Frank Nuttall praises club, players and passionate fans

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Frank Nuttall is manager of the Kenyan champions, Gor Mahia. The 46-year-old has coached across the UK, including for R

angers and the England youth teams, and has worked for the Chinese national team and Qatar under-23s. He’s also employed by FIFA to run courses across the world. Here he talks about life on the road, winning titles in Scotland, and Kenyan fan culture…

The Kenyan fans are very, very passionate. There are hordes of them outside the stadium before and after games. They lead the team bus to and from the ground, stopping the traffic, making sure the bus gets out. They’re very vocal, and very colourful. It’s an unbelievable atmosphere. But of course, if you’re not doing well, they’ll soon let you know. Thankfully I haven’t seen that yet.

Gor Mahia probably have the best support in Kenya. The stadiums are pretty full when we play – we can get between 8,000 and 10,000 in the city stadium (in Nairobi). The last couple of games we played in Kisumu at Lake Victoria (around 200 miles west of Nairobi) and there were maybe 15,000 or 16,000 there. It was packed. Outside there were maybe 10,000 who couldn’t get in. We’re also on live television most of the time, so we’re getting a huge audience. The passion is unbelievable.

I took over the Gor Mahia job from Bobby Williamson. I’d known Bobby for a number of years, from before he went out to manage Uganda (in 2008). When he moved from Gor Mahia to the Kenyan national team job (in August) he contacted me and said: “Do you fancy coming out?”

Bobby encouraged me, told me I’d enjoy it. He said: “Come for a few months. If you like it, you like it. If you don’t, it’s not the end of the world.” He spoke to one or two people, and recommended me to the club. Other names were mentioned – foreign guys – but they had faith in Bobby’s judgment.

The club looked after me from the moment I arrived. The chairman, the committee, all the staff…they’ve been really supportive. They couldn’t have done more. I’ve been living in a hotel – I was due to move into Bobby’s apartment, but he hasn’t been able to move on. But the hotel suited me fine.

Bobby had the club first or second when I arrived. So it was a strong unit. The problem was, a couple of months before I arrived, one of the sponsors pulled out and a lot of players left. They were down to the bare bones. Bobby didn’t tell me that before I came, mind you!

The players are not millionaires, believe me. You have to make allowances for their situation – their living conditions, where they’re travelling from, how they’re travelling. So if they’re a little late for training, you make allowances. They are very focused – they want to get on, they want to progress.

From a technical point of view, they’re very good players. And from a physical point of view, they have great attributes. Quick, strong, fit. When I arrived, we played four games in ten days. And they were very hard games; the type I haven’t seen for a long time. And yet not one of them complained.

I am in the process of negotiating a new contract with Gor Mahia. If we can agree something, I’d be happy to go back. It was fantastic to win the league, and the African Champions League would be great. Part of my negotiations is, “Do we have the finances and ambition to compete, to get us to the group stages?” Because that would be a great experience.

I was a young pro at Celtic but got released in 1987. There was a lot of competition. I could have gone to other clubs, but I was disillusioned. I was 20 – there were no advisers then, no agents, so I just got on with things. Thankfully I had the grades for uni so I went down to Cardiff to study physical education at UWIC (now Cardiff Metropolitan University). Then I went to Loughborough to do a masters in sports science.

I started my coaching qualifications at uni, and by age 24 I was doing coach education for the Welsh FA. I worked with their under 14s and under 15s, I worked for the Sports Council, and I was a sports science lecturer at university. But my ambition was always to get back into full-time football.

In the 1990s, there weren’t as many possibilities. If you weren’t an established ex-pro, it was very difficult. That has changed a lot now, but then, it was much harder. To get back in, I took a job as fitness coach at West Brom (in 1998). I had no intention of being a fitness coach (long term), but it was a way in.

I found myself in a situation where I had a reputation as a good fitness coach. I was pigeon-holed, and I didn’t want that. I did my A Licence at 29, and my Pro Licence by the time I was 34. So the capability (to coach more broadly) was there, but not the opportunity. I tried to keep the frustration in abeyance, tried to keep it private, and wait for the moment. But it was frustrating.

I became fitness coach at Rangers in 2004. I was brought up a Celtic supporter, I played there, and for many people it would have been difficult. But being a professional, I knew I should take it. Alec (McLeish) gave me a lot of freedom to work, and we were successful. We won the league the last game of the season, and won the League Cup. The next year we got through the Champions League group stages and came very close to knocking out Villarreal (going out on away goals).

Was it difficult beating Celtic to the league on the last game of the season? (Celtic were on course for the title but conceded two goals in the last two minutes against Motherwell). Look, I’m the sort of person who wants to win. The Celtic factor didn’t come into it. I enjoy winning football games and winning leagues. It was all about winning.

After Rangers, I went to Dubai to coach for Al Nasr, but I couldn’t settle. The family couldn’t come out and it was hard. As a family, we moved around early in my career, but it got to the point where they needed stability, especially with schooling. So they stay in Scotland, and I work around that. Football can be fickle and insecure – you could move your family to the other end of the country, and the next minute, you’re out of work.

When I came back from Dubai, I did some scouting for Middlesbrough. I also did part-time work for St Mirren and the English FA (working with youth teams from under-17 to under-20) and then Gareth (Southgate) asked me to become full-time fitness coach at Middlesbrough.

I was a bit reluctant at first. I was building up contacts and life was fine, but it was a way into the Premier League. Unfortunately we were relegated, budgets were cut, and I lost my job along with six other people.

Over the past four or five years I’ve been going back and forth to China (to work as a coach for the Chinese national team and Chinese clubs). It’s good to be able to dip in and out, because that’s a completely different culture. It’s a different life, different food, everything. You’ve really got to be able to get your mind round it. You’ve really got to build relationships.

My advice to British coaches who want to work abroad? Build your network. Find your contacts. And through your work – and your character – make a good impression, so they want you back. And also, a lot of jobs I’ve taken have been a means to an end. It doesn’t have to be your dream job. It can be about development.

29 thoughts on “Frank Nuttall praises club, players and passionate fans

  1. I believe Nuttal is a good coach. We are waiting to see him how he will handle a derby. I know Bobby Williamson was a good coach but with him we lost or drew in all derbies.

    We have a good squad; if maintained with a few changes here and there, Kogalo will go far.

  2. Coach Nutall has the right philosophy.
    Part of my negotiations is, “Do we have the finances and ambition to compete, to get us to the group stages?” Because that would be a great experience.

    Gor Mahia fraternity must get together and make it happen financially finally we have a coach who dreams of CAF titles and speaks out about it. The money is there its just be manipulated for some reason or the other.

    Like me Nutall confirms a support base of around 8,000-16,000.

    But were does the money go 8,000fans x kshs.300 gives kshs.2,400,000.00 per game but we are always told that the matches at City Stadium raised a paltry kshs.600,000.00.

    Also GM players may not be millionaires but AR once said the the average wage is kshs.70,000 and that by Kenyan standards is not bad. However with proper structures GM can afford an average wage of kshs.150,000 per player with a squad of 25 players.

  3. Cap 490 (Cooperative Act) mos mos release!

    73. Power to surcharge officers of co-operative society
    (1) Where it appears that any person who has taken part in the organization or management of a co-operative society, or any past or present officer or member of the society—
    (a)has misapplied or retained or become liable or accountable for any money or property of the society; or
    (b)has been guilty of misfeasance or breach of trust in relation to the society, the Commissioner may, on his own accord or on the application of the liquidator or of any creditor or member, inquire into the conduct of such person.
    (2) Upon inquiry under subsection (1), the Commissioner may, if he considers it appropriate, make an order requiring the person to repay or restore the money or property or any part thereof to the co-operative society together with interest at
    such rate as the Commissioner thinks just or to contribute such sum to the assets of the society by way of compensation as the Commissioner deems just.
    (3) This section shall apply notwithstanding that the act or default by reason of which the order is made may constitute an offence under another law for which the person has been prosecuted, or is being or is likely to be prosecuted. 94. Offences
    (1) It shall be an offence under this Act if—
    (a) a co-operative society, or an officer or a member thereof, fails to do or to cause to be done any act or thing which is required by or under this Act or any rules made thereunder to be done; or
    (b) a co-operative society, or an officer or a member thereof, does anything which is prohibited by or under this Act or any rules made
    thereunder; or
    (d)a co-operative society, or an officer or a member thereof, wilfully neglects or refuses to do any act or to furnish any information required
    for the purposes of this Act by the Commissioner or the Registrar, or any person duly authorized in that behalf, by the Commissioner or the
    Registrar; or
    (e)a co-operative society or an officer or member thereof willfully makes a false return or furnishes false information with respect to any return or information in or which is required by or under this Act or any rules made thereunder; or
    (f)any person wilfully and without reasonable excuse disobeys any summons, requirement or lawful order issued under this Act, or fails to furnish any return or information lawfully required from him by a person authorized to do so, or which he is required to furnish, by or under this Act or any rules made thereunder; or
    (g) any person acts or purports to act as an officer of a co-operative society when not entitled to do so.
    (2) Every co-operative society, officer or member of a co-operative society or other person who commits an offence under this section shall be liable to a fine
    not exceeding fifty thousand shillings or to imprisonment for a term not exceeding
    two years, or to both.
    (3) The Attorney-General may, pursuant to the provisions of the Criminal Procedure Code (Cap. 75), appoint public prosecutors for cases arising under the
    provisions of this Act.

  4. Gor still needs more and good strikers, I don’t know if Enock Agawanda is ending his contract but he can be a plus to Gor. Work on defense as well. Staying on top is not easy.

  5. what most people can tell is that Gor are the Kenya Champions and very few can tell how we performed in the derby. That means that being consistent and winning the most number of games is what matters. The rest is just icing on the cake. This year Ingwe got 4 points from us and we got one but the difference between us and them has been like that of light and darkness.
    I believe Nuttal will take us places if as fans and EC we support him and the team

  6. Congratulations coach Frank Nuttall, try hard and agree with the EC on your return to GM formula.

    GM has a big name that will just get you to where you intend to reach, hoping to see you go places with GM as you get your life satisfied. I also hope to see your wish list of players for the next season implemented, that is your prerogative. I just think an improved K14 may fit in your plans.

  7. @Oduor12, that confirms what I said earlier. That the 50% statutory deduction the EC announces is a gimmick to hoodwink you. Some of them are actually pocketing the money but pretending it is statutory deduction.

  8. I stand to be corrected and I don’t think there is any money to be ‘eaten’ at Gor. Instead I think some people are really sacrificing their hard earned money to run the club. It’s true there are leakages especially at the gates but we as fans are the ones who are to blame for this. Instead of blaming the officials why don’t we refuse to part with 50 bob to watch our beloved team then lament that the players are not giving their best.
    Let’s not be like the guy who saw someone’s payslip of gross 300K and started shouting that the person earns 300k forgetting that there is a statuory 30% tax making it almost a net of 200K. The team actually pays between 40 to 50% deductions to the stadium as well as to FKF.

  9. Excellent interview and good insights from coach Frank Nuttall. Even Len Julians, the legend once marvelled at how passionate Kisumu fans are.

  10. Ignoring the VIP charges!
    According to Nutall’s figures

    2 Kisumu games:
    Attendance 15,000 x kshs.300=kshs.4,500,000 x 2=kshs.9M
    Hehe,during the last AGM EC led by Jakom AR had the audacity to present “accounts” stating that total gate collections for 2013 was kshs.9M

    The other 13 games:
    Attendance 8,000 xkshs.200=kshs.1,600,000 x 13=kshs.20.8M
    Fans have been vindicated,its now an open secret GM fans “sponsored” the club this season and they did a mighty good job Kudos.
    The figures presented by EC actually match @ D.Original’s claim that fans pay 50bob to watch matches YES THAT MEANS ALL 10,000 of them pay around kshs.50 to raise approx kshs.600,000 from which 50% statutory deductions are effected leaving kshs.300,000 to be banked.
    Hard earned money indeed, nothing is being eaten indeed whichever way you look at it from EC’s figures only 2000 to a maximun 3,000 fans attend GM matches.


  11. Let’s stop this habit of always complaining that money is being eaten.
    By who?
    Why can’t you present that evidence?
    Why don’t you seek to be elected so that you can stop it?

    Without sponsor, T/B and the players were paid their salaries without any complain.Where did the money come from?
    There are teams with sponsors and were not able to pay their players. Zao zilikuliwa na nani?

    Let’s talk facts, bring those facts to the A.G.M to help members NOT approve the bad audited account.

  12. @Sam Muga. There is no need of evidence here. It is sheer logic. Count or estimate the number of people in the stadium and multiply by the average gate charges per person. Compare this to what was declared and you get the gist of the matter. Where there is smoke there is fire.

    Meanwhile @ Oduori12. Remember one of the matches in Kisumu was an away match for Gor Mahia so, don’t add it to Gor’s collection. But all in all, for someone to write a report and say GM’s gate collection for the whole year was Kshs 9m is a big insult to the whole GM family and an egg on the eyes of those justifying the EC’s comments. It is lack of respect!!

  13. @Sam Muga I totally support you.Thhis habit of perenially complaining that money has been ‘eaten’ and yet the players are not complaining of being paid is hogwash. We also know that we cannot run the club purely on gate collections. Almost a quarter of the fans in a gor game are usually there courtesy of bribing their way through the gates. The blame here squarely lies on these fans, the stewards and the EC disorganization. The thing is if you don’t bribe then the club gets more money. If AR, Kidero amongst other financers complain then i would believe this allegation. Otherwise can we prove this in a judicial process or are we just being emotional due to our love of the club? Have we raised it within our branches?

  14. @ Pmawego I don’t dispute all those allegations, they may be right. The question is, What action have they taken rather than singing the same song year in year out?
    I believe that not all who enter in the stadium have genuine tickets.I personally have witnessed some “fake fans” bribing themselves in to watch the game. Your estimate cant be right.

    @ Dan Original that’s exactly my point. They have very many channels and avenues to present this claims. We need those facts to raise legitimate questions at the right time at the right place.

  15. @ Pmawego your right and I stand corrected.
    May I also add the the derby usually nets a tidy sum.
    Nobody is denying that the likes of Kidero & other people with means are doing a comendable job nor that some fans/EC are doing GM a dIsservice through bribery.
    However its equally hogwash to assert that GM matches raise only kshs.600,000 which means the entire crowd paid 50bob each or at most only around 3000 fans attend GM matches.
    Why demand evidence or substantiation of the obvious!


    Gor Mahia head coach Frank Nuttal contract extension is tied to the club’s ability to provide enough funds that will see them perform exceptionally in the CAF Champions League.

    Speaking to, Nuttal said that Gor have already offered him a deal but nothing has been settled signed yet.

    Open to return

    -If we can agree something, I’d be happy to go back. It was fantastic to win the league, and the African Champions League would be great.

    -Part of my negotiations is, ‘Do we have the finances and ambition to compete, to get us to the group stages?’ Because that would be a great experience, he said.


    SuperSport have threatened to withdraw their sponsorship for Kenyan Premier League should stand-off over expansion of league to 18 teams continue without resolution.

    Goal has exclusively established that the broadcaster has given a Sunday ultimatum and could make good its threat as soon as Monday next week.

    A source privy to discussions between the South Africa-based pay television channel and a KPL delegation told Goal that the stalemate has caused jitters down South.

    “They (SuperSport) are very concerned that there is no agreement on this and that there is structured arrangement on how to manage expansion of league. They said they will hold meeting before Sunday and will give their position on expansion after considering all ramifications of such a move.”

    At the same time, KPL title sponsors Tusker have called for an urgent meeting with KPL and FKF to discuss the impact of increasing number of teams from 16 to 18.

    “They (Kenya Breweries Limited) also want to know what this would mean. This is a weighty matter and they too are extremely concerned. They want to understand what is happening

  18. Nutall has not given any conditions. He was being interviewed on a whole range of issues and Futaa picked that part so that they would have something to report as Futaa always is if you have been a frequent reader of their stories

  19. The ‘eating’ hullabaloo has been there and could be one day when ‘we all grow up’ we may effectively deal with it, the same way we may see off hooliganism, remember these are vices ‘we’ or some of us take pride in.

    On expansion of the league i think our country has just developed an irritating culture of ‘noise making’ regardless of people’s age and positions in society.

    This thing (league expansion) can be quietly and easily sorted out by officials of KPL and FKF without dog fights. If anything KPL too has been exposed lately on suspicious expenditure volumes on the gala..the question remains who is corrupt and who is not…or may be who is a better thief? For the sake of our football i would rather they both play safe for continuity of the calm we’ve enjoyed lately.

  20. @Jakoyo, I am not surprised that you have misinterpreted Frank Nutall. This is expected of you. He is saying “give me the funds to improve the team so as to be able to compete for the TPL and the continental cup”. He does not want to be a failure. He would rather not come unless there are some assurances that the team will be improved. It is not just about buying players but also about their welfare. This is the right thing to do and I would do the same if asked to coach Gor. If he gets his wish then the players will owe him and will work for him knowing that he can influence things.

    The challenge here is that EC should work extra hard to provide funds for Gor to be able to compete in continental championships and if they can’t then they should go for another mediocre coach that will accept anything that comes by. Many managers in Europe, especially England will resign straight away if these assurances are not given to them. The reason being that the buck stops with the coach.

  21. transparency inaanza na bloggers wenyewe, they blame gor mahia EC lakini pia wao wanakula…..bloggers contribution to gor mahia imepotea wapi ? ni hao hao bloggers leo wanasema hizi, kesho wanasema vile….just like EC, in kenya we dont trust anyone, kila mtu ni mwizi until prooven innocent.

    asanteni sana.

  22. I like the conditions given by Nuttal. I also wish that our hardworking EC wud have the ambition to compete effectively in champions league and find the finances reqiured. A coach like Nuttal wud not want to spoil his CV with underperformance in a continental competion. He want to go 4r it just like other coaches he will be competing against. So God willing if we’ll have him(Nuttal) nxt s’son then there will be fireworks in Gor especialy in Playing unit.evrything is possible with Gods blessings.

  23. Jabilo/CEO kindly give an update on the status Gor’s motivational contribution.
    Take note of @21 Pascal’s comments.
    My personal view is that its taking too long to handover the money and there is no justifiable reason.
    The money was not collected for a presser but to be given to the players.If the presser is not materializing please make way to GM office hand over the money & get a receipt.

  24. Now that Danny has gone to Simba it’s the chance of the remaining strikers and the EC to fill the void. This could be a blessing in disguise as we can now find out if we can still be lethal without Danny. I believe a few addidtions here and there and we would still be OK.
    Calabar should also move on and make the best of his talent while the years are still on his side.
    A good chance for promotion from the youth team as well as getting players from within and beyond

  25. Let Danny try his luck with simba.Simba has a habit of preying on gor players who they eventually dont keep long.Mosoti only got regulay play because when Loga was there,once Loga left,he was shown the door.Mapunda is on his way out having warmed the bench entire season.Kiongera who is injury prone may also not last long.But all the best Danny,you are always welcome back.
    Dannys replacement should be found ASAP,Kataka of Ushuru fits the bill well.

  26. But @Ombeng Ombeng kataka is not a regular scorer but a dribbler and creator. I believe with the proper handling and feeding BB can easily fit into Danny’s shoes. If K14 comes back and with the right attitude most of our problems will have been solved. I still believe we will recruit a not-so-famousplayer and create him to be what we need as Gor. After all that is what we have been doing. We did it with Akumu, BB, Pinches etc and we will not stop churning them out

  27. @ODUOR12, I spoke to CEO and he informed me that they have finalized to invite the team next week. The budgeted amount to host the team for the breakfast has been approved and he will communicate the exact date, day and time for the the event.
    @ 21 Pascal concern is valid but CEO will invite all of us including comrade @Pascal to witness the occasion.

  28. Thanks for the assurance Jabilo/CEO.
    Hopefully by end of next week we will be done with this crucial matter and the players/club will have received our contribution.

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