TEDDY Sheringham won a treble with Manchester United, played at two World Cups, sits ninth on the Premier League’s all-time goal-scorers’ list and has dipped his toe in coaching at English League Two club Stevenage.
Michael Bridges played opposite Sheringham in the Premier League, is a former Jets captain and assistant coach, works as an A-League analyst and has lived in the Hunter for seven years.
Now the former top-flight strikers want to take the reins of the Newcastle Jets.
Bridges confirmed on Tuesday his interest in “continuing the job” that Scott Miller started and “bringing some stability” to the club.
A week after the sudden dismissal of Miller and assistant Luciano Trani, chief executive Lawrie McKinna is compiling a shortlist of six candidates and expects to begin interviews on Thursday.
Bridges worked at the club under Phil Stubbins but resigned two days after the coach controversially sacked the remainder of the support staff.
The 38-year-old has since completed his coaching A licence and has been employed as an expert analyst for Fox Sports, SBS, Channel Nine and Optus.
“Breaking down games, whether it is the Premier League or A-League, keeps you on your toes,” Bridges said. “I have also gone to a host of different coaching courses, shared ideas and learned new things.”
Bridges and Sheringham are clients of ie:sports management company.
“I’m not going to hide the fact that I put my name forward for the job,” Bridges said. “Whether I have the experience or haven’t, I’ll back myself all the way.
“Then an opportunity came up to join Teddy as a package. It would be silly not to want to work under somebody with his experience and pedigree.
“The Premier League is massive in China, and having two ex-Premier League players might appeal to the Ledman Group, or it might not.”
Sheringham, who played until he was nearly 41, is relatively new to the coaching scene. He made his debut as a manager with English League Two club Stevenage last season but was let go in February after recording just seven wins from 33 games.
Sheringham, 50, most recently worked as a strikers coach at West Ham.
“He has been a gaffer over there and has worked under the best manager in the world in Alex Ferguson,” Bridges said. “There is no doubt that you learn a lot from guys like that. I have spoken to some of the boys at Stevenage. They say he has a good tactical mind and his management is superb. His door is always open and he tries to let the lads play with a smile on his face. You can be a tactical genius, but if you haven’t got the dressing room behind you, then the team won’t perform.”
The Jets improved from 10th to eighth under Miller, and with a settled squad, Bridges is adamant the trend upwards can continue.
“Scott was doing a great job,” he said.
“The players, too, have done an amazing job. What has happened, happens in football. The lads have to maintain focus. What they have been doing has been working. They have belief now in the club.”
Bridges said his knowledge of the league and the Hunter region would make for an easy transition for Sheringham.
“I can nest him in, help him understand what the region is all about,” he said.
Bridges, who played at Sunderlan, Leeds and Newcastle United, opposed Sheringham when the latter was at Tottenham and West Ham United.
“Teddy was a clever footballer,” Bridges said. “If he has a smart brain as a player, you know he has it as a gaffer.”