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Tue 29-Sep-2009 20:12
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Cody – The autobiography
When it was revealed that Brian Cody, the most successful hurling manager of the modern era, was writing his autobiography many hurling fans were surprised. Cody has a reputation of being guarded and giving little away and has largely stayed clear of controversy. Would his book change all that by giving away some inside secrets and would he dish the dirt on certain individuals? After reading the book, however, it becomes clear that Cody is not the sort of person to go down this route.
That’s not to say you don’t get a good sense of the
Cody is from reading this book. He comes across as a humble man with a very strong belief system into how things should be done and has an unwavering loyalty to his players. He says nothing derogatory about any player who has played under him. The controversial retirements of Brian McEvoy and Charlie Carter are dealt with in one paragraph where he states they didn’t seem happy not to be starting and walked away. It would have been easy to put the boot into them but he is not that sort of individual.
The book doesn’t follow the usual format of an autobiography which is refreshing. Too many sports autobiographies start off with a few chapters about the person’s childhood and where they came from. This usually isn’t very riveting reading. Cody’s book starts off with his views on certain issues from the format of the championship to how teams need to be focused on what they’re doing. We then get chapters about his time as manager of Kilkenny. It is only later in the book does he talk about his own playing days with James Stephens and Kilkenny. The year 2009 is dealt with in great detail and is spread with chapters throughout the book finishing with the triumph over Tipperary. One annoying aspect though is the amount of chapters that start with ‘Martin Breheny writes….’, as the ghost writer fills the reader in with information about where Kilkenny were at a particular time so the following chapter is more relevant. This is not necessary and takes away from the fact that this is Brian Cody’s story.
While there are no jaw dropping moments in the book it isn’t hard to see why Cody has been so successful with Kilkenny. He is completely convinced of how he believes a team should behave and goes to great lengths to give credit to his players. He rubbishes the notion that he is a dictator type manager and rules by fear. He also doesn’t have anything negative to say about any other county team and claims to have respect for every team they play. Now you could be cynical and say he is just being polite or the fact that he has respect for whoever they play is a part of the reason as to why he has been so successful.
It is very evident from the book that there is one thing that really gets under his skin and that is when his team are accused of being a dirty team in the media. He deals with the Loughnane’s comments from 2007 and how they annoyed him and also talks about the media’s treatment of Tommy Walsh this summer. While discussing these matters it is the only time in the book that you see anger from him.
The closest you get to seeing him boastful is when he takes great delight in reminding us how the general consensus at the end of 2005 was that Kilkenny were a spent force and people from Enda McEvoy to Donal O’Grady reckoned they were going into a period of transition. Looking back now it’s not hard to see why Cody takes great pleasure in remembering these comments.
If you are looking for a sports book full of controversy and incidents then this is not the book for you. That’s not to say that the book is boring, however. It does offer an insight into why Cody has been so successful. There are no egos in his dressing room and everyone from the kitman to the players to Cody himself know they are just a cog in the wheel. He talks about how he doesn’t understand the current fascination with American sports quotes and how some people believe a few fancy catchphrases can make a difference. His philosophy is far simpler than that.
This is a book that any member of a team should read as it emphasises the importance of every single person pulling in the same direction. You get to see that all the early training sessions, rousing team talks or fancy phrases that so many people believe gives you an edge are all irrelevant and unless you have everyone putting in total dedication and going in the same direction you will go nowhere.
You are left wondering at the end of the book how long more Cody and this Kilkenny team can remain successful. We’ll just have to wait until 2010 to find that out.
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