gig at Ipswich and is now back at Scunthorpe.

“I think he is a really good, solid lower league manager – but he had the chance to really establish himself which I don’t think I truly ever had.”

Watkiss is confident he could still do someone a good job.

“I would still back myself ability-wise as a manager against most people, but the reality is it would now be really tough for me to come back to England and get a manager’s job which is a massive, massive regret on my part,” he said.

“I have not worked in England for some time now.

“I had a year in India as a head coach, a few months in Malta as a head coach, and I actually signed a contract to be a head coach in the UAE, which fell through at the last minute.

“I would love one more chance in England. But maybe my future is abroad, we will see.”