Kiwomya wants good times back

CHRIS Kiwomya will draw on his own experiences to help Town's Academy youngsters take the next big step while making sure the not-so-young players don't slip into obscurity.

Derek Davis

CHRIS Kiwomya will draw on his own experiences to help Town's Academy youngsters take the next big step while making sure the not-so-young players don't slip into obscurity, as EADT chief football writer DEREK DAVIS discovered.

BEING the reserve team boss, however fancy the title, is arguably the most difficult job on any club's coaching staff.

Certainly it is the most thankless, as Steve Greaves found out, even though he had helped the Blues second string win the reserve league title two years running and was rewarded with the sack.

But Chris Kiwomya, whose official title is reserve team development coach, showed no signs that he has an onerous task after being officially unveiled this week.

With a the same ready smile and infectious positive attitude, the former Blues winger is clearly relishing the role of helping more Academy players bridge the gap between youth and first team, while offering support for those who have slipped out of the senior side for whatever reason.

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As a player who was signed by Town as a 16-year-old, made his first-team debut at 17 against Bradford City in 1988 and then went on to make 259 Town appearances before playing for Arsenal and QPR, with spells playing in France and Malaysia in between, he knows what it takes.

His spell at Arsenal was probably the most frustrating of his career after being bought by George Graham, who was then sacked, a succession of managers barely used him and he was loaned out, first to Le Havre then Salangor in Malaysia where he scored the winning goal in a cup final. Kiwomya said: “I have been around a lot of great players and at Arsenal, although I didn't play that often, I trained with these guys on a daily basis and I learned a lot from them in terms of how they do things mentally and physically, their technique and how they go about preparing for game-day.

“If senior players are not in the first team then they have try and get there. They have to hone their own skills, fight for a place. The

“I have experienced it but I have seen how people get through it and get into a team. It is about dealing with your low points as well as the highs.

“You have to deal with injuries and get the mind right and do things right every session and every game

“As for the younger players, well, I was a 16-year-old when I came here and made my debut at 17 which was down to the coaching staff and my eagerness to learn the game.

“The young players have to say I want to do that and get into the first team and take their chance.

“The set up here is brilliant. There can be no excuses.”

Kiwomya has most recently been working with the 13-14 age group of players at Arsenal and was being groomed to coach at the a higher age level but was too tempted by Jim Magilton's offer to return to Portman Road where he had helped Town reach the Premier League in its very first season.

He said: “They were great times and they can come again. To have the opportunity to play at old Trafford or Anfield where one week you are up against a Steve Gerard the next week Ashley Cole or whoever, it is exciting.

“You don't want to ever look back and think about what could have been. I feel Jim is on the verge of something good here

“I came back to see quite a few games here last season and I was always made to feel welcome.

“The players here have a great chance but they need to fulfil it and they need to work on it and not allow it to pass them by.”

Kiwomya played alongside the likes of Dennis Bergkamp and has studied the management style of Arsene Wenger, who managed him at Highbury and advised him to play at Le Havre.

The 38-year-old is determined use what he learned from the Frenchman and the likes of John Lyall who coached him at Ipswich and use them in his demanding new role.