RONNIE MOORE is not used to pottering around the garden and doing the domestic chores at this time of year.
Pretty much immersed in the game since starting out as a raw-boned striker at Tranmere Rovers in the early Seventies, the Liverpudlian finds himself on the outside looking in, for just the second time in his lengthy association with football.
It is a sensation that is taking some getting used to for the former Rotherham United manager and player – and club legend – and one he does not particularly enjoy.
Sacked by Tranmere in April, after admitting breaking the Football Association’s betting rules and handed a one-month suspended ban and fined £2,000 by the FA the following month, the 61-year-old faces a battle to convince any prospective new employers that he is a man worth hiring.
Moore, as people who know him will vouch, is a fighter and is determined to rebuild his reputation following his indiscretion.
As it stands, Moore is playing a waiting game, but do not think for one minute football has seen the last of him.
Should he require inspiration, he need only look at current Millers chief Steve Evans, once suspended for 20 months by the FA after irregularities at Boston United and now managing at Championship level.
Moore told The Yorkshire Post: “In 45 years in football, I think there has been only one previous pre-season I have not had and this is only the second one for me, which is disappointing.
“At the moment, my lawn at home is like Wembley, absolutely fantastic. I am also quite good at the washing; the only thing I cannot do is the ironing.
“I will be getting to games as soon as the season starts and will obviously watch a few Rotherham matches, including the first home game with Wolves.
“Basically, I will filter about, make one or two calls and see whether one or two people want me to do a little bit of scouting. It just keeps your hand in and keeps your face in as well.
“There will be no jobs available until around about the end of September, early October. You are like vultures, sat on a wall waiting for someone to fall, which is a horrible thing to be involved in.
“But that is all we managers have ever known and we know the consequences.
“I am not that type to go and watch a team if a particular manager is under pressure.
“I do not like that; I have had it myself where I have been at games and you are the manager and you look up in the stands and see five or six managers who are out of work there with their mouths watering hoping you get beat.
“That is the way of the world and how football is. It is all I have known and a lot who are waiting for jobs have known.
“I have never really been lower than halfway at the end of the season with teams and have had a couple of promotions and almost four years in the Championship. I will just have to wait and see.”
Despite being at the seasoned end of the managerial spectrum at 61, Moore is confident he still has plenty to offer and remains proud of his record since entering Football League management with his beloved Millers in 1997.
While many chairmen have shown an increasing propensity to go down the young man’s route in recent years, Moore says that the elder statesmen should not be written off or forgotten.
Sixty-somethings such as Manuel Pellegrini and Harry Redknapp did not exactly fare too badly last season and Moore does not subscribe to the theory that frontline management is the exclusive preserve of youth – Manchester United certainly did not think so when they recently appointed Louis Van Gaal, who turns 63 tomorrow.
Moore added: “People are saying football is a young man’s game now. But you look at the teams who won things last season and there’s still a lot of older managers now running things. I still think there’s a role for older managers in football.
“I know some say ‘well, employing them is an easy way out’. But don’t forget with these young guys coming through now – who do they turn to when they are under pressure?
“When you are a young manager and are having a bad time and everyone is on your back, you might turn to your coach and he’ll probably be the same age and has never been there before and doesn’t know how to handle it.
“It is not like you might want to be a director of football to pinch his job. It is nothing to do with that – I have been there, done it and worn the hat. It’s about guiding people to become better managers.”
Resident in his adopted home town of Rotherham, Moore will follow the fortunes of the Millers with particular interest in 2014-15, having managed the club for virtually the entirety of their last foray into the second tier, a four-season stint from 2001-05.
Today, the Millers are a club transformed from the one who fought against the odds, albeit with success, from their ramshackle Millmoor base.
Their current spending power is something Moore could scarcely have dreamt of back in his first spell in charge.
Strutting their stuff from across the dual carriageway from Millmoor at the palatial New York Stadium and with burning ambition prevalent, you would be right in thinking Moore is a little envious of the situation Steve Evans finds himself in.
But despite the advantages the present-day Millers have on their predecessors, Moore believes it will be nothing less than a major battle to establish themselves in a teak-tough league.
On being a tad envious, Moore, who had two spells in charge of United, said: “Without a doubt. To have a stadium like that and a chairman. He gave Steve 600 grand the other week to bid for a lad at Swindon... Ken (Booth) was decent when we asked him, but at the time, there was not much money flying about.
“It is just a whole new set-up now with a chairman who is a fantastic guy who wants to get to the Premier League and that should be everybody’s aim.
“Yet while the step up from League Two to One is not particularly massive, the move up from One to the Championship is frightening.
“Football is so unpredictable. But if you can predict something, it’s that life is tough at Championship level.
“There are no easy games and every game is a cup final. You look and think: ‘Bloody hell, where will we get 50 points from?’
“For me, team spirit is massive. They do not have to have the best players, but need a nice team spirit to keep them together and they have had that for the past few years, no doubt about that.
“But it’s going to be tough. I think mid-table would be a good achievement. Although I know the chairman won’t be happy about me saying it as his ultimate ambition will be to get to the Premier League.”