With Owen Coyle set to be named as the new head coach of the Houston Dynamo this week, the MLS club’s squad are excited for his arrival.
Houston, who finished in a disappointing eight-place in the Eastern Conference this season, have been searching for a new coach since Dominic Kinnear opted to leave for the San Jose Earthquakes in October after nine seasons with the club.
Coyle has since been interviewed multiple times for the role and is now said to have signed a three-year contract at BBVA Compass Stadium, after arriving in Houston on Friday to negotiate the final details of the deal.
The ex-Bolton Wanderers manager has one notable tie to the franchise, having made former fan favourite Stuart Holden his first signing upon joining the Trotters in the winter of 2010, and captain Brad Davis has used that to his advantage ahead of his future boss’s arrival.
“Talking with Stuart, he was definitely a guy the players loved to play for, a guy that the players really respected,” he told MLSSoccer.com.
“For me, as a player, those are the things you love to hear; a coach that’s going to work for the players and have the players’ thoughts first and foremost in his mind. It’s a positive name I’ve heard talking to other guys in terms of players that have played for him.”
Having lined up against Coyle’s sides in England before moving to the Dynamo in the summer of 2012, Giles Barnes is perhaps the most qualified member of the squad to speak on his credentials, and the ex-Derby County midfielder believes he is right man for the job.
“He’s been successful. I want success at the club,” he said. “He’s known for developing young players. [English national teamers] Jack Wilshere and Daniel Sturridge played for him and you see where they are now and he’s a well-proven manager in England.
“Whatever style the new manager, whether it is Owen or someone else, brings into the team, as long as it’s successful and I’m holding a trophy at the end of the season, it doesn’t matter.”
Centre-back David Horst also added: “I think it speaks to the ambition of the club and to this new way they’re bringing people in and starting something new here."
Coyle has been out of football since leaving Wigan Athletic last December less than six months into the job, following three straight home losses, but was a candidate to take over from Jose Riga at Blackpool earlier this season.
The 48-year-old Scot first made a name for himself in management after leading an unfancied Burnley side to the Premier League in 2009, before making the controversial decision to quit the Clarets for Lancashire rivals Bolton in the middle of the 2009-10 season.
He would lead the club to a 14th-place top-flight finish in his first full season at the then-Reebok Stadium, but suffered relegation the following campaign, before a poor start to the 2012-13 Championship season saw his contract terminated in October 2012.