Short hungry for success at Ferencvaros
When I heard Craig Short had been appointed coach of Hungarian side Ferencvaros, I immediately thought the former centre-half would make a good topic for a blog.
As far as I was aware, the ex-Scarborough, Notts County, Derby, Everton, Blackburn and Sheffield United man had retired from the game for good after leaving the Blades in 2007.
A brief internet search revealed he had started a sailing business around Lake Windermere, which further piqued my interest.
Just what had lured him to Budapest?
Alas, my request for an interview was blocked, the PR company in London I was eventually put in touch with informing me that things work differently in Hungary.
Short (centre) is hoping for a top-six finish at Ferencvaros this season
I didn't really think I was asking all that much and was miffed to say the least. By way of a compromise, I was offered the chance to send some questions by email. The PR man in London assured me the press department at Ferencvaros would put them all to Short and let me have a transcript of his answers.
I wasn't convinced. You don't get much feel for a subject without speaking to them. You cannot ask a follow-up question either if you feel they have said something of interest.
Still, I fired off a load of questions and forgot about it, especially when my wife went into labour a month early.
When I finally returned to work, I was pleasantly surprised to find a 2,400-word document sitting in my inbox. Not only did it contain answers to my questions, there were also several photos of Short and some of his signings at Ferencvaros.
One of those is former Stockport, Leeds and Crewe striker Anthony Elding, who has found the net six times since his arrival in January and is now the club's second-highest scorer this season.
Former Port Vale man Sam Stockley and Tommy Doherty, best known for his spells at Bristol City and Wycombe, have also strengthened the British connection at Fradi, as the club is widely known.
The club is owned by Sheffield United chairman Kevin McCabe and was managed by Bobby Davison prior to the appointment of Short.
It was former Guiseley boss Davison who originally invited Short to join him in a coaching capacity in September 2008.
"It was a very difficult decision as my two girls are in England and being away from them does not get any easier," said Short.
"But it was too good an opportunity to miss. I look at myself now and think how lucky I am to have a job in football while many of my former team-mates are still out of work."
Short, who always struck me as an honest, down-to-earth footballer, the sort of player who would stand his round in the pub and might feel a touch embarrassed if someone asked for his autograph, knew next to nothing about Ferencvaros before his move.
He phoned former Blades team-mate and Ferencvaros striker Paul Shaw for information and also started reading up on the club.
What he discovered surprised him. Ferencvaros, in his words, were "basically the Manchester United of Hungarian football", having won their domestic title 28 times and reached the European Cup Winners' Cup final in 1975.
However, the club had fallen on hard times. When Short arrived there in September 2008, they were in the second tier.
They won promotion last season with a record number of points but Davison left in November after a series of disappointing results. Short was given the opportunity to succeed him, initially on a short-term basis before his permanent appointment.
"Bobby was a massive help when I arrived because I was new to coaching," added Short. "He was very cool and supportive, so it was sad to see him move on."
The two men spent a lot of time together - there was one weekend last year when they watched five English games on satellite - so Short had a slight feeling of trepidation about replacing Davison.
Yet the 41-year-old knew it was too good a chance to turn down.
Davison's tenure ended with supporters registering their frustration in a very physical way. Then Short's opening match in charge, against Diosgyor on 1 November, was abandoned with Fradi trailing 3-1 after a minority of the club's fans rioted on the pitch.
Elding has been a success since his move to Hungary in January
"The media and fans of Hungarian football are very demanding," concluded Short. "But since that match, the response of the supporters has been good, particularly over the last few games."
His side are undefeated in their seven fixtures since the season resumed after the winter break, although six of these have been draws. They will have to find the winning habit on a more regular basis over the final eight games if they are to achieve Short's aim of a top-six finish.
At least the signing of Hungarian full-back Csaba Csizmadia in January has gone down well with the fans, while the manager has been impressed with the performances of Serbian centre half Djordje Tutoric since he arrived during the winter break.
Short has found the style of football more defensive that he experienced as a player in England, with away teams often content to play with 10 men behind the ball and hope for a goal against the run of play. But he has been impressed with the technical level of home-grown players.
Rarely recognised while coach, Short's promotion to manager has resulted in regular appearances on television. Supporters often approach him now, too, mostly to chat in English, demonstrating their excellent knowledge of the English Premier League.
On my one and, so far, only visit to Budapest, it would be fair to say I found communication to be an issue, but most of the players at Fradi speak English while Short himself is trying to learn Hungarian.
He clearly enjoys living in Budapest, too. He describes Hungary's capital as cultured and cosmopolitan, with friendly people but a more relaxed pace of life than England. He has even been able to partially satisfy his desire to sail at nearby Lake Balaton.
The Yorkshireman is contracted until June and plans to sit down with the club at the end of the season to discuss his future. But, in his answers to me, it became clear that, as manager of Fradi, it is unwise to look too far ahead.
In my final question, I asked Short what is the most interesting thing about being manager of Ferencvaros?
He replied it was not knowing what was going to happen next. That, I suspect, is why he left the tranquility of Windermere for the uncertainty and excitement of Budapest.