NICK Barmby has revealed how a desire to ensure Hull City’s ambitions matched his own was a factor in the wait to accept the manager’s job on a permanent basis.
The 37-year-old brought to an end a two-month caretaker stint in charge of the Tigers earlier this week after initially stepping in to replace Nigel Pearson.
City’s board had made no secret of their desire to make the appointment earlier but Barmby, who has steered City to six wins in 11 games, insisted on biding his time.
Now, speaking ahead of tomorrow’s visit from Peterborough United, Barmby said: “We didn’t want to make this into a soap opera. But everything had to be right and it is now.
“I didn’t want to drag it out longer than it should have been.
“We have got a good group of players and the players that we want to keep, we didn’t want sold. The owners have been fantastic with that, they have been first class.
“The Premier League was incredible, amazing for everyone at Hull and the city. Unfortunately, we didn’t leave a legacy from being in the Premier League but that has all gone now.
“The good thing is that we have shown we can do it. It put the myth to bed that Hull was one of the biggest cities in Europe never to play in the top division.
“We know we can do it now and that is what we are striving to do, whether it is this year or the next. That is our goal.
“The owners are ambitious and we are ambitious to do that. It would be silly to say we are definitely going to do it but the squad of players here can work towards it.”
Chief among Barmby’s conditions for taking on the role full-time was a promise for the club to try and keep hold of their star players during the transfer window.
The impressive form of James Chester, Jack Hobbs and Matty Fryatt has led to rival clubs circling the KC Stadium, while Cameron Stewart has already been the subject of two unsuccessful bids from Leicester City.
As revealed in yesterday’s Yorkshire Post by head of football operations Adam Pearson, City will continue to turn down any offers that come in from rival clubs – a stance that understandably delights Barmby.
He said: “We have had two or three meetings and they (owners Assem and Ehab Allam) have been nothing but supportive and positive.
“Now we can have a good crack at it because the coaching staff and the people I want at the club are all in place.
“Everyone has responded, and I thank them for that.
“But now it is time to roll up our sleeves and kick on,” urged Barmby.
Barmby, who yesterday allowed Paul McShane to join Crystal Palace on loan for a month, kicked off his caretaker stint in charge with a win at Derby County, the first of five in the Championship that have helped the Tigers up to sixth in the Championship ahead of tomorrow’s clash with Posh.
Mixed in with those five league wins and last weekend’s FA Cup triumph over Ipswich Town have been five league defeats, perhaps the most frustrating of which came at home to Burnley on November 26 when Eddie Howe’s side came from 2-0 down with 12 minutes remaining to claim all three points.
As a seasoned veteran in the ups and downs that football can bring, Barmby was ready for the extreme emotions of management. He also insists there was never a time during the past two months when he thought the City job might not be for him.
He said: “No, not really. Even after the Burnley game. It was a big decision.
“I am a family man and whatever I have done, my family have backed me.
“I have loved every minute of it, good or bad. I haven’t got too high when we have won and I haven’t got too low when we have lost.
“It is a fine balance and even more so when it is your club. I am still learning but I have got very good people around me.”
A casualty of Barmby accepting the job has been the end to a playing career that has included 23 England caps and a host of big-money transfer moves.
It is a decision he was not expecting to make during 2011-12, not least because the Hull-born 37-year-old still feels capable of making an impact out on the pitch.
However, the lure of managing the Tigers was one he could just not turn down.
He said: “This is the club for me and the club I want to stay at. I have never thought about anything else.
“Even if this hadn’t come along and I had stopped as a (Hull) player, I wouldn’t have gone and played for another club.”
Asked if he had any managerial career path in mind, Barmby replied: “No. You can get ahead of yourself. I have gone from a player at the club and now I am a very proud man to manage the club.
“Your ambition is to do well for Hull City. I have never thought if I can do well here or there, it would lead to something else.”
City, whose trip to Blackpool on March 3 has been pulled forward to the Friday night for live transmission by Sky, are looking to end a three-game losing run in the league when Posh come to the KC Stadium tomorrow.