by Noel Draper

As a ten year old boy, all those years ago, I dreamed of two things. Obviously I wasn’t a greedy kid, I had been taught by my parents well, so all I wanted, when I had been tucked up all safe and sound at night, was to become an astronaut so I could view the Earth from space and to score the winning goal in the F.A Cup for Manchester City. With a diving header. From the edge of the box. As aspirations go my ten year old mind thought that they were pretty achievable life goals.  Looking back I was completely wrong, of course, as I got a nose bleed standing on the first rung of a step ladder and had what one of my friends later on in life described as “A fifty pence foot”.

As a ten year old boy, all those years ago, Paul Clement’s Dad committed suicide by poisoning himself with weed killer.

His Dad was ex-England and QPR full back, Dave Clement. A fantastic player, who progressed through Rangers’ youth ranks, to make his début in the season that they won the League Cup from the old Third Division. Dave went on to play five times for England until his tragic demise at the tender age of just thirty four. He had two sons, the afore mentioned Paul, and Neil, who went on to become a professional footballer with some distinction for West Bromwich Albion.

Paul, with his obvious family background, also tried his hand at playing football, but didn’t reach the heady heights that his late father had or younger brother would achieve, and so, at the age of just twenty three, he took up coaching and joined the back room staff at Chelsea. It was here, whilst still in full time employment as a P.E teacher, that he studied for, and got, a UEFA ‘A’ coaching licence at the relatively young age of twenty seven. With this qualification in hand he joined Fulham before switching back to Chelsea and working his way up the coaching ladder before becoming first team coach, under Guus Hiddink and then Carlo Ancelotti, where he helped Chelsea to win two F.A Cup’s, a Premier League and one Charity Shield before switching for a brief spell at Blackburn Rovers in 2011.

When Ancelotti took charge of the Paris Saint-Germain revolution in 2012, it was Paul Clement that he turned to for coaching assistance. This partnership proved to be a very successful one with PSG romping to the Ligue One title, beating Marseille into second place by a whopping twelve points. That kind of domination, albeit helped with a hefty dose of Qatarian money, doesn’t go unnoticed in world football and when Real Madrid snapped up Ancelotti in 2013 Clement quietly accepted the assistant coaches job. A Champions League, a Copa del Rey, a UEFA Super Cup and a FIFA Club World Cup winners medal followed in their first year together and, at the time of writing, Real Madrid are in the hunt for the Spanish League, where they trail Barcelona by just three points, and are in with a shout of reaching their second Champions League final in a row.

As assistant coaches go, Paul’s record is up there with the best, which is why, after fake Dutch Manager, Steve McClaren, revealed that he turned down the chance to manage Newcastle United for their final three matches of the season, the English papers started to report that the Geordie perennial under achievers had approached the Real Madrid coach with the view to him taking over as manager.

Since Paul has publicly stated that what he wants to do next is to become a head coach, and also work in the Premier League again, you can understand why Newcastle have supposedly approached him. It remains to be seen if the man who has coached such players as Ronaldo, Ibrahimovic and Bale would want to swap it all for Colback, Janmaat and Taylor and, probably with this in mind, he has wisely decided to wait until the end of the season, presumably to see if the free falling club manage to stay in the Premier League, before making his decision.

Still, if one man dreams of becoming a Premier League manager, then who am I to argue?