"I learned from Walter and Archie, but I also learned a lot from Dick Advocaat. I was a youth coach at Rangers and Dick said to me, 'John, don't worry about having to win youth games . . . your job is to produce good players for my first team squad.' That was great advice for me, because I grew up, like everyone in Scotland, with the mentality from a young age of always winning games."That's how the older generation saw things. So I've picked up a lot over the years, from being street-wise, to being disciplined, to sometimes having a softly-softly touch."I've taken all this into the Dundee job. I've said to the players: 'Youse are all Barry Smith signings . . . so if you want to prove that Barry had an eye for a player, then now's your chance. Go prove it.' If I can make Dundee better, and harder to beat, then I'll be doing my job."Brown also says – with some justification – that the ideas he has taken into Dens Park have proved so far to be of substance."I've seen a decent improvement already over my opening five games in charge," he says. "I'm changing some of our training drills to get my players into more goal-scoring positions. I'm also trying to teach my defenders how to be stronger defenders. It takes time, but now this Dundee team is beginning to think, 'you know what . . . we don't need to fear anyone in this league.'"It's an old phrase but '11 different punches thrown by 11 different players is not as strong as one punch thrown by everyone.' I don't mean going out and kicking lumps. I mean everyone going out there and doing it as a team – that is a very powerful tool."One thing struck me as odd about Brown. How was it that, for a man of such obvious conviction, he had gone so long in his post-playing days without being a No.1 in his own right?Was it because he was happy as a reserve team coach at Rangers? Is it because he suffers the curse of being viewed as 'old school'?"Maybe I stayed at Rangers too long as a youth coach," he replied. "I was 11 years at Ibrox, working through the youths and the reserves. I wanted to get to assistant-manager status but it never happened. I'm not sure if I threatened certain people with the way I spoke. I've always spoken my mind, and told managers where I thought their team might be going wrong. I've had one or two issues with managers because I tended to be a bit too forthright."As for being 'old school', well my brother and I had a very good, disciplined upbringing. My dad was disciplined and hard-working. It was a tough upbringing but it was good. My dad played junior football. Various coaches, like Walter and Dick, wanted players shaved, smart, looking the part. Walter once said to me, 'if a player is lazy, deal with it.' I think all these are good qualities to have."Is this 'old school'? Well, fine. The point is, if you've got the basics right, then you've got a chance."His Dundee record currently reads: P5, W1, D3, L1. So far, "Bomber" and Scot Gardiner look right and the rest of us look wrong. But can he get the job long-term? "I would love to get the Dundee job," he says. "I'd love to build the club up and make it competitive again against Dundee United, which has dominated in the city for so many years."Dundee right now don't have one full-time scout. The club does not have a proper youth structure, so there are hardly any youth players coming through that are going to be good enough. Look at Dundee United by comparison."But what I do have is knowledge, ideas, determination, plus I've got a book full of contacts in the game which I've built up over the years. So I can bring a lot to this football club."
Source: Dundee Mad