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Twins peak! The brothers Holdsworth set for unique battle of the bosses this weekend
By Ivan Speck, dailymail.co.uk, 16th September 2010
David and Dean Holdsworth are not like most twins.
Their personalities diverge wildly at times — David is endearingly serious, Dean incorrigibly flippant — but it only proves that football management accepts all sorts.
On Saturday for the first time in recorded British football history, twin brothers will face each other as managers in a league game when Newport County (Dean) host Mansfield Town (David) in the Blue Square Bet Premier.
For all his flippancy, Dean was once chairman of the PFA and has now set up the NLFA, a non-League equivalent for players from park football to the Blue Square Bet Premier.
For all David's sensible nature, it was he who was almost run out of Watford when the pair were teenage trainees at the club for not being tucked up in bed early on a Friday night.
Dean, who was, had to cover for him.
'I saved his backside,' said Dean, the ever-present mischievous twinkle in his eye.
'David had gone round to his girlfriend's house. He was only going to be home a little bit later, but Tom Whalley, who ran the Watford youth team, phoned.
'Tom was a big disciplinarian and he'd ring up to check you were in. My mum knocked on the bedroom door and said, “Tom's on the phone, he wants to speak to you”.
'I said hello and he said, “Where's David?” I said he was in bed, so he said, “Go get him”.
'I went through the motions, went back to the bedroom, came out, rubbed my eyes and said, “Hello, Tom” in a different voice.
Full of promise: a star-studded Watford youth team featured from left) Dean Holdsworth, Tim Sherwood, David James and David Holdsworth
'He said, “That's Deano”. I said it wasn't but he insisted, “I'm telling you, that's Deano”.
'I said, “No, it's David, Dean's gone back to bed”. So he said, “Go get him again”.
'I went in and out of the bedroom again, came back to the phone and he said, “That's Deano. You were David”.
'The thing was we lived in Woodford Green and he was in Watford. There's no way he would have driven round so I just had to stand on it even though he was swearing profusely when he put the phone down.
'The next day Tom was driving the team bus and he grabbed hold of David round the neck, saying, “You were out last night”.
'I was at the back hiding behind the seat. I still don't think Tom knows the truth of it.'
The Holdsworths, 41, are mirror twins. When they were younger, David broke his left arm. Dean broke his right arm. David has a scar on the left of his top lip. Dean has one on the right.
When they were seven, Dean went down with appendicitis and was rushed to hospital, only to be let out that night. The next day David was rushed in with a burst appendix.
Then there was the time when David was playing for Watford reserves. Dean was sitting at home in east London and said to their mother:
'I've got a funny feeling. I don't feel very well and I think David's in trouble.'
David was in trouble. He had damaged knee ligaments in a challenge and came home on crutches. Put them together, though, and the two halves fuse as one.
'We can be out and we will laugh at the same things, stupid things and understand each other's thinking. Some people find it a little bit imposing but it's just a twin thing,' said David.
'Dean was a striker. He played at Wimbledon, had a good career and was in the spotlight. He was a high-profile player and he lived that lifestyle. I was a defender and very content sitting in the background.
'I'm a quiet bloke, I live a private life and don't surround myself with football people. The glamour wasn't something I sought. I'm happy with a cigar and a pair of wellies.'
As players, the brothers faced each other several times. David remembers an FA Cup tie between Watford and Wimbledon. He marked Dean and it finished 0-0.
Dean prefers to recall scoring two goals against David's Sheffield United and a last-minute penalty at Birmingham, while playing for Bolton, which he converted in spite of David chirping away in his ear before he took it.
Now they are both managers of entertaining teams. Dean led Newport on a canter to promotion last s eason, while David has Mansfield currently in the play-off places.
David is meticulous and methodical. He was instrumental in Gretna's rise up the Scottish leagues, building the club from the bottom and so assiduous in scouting teams and players before the chance came to take over at Ilkeston Town that he had dossiers on more than 2,000 players.
He added: 'I had done all my analysis on teams, so whatever division I went in at I was prepared for. I studied the Championship inside out and I want to manage there as soon as possible.'
Having experienced the Wimbledon way under Joe Kinnear, Dean was not so keen on the structured approach.
He said: 'Sometimes I'm a non-conformist to rules. I took my coaching badges reluctantly because I had worked under managers who I wouldn't have thought even had any scouts badges.
'I like to manage with a cuddle, not a stick.'
The banter will begin early. David is travelling down to South Wales on Friday for a game of golf with his twin.
'I'm the better golfer,' he says.
Dean's response is typically cheeky:
'The most important thing this weekend is to talk him out of his swing, so that he shanks the ball.'
They will have dinner together on Friday evening, while Dean's relaxed touchline demeanour means the game will pass without fraternal friction.
'Saturday will be amazing, brilliant. We're both proud of each other. We're both individuals, but the rivalry for me left when we were 12 or 13.
'We're always going to be judged as twins, though, and we can't get away from that.
'Our mum won't worry about the performance, only that we had fallen out. She'd want it to be a draw every time and that we shook hands afterwards.'
Twin peaks: David and Dean (left) face each other when Bolton played Sheffield United
All smiles: Dean Holdsworth ahead of the clash against his twin brother
Stern: Mansfield boss David will challenge Dean on the golf course, before they go head-to-head at Newport on Saturday
Model pros: David (left) and Dean in suits during their playing days
Illness worry for Stags as twins make history
CHAD.co.uk, Sep 16 2010
MANSFIELD Town have illness and injury worries as they prepare for Saturday's historic game at Newport when brothers Dean and David Holdsworth will make footballing history as the first twins to go head to head as football managers.
David will take his Mansfield Town side to Dean's Newport County, looking for a fourth successive away win following last weekend's 2-1 success at Southport. But his plans are being disrupted.
“We have had an illness bug sweep through the club this week which it is impossible to foresee and I have told two of the lads to stay away for the moment as we don't want it spreading further,” he said.
“We also have some injury worries, one more than the rest, and we will have to see who is available come Saturday. But it may mean I have to make more changes than I would have wanted to. We only have 10 or 11 players training today.
“I went 4-3-3 at Southport but that side was picked specifically for that game, particularly as I felt a bit of fatigue had been creeping in. I wanted to freshen things up with some pace up top.”
On this Saturday's game he said: “I believe we are making history which we are very proud of. Over all those years I would never have believed we'd end up as opposing managers.
“But we have both worked very hard and want our clubs to do well.”
“It won't be a case of avoiding each other this week.
“Nothing will change,” said David. “We speak all the time. We discuss other sides and he helps me with some reports though we won't be swapping notes on this occasion.
“I spoke to him this morning and he was a bit quieter than usual.
“I won't be having a beer with Dean after the game as I will be heading home to my wife and son and analysing the game. But we will have a coffee and shake hands, win, lose or draw.
“Someone has said if we win he will have to take his hat off to me as he always wears a cap. But time has been good to him, it is me who is going greyer on the top by the day!
“We have always been very competitive though as young boys we were more Butch and Sundance – we were a two-man show. We had some good run-ins with other people as kids, but we stuck together.
“I know the media will make a lot of noises about the situation on Saturday and we are proud, but I don't want the game to be all about me.
“I want my players to focus on the game. We want to win it and we will go there in a positive mood and do our best.
“It is all about going there and setting up correctly and we are working hard on that on the training ground.
“They are a very strong side with an excellent home record who have adjusted to life at this level very quickly.”
It may be their first clash as managers, but the twins have played against each other on several bruising occasions.
“Our first meeting was in the FA Cup match between Watford and Wimbledon which Wimbledon won in the replay in extra-time, though Dean didn't play for them in that replay,” said David.
“The Sheffield United v Bolton games were fairly even though I always remember when Birmingham battered Bolton a couple of times.
“Our battles were always healthy. They were certainly physical. The type of defender I was meant I always like to get close to people and Dean was a very well respected centre forward.”
This summer saw David Holdsworth lose out on one or two players to brother Dean who had a larger chequebook to utilise at Newport.
However, Stags are currently six places and five points above Newport
David added: “It was a frustrating time for myself in the summer as Dean signed some good players who had been sat here in front of me. It wasn't to be and now we move on.
“They have good finance behind them and are a progressive football club doing things very well.
“I am very pleased with the start we've made and the fact we are above them at the moment. Sustaining that will be the hardest thing for this football club.”
Assistant Stags boss Duncan Russell added: “We are looking forward to it and the gaffer wants to win so bad.
“With him being up against his brother In hope they don't turn the mike up!
“We will have to earn the right to play there. But we are going to Newport for a win.”
Stags Supporters Association have transport available for ALL Stags fans wanting to travel to Newport.
Departure time from Field Mill is 10am and seats need to be pre booked asap on 07967 689597.
Prices are Amber/Junior SSA members £15, Blue SSA members £18 and non- SSA members £20.
David Holdsworth and Dean Holdsworth feature to appear on BBC Football Focus on Saturday ---->
Rob Duffy and Luke Medley video interviews ----->
Brotherly love set to go on hold for David Holdsworth
16 Sep 2010
video interview from BBC EMT ____>
David focused on win not sibling rivalry
Mansfield Town manager David Holdsworth and his twin brother Dean will make history on Saturday when David's Stags take on Dean's Newport County.
According to the official records, the Blue Square Bet Premier game will be the first time that twin brothers have faced each other as opposing managers.
But the Mansfield boss admits: "I have to be single-minded.
"I love my brother dearly, but once the whistle blows I want a victory for my club," he told BBC East Midlands Today.
After starting their career's together at Watford in 1986, the Holdsworth's had a fair few duels in their playing days, starting in the 1998/99 season when striker Dean, having made his name with Wimbledon, had the last word for Bolton against centre-half David's Sheffield United, scoring twice in a 2-1 win at Bramall Lane.
David, the elder twin by 40 minutes, then moved to Birmingham and nearly got his revenge the following season when he scored the first goal to help put Blues 3-1 ahead at the Reebok. But Dean once again popped up to have the last word, getting the equaliser in a 3-3 draw.
David's Blues then turned that round with a 2-1 win at St Andrew's later that season. But it was almost three years before they shared a pitch together again when they briefly became team-mates again at Bolton in August 2002.
Big brother David then left St Andrew's, after an initial spell out on loan at Walsall, to spend three months at the Reebok, before drifting into the lower leagues, first with Scarborough, then north of the border at Gretna, where he first took the road into coaching.
Dean, by contrast, was to see out his days at a variety of clubs - Coventry City, Rushden & Diamonds, Derby County, Weymouth, Havant & Waterlooville and Cambridge United - before trying his hand in management.
And, although he commands a Mansfield side going well in third in the Conference, five points and six places ahead of Dean's newly-promoted Newport, David knows only too well what to expect in the opposition dug-out.
"Going up against Dean is a different type of occasion," said the Stags boss.
"We came up against each other on numerous occasions as players in competitive games and the honours are probably even.
"We are both competitive but when it's on the pitch. But we can't do a lot about it now. We just have to hope the players step up to the mark.
"I'm proud of my brother. He's doing very well in his management career but we must be focused on our jobs.
"We have done very well on the road but Newport have a wonderful home record so it will be an intriguing game.
"It's a long season - but we are very pleased with the start we have made."
Twin brothers about to make football history
Dean and David Holdsworth put their different management styles to the test
By Mark Shail September 16, 2010
You wouldn't ordinarily think that this weekend's Blue Square Bet Premier League clash between Newport County and Mansfield Town would be a history-making game.
But it is actually the first time in recorded British football that two twin managers will go head-to-head, with Dean Holdsworth the boss of County and brother David is in charge at Mansfield.
Both enjoyed fine playing careers after being trainees at Watford, with striker Dean making a name for himself at Brentford before wearing the colours of both Wimbledon and Bolton, while defender David played for Sheffield United and Birmingham after leaving Vicarage Road.
And former PFA chairman Dean revealed his brother's career at Watford could have come to a premature end had he not saved David's bacon with some timely intervention in their early days with the Hornets.
Their then youth team manager, Tom Whalley, was a notoriously hard task-master and he would regularly ring round his young players on a Friday night to check they were at home preparing for the games on a Saturday morning.
Dean recalls: “David had gone round to his girlfriend's house and Tom was a big disciplinarian and he rang up to check we were there.
“My mum answered the phone and said, 'It's Tom, he wants to speak to you'. I said 'hello' and he said 'where's David?' I said he was in bed but he said 'go and get him'.
“I went through the motions, went back to the bedroom, came out, rubbed my eyes and said 'hello Tom' in a different voice.
“He said 'that's Deano' but I insisted it wasn't. The thing was we lived in Woodford Green and he was in Watford so there was no way he could have driven round so I just had to stand on it even though he was swearing profusely when he put the phone down. I still don't think Tom knows the truth of it.”
Despite being identical twins, Dean says he and his brother's managerial styles are very different – with David adopting a serious, studious approach whereas Dean is much more laid back.
Dean added: “Sometimes I am a non-conformist to rules. I took my coaching badges reluctantly because I had worked under managers who I wouldn't have thought even had any scouts badges. I like to manage with a cuddle, not a stick.”
Holdsworth not surprised by the impact made by Stags players coming in from the cold
Evening Post, 15Sep2010
DAVID Holdsworth is not surprised by the impact some of his Mansfield Town players have made coming in from the cold.
The Stags boss made four changes to his starting line-up for Saturday's 2-1 win at Southport.
Luke Medley had previously started one game against Kettering, while Kyle Nix had featured as a sub.
But goalscorers Steven Istead and Lee Gregory had not even been included in the matchday squads leading up to the game in the north-west, yet still impressed.
Manager Holdsworth believes the way the team prepares means whoever he calls upon is ready to play their part.
"We always train well, but at the same time it is not my philosophy to over-train, so people stay nice and fresh," he said.
"The players who came into the team on Saturday gave us a platform to build on.
"There were some very positive signs from them. There is more to work on, but we feel that we have the makings of a very good combination."
This weekend Holdsworth will go up against his brother Dean's newly-promoted Newport County side.
That could see the Stags boss tinker again with his personnel and formation as Mansfield go in search of a fourth straight away victory at Spytty Park.
Holdsworth said: "The way we played against Southport was specifically for that game and Newport will be a different proposition.
"They play a similar type of football where they hit a big man in Robbie Matthews and play off him.
"But they have a different type of player in midfield."
Medley has sustained a shin injury and is rated 50-50 for the trip to South Wales.
Nix: Off-field worries have brought Stags closer together
Evening Post, by matt halfpenny
KYLE Nix insists the off-the-field uncertainty over Mansfield Town's future has only strengthened the resolve of the players.
It was recently announced the Stags are to be put up for sale by the club's owners.
That initially sent shock waves through the dressing room, with squad members concerned over their futures.
But they pulled together superbly to win 2-1 at Southport last weekend.
And midfielder Nix believes his team-mates will continue to show that kind of steely determination.
"We have tried to put it to the back of our minds and the gaffer has had a chat to tell us the situation," he said.
"You can't let what is happening off the field affect you and it's important that everyone sticks together, including the fans, who showed their support at Southport.
"We are even tighter knit as a squad now and it is in our interests to do as well as we can because if we stay up there, it might be more attractive to people looking to invest.
"Our careers are effectively on the line and it is going to be a big couple of months."
Brotherly love goes out the window as the Holdsworths prepare to face off
IT'S being billed as the battle of the twins, but David Holdsworth wants Mansfield Town to beat Newport County for the benefit of his club, rather than any personal gratification of getting the better of brother Dean.
There has always been a fierce sibling rivalry from the days they grew up together in East London.
But now the duo are Blue Square Bet Premier managers, with the bigger picture to consider, the Stags' Holdsworth insists that issue is no longer at the forefront of their minds.
The two men have, of course, already taken charge of a game between the two sides in July, a match which Mansfield won 2-0 thanks to two goals from Kyle Perry.
But tomorrow's game at Spytty Park, with league points on offer, sees the stakes upped considerably.
It renders the Holdsworth face-off as nothing more than a sideshow, according to the Mansfield boss.
"You can make as much or as little of it as you want to, but Dean is a professional and so am I and we will go about our jobs in that manner," he said.
"Of course we both want to win, but that would be the same whoever we were playing.
"There will be a bit of banter, of course. We have got a huge amount of respect for what each other is doing.
"There has always been a rivalry, a competitiveness, between us since we first started kicking a ball around.
"We always wanted to be the winner and I think that has made us into winners. It is something that we have instilled in us.
"We are both bad losers and we used to kick lumps out of each other to try to come out on top and it often used to result in a punch-up.
"It was just twins being twins, but it would have taken a brave man to come between us.
"We played in the same school team, district team, Sunday team and in Watford's reserves. But we have gone our separate paths since."
Although Mansfield are third in the table with 16 points while Newport are six places and five points behind, Holdsworth believes the Stags go in as underdogs.
He points to the backing Newport have been given financially and the fact they made such a bright start following promotion.
Holdsworth said: "We didn't expect to be where we are and I think they are favourites going into this game, especially being at home.
"It is a very good start to the season for them, having lost only once, and they have kept the momentum from last season.
"They have also given Dean the chance to bring in players of a high calibre who can compete at this level and I think they will be in or around the play-offs at the end of the season.
"Of course it's frustrating for me as a manager that they can do that, but the same could be said of a lot of managers.
"But you have to give credit to Newport because they have got a very good ethic and are trying to push things on."
One of Mansfield's biggest hurdles to success could be keeping striker Craig Reid quiet.
The Exiles front man has already netted six goals in eight games this season to follow on from a successful campaign last year when he finished top scorer with 24.
"Craig Reid came up to train with us at times last season when we were helping him get over an injury," said Holdsworth.
"He knows Rob Duffy very well and he's a livewire. He likes to play off the shoulder of the big man and knows how to finish a chance."
Holdsworth believes Mansfield can draw little from that previous victory at Newport.
Both sets of players are almost completely different and the hosts have the confidence derived from winning the Blue Square South title at a canter last season.
He said: "They had one season where they perhaps didn't achieve what they wanted to. But they have backed Dean to the hilt.
"So we have to be bold and go out trying to win games on the road, which we have done, showing strength in defence and pace out wide."
Latest | September 2010