A former Yeovil Town player-manager who has been appointed as assistant coach at one of Europe’s biggest clubs said the opportunity was too good to turn down.
Steve Rutter took the helm at Huish Park during one of the club’s most testing periods, guiding the Glovers through a spell of extreme financial hardship.
The talented defender kept Yeovil in the Conference during the early 1990s despite the club having to resort to half time bucket collections during a rocky start to life at their then new home.
The Glovers’ hotseat marked the start of a respected coaching career and Rutter has spent most of the past decade as the Football Association’s coach education manager.
But having mentored some of the game’s finest players and coaches through their UEFA-licenced badges, Rutter is now returning to the dugout with Greek giants Panathinaikos.
The 50-year-old former Barwick and Stoford chairman said: “It’s not the first time I’ve worked abroad, I spent some time in the United States and then I worked in club football in Trinidad for a season.
“I think quite often English coaches turn down the chance to work abroad because we are home birds and don’t like the disruption.
“It’s a huge club with a massive tradition in European football, along with Olympiakos. It was such a good opportunity I couldn’t turn it down. My wife was very supportive and also thought it was something I should do.”
Rutter arrives at the Olympic Stadium in Athens with To Trifylli in a state of transition. Last season they went through four managers on their way to sixth in the Greek Super League, failing to qualify for a European competition for the first time in23 years.
However, he said he had every faith that the club could reverse fortunes, adding: “It is a massive club and I have known the people for a long time and know them well. I know they have got great personal standards so I am happy to go and work with them.
“A couple of the senior coaching staff that have just been appointed at Panathinaikos came to England for their development.
“The new manager is Yiannis Anastasiou and I took him for his UEFA B Licence, then his UEFA A and started him on his UEFA Pro Licence. I’ve had a working relationship with him for about seven years.
“The academy manager is Yiannis Samaras - Georgios’s dad – and he came through the system as well. I’ve built up a working relationship with them over time really and it just coincided with Yiannis Anastasiou being named as manager.”
See tomorrow’s Western Gazette for the full interview with Steve Rutter