Reid thriving on the pressure at Plymouth
Peter Reid was in Doha watching a World Cup match on television when he received the call asking whether he would be interested in becoming Plymouth Argyle's new manager.
The 54-year-old cancelled plans to head on to Dubai and instead flew back to London to meet representatives from the Devon club, including chairman Sir Roy Gardner. Not long afterwards, he was offered the job and duly accepted.
I wanted to know why Reid had left a very good and relatively secure job as assistant manager at Premier League outfit Stoke to accept a position at a club that needed overhauling after the disappointment of relegation to League One last season. He replied instantly - and his answer encapsulated the no-nonsense style he brings to management.
Reid says he enjoys the responsibility of being the man in charge
"I had a great job at Stoke but I wanted to be top man again," said Reid. "It's the way you are made. Some people are coaches and some are managers. There is a lot of work to do here but that doesn't scare me and I will not shirk the decisions that need making."
Reid, who has signed a two-year deal, was as good as his word on Saturday when he hauled off striker Rory Fallon after 37 minutes of the 1-1 draw with Carlisle. Fallon, who played for New Zealand at the World Cup, was replaced by Rory Patterson, who was signed from Irish side Glentoran in the summer shortly before Reid's arrival.
The substitute eventually struck Plymouth's equaliser in injury time, prompting this response from Reid when I asked him about the decision to withdraw Fallon. "It was nothing personal but everyone must realise the most important thing is the group of players, not individuals."
Reid stated several times during our interview that his ambition is to take Plymouth back into the Championship but his side is currently a work in progress. The manager still has not decided who he wants to keep and who can leave, giving most of his squad an opportunity to prove their worth. Steven MacLean, for example, ended last season on loan at Aberdeen but has come in from the cold, starting all three of Plymouth's games so far.
"I don't think we are bad at the back but we do lack goals and need to sign a striker," stated Reid. Tellingly, the number nine shirt at the club is vacant. "This is a difficult job," he added. "I have got to cut the wage bill, wheel and deal to change things around. Some of the lads are on big money for this level and it is difficult getting them out."
The likes of Damien Johnson (Huddersfield), Simon Walton (Sheffield United) and Chris Barker (Southend) have already left the club either permanently or on loan, while new faces have come in, including Dean Parrett and David Button on loan from Tottenham.
Reid, who is expecting a lot more activity before the end of August, comes across as genuinely upbeat when he talks about handling the pressure of being back in the cut and thrust of management. If nothing else, it sounds as though he is making the sort of tough decisions that suggest he is the type of "proven and experienced" manager that Gardner targeted after a forgettable 2009-10 season.
Reid brings a fresh sense of perspective to the position, although he was not the board's first choice. I understand that both Paul Jewell, once the manager of Bradford, Sheffield Wednesday, Wigan and Derby, and former Cheltenham, Burnley and Notts County boss Steve Cotterill, now in charge of Portsmouth, were sounded out before Plymouth approached Reid, while George Burley was also interviewed.
Perhaps best known for his seven years in charge of Sunderland, Reid's last managerial role in England was an eight-month spell as manager of Coventry that ended in January 2005 with the club 20th in the Championship. After that, he worked largely as a pundit before taking charge of the Thailand national side in September 2008.
Reid rates his experience as boss of the War Elephants, now coached by Bryan Robson, as both interesting and educational. He fondly recalls victories over North Korea and New Zealand, while he admits he would consider trying to sign some Thai players but for inevitable work permit problems.
When Reid was out of management, he furthered his knowledge and understanding by visiting current England coach Fabio Capello at Juventus as well as spending time at Blackburn, Bolton and Manchester United.
Reid's first managerial role was as player-boss of Manchester City
As far as his understanding of League One goes, his nine months at Stoke took Reid to several clubs in the division last season, including Huddersfield, Leeds and Oldham. He has also watched countless DVDs of League One teams in action to enhance his knowledge.
I am told Reid's training methods are varied, stimulating and show an understanding of the latest methods and techniques. His appointment might not have met with widespread approval from Plymouth fans but the team beat League One favourites Southampton in their opening fixture and Reid has impressed with his straight-talking, honest style.
I get the feeling that Pilgrims supporters are starting to believe that Reid might have what it takes to overhaul their squad and craft a united and balanced group of players.
It is almost 20 years now since Reid entered management, when he was appointed player-boss at Manchester City following the departure of Howard Kendall. City finished the 1990-91 season in fifth place, one place above neighbours United. A lot has changed since then but Reid is hoping that many of the same principles will bring success to his latest role.
"Football has evolved but the basics are the same," he said. "If you lose the ball, you have to win it back. When have it, you keep it. It is still a game of 11 versus 11."