After a playing career which saw him play in the Football League, former Swans midfielder David D’Auria is now managing in Wales’ third division.
Some ex-professionals tend to take a smooth transition into coaching and management, but for D’Auria he completely left the game and took a completely different career route.
But now he’s back in the game and has big ambitions to achieve the UEFA A Licence, which is one level below the Pro Licence.
“For myself it’s the first time I’ve managed a club and really enjoying the moment after retiring from pro football I had to forget football and concentrate on learning my new trade as a gas engineer.
I can now say after 15 years, I’ve got my buzz for football back and will possibly look to take the A licence coaching qualification.”
D’Auria is managing Garden Village, a side close to where he played during his professional career and now he’s putting it back into the community.
Rather than departing the club after the resignation of the clubs manager, D’Auria stayed and put his name into the hat for the role.
He was a part of David Rimmer’s backroom staff last season as they staved off the threat of relegation but since then they have continued to grow and are being considered amongst some of the best sides in the division, sitting fourth.
“Last season we almost got relegated So I didn’t want to leave the club after such a poor season, I was very passionate about staying with Garden Village.
This year I seen a our club go from a miserable environment to a club that buzzing with excitement and that’s down to great relationships and that’s not just the first team thats every team and all levels, that’s what local football is about.
Hopefully having an opportunity to prove I could bring better success with pretty much the same players.”
After taking on the role in the post-season, the 47-year-old worked hard in pre-season to implement his plans, as well as bringing in his own staff, where Ashley Richards and Kevin Murphy have been influential in helping create a new structure at Stafford Common.
With eleven games played in Division Two by the Villagers, the former midfielder never envisaged making such a start to the season, praising his players for buying into what he wants from his players.
“No, I didn’t expect such a great start, but that’s a credit to the players for taking on instructions and executing our game plan.”
“We’ve created an incredible team spirit here, all the players are willing to run through brick walls for each other.” said a proud and passionate D’Auria.
Village has shocked many so far this season and has recorded wins over two of the top three, after beating Caldicot Town in recent weeks, as well as claiming victory at Pontypridd Town’s USW Sports Park.
However, D’Auria will have to work with the small squad that he has at his disposal and is hopeful that he can continue to choose from those players, as injuries and suspensions could become a factor.
“Open and honestly I don’t know but I hope so, I’ve seen enough of my players to know that with their abilities and attitudes we are capable of beating any team in our league, we just can’t afford injuries or suspensions as we have a small squad.”
Having been a professional player, the former Neath midfielder has been able to bring what he learnt as a player into his methods of coaching, where he is eager to make the current crop of the players the best they can become.
“I like to believe that I’m doing things at Garden Village as professional as I can, so our training sessions are fun but reflect our game plan and of course man management is critical I make sure all my players are and encouraged to challenge themselves to bring more to the team.
After a twenty-year playing career, D’Auria’s steps into management has been helped by what he learnt from his days as a manager, D’Auria namedrops Billy Ayre, Brian Laws and Terry Yorath as the men who shaped him to who he is today.
A manager that inspired me was Billy Ayre who was a tough but fair man. He gave that arm around the shoulder if I did well but you knew what was coming if you didn’t perform. Terry Yorath was a tough taskmaster and Brian Laws was an in your face type boss. What I will say is that I had good relationships with all of my managers.”
D’Auria admitted himself he wasn’t the most technically gifted player but through hard work and determination, earned the captaincy of both Hull City and Scunthorpe United, highlighting his dedication as to why he got to where he did with the Tigers.
“I want players to express themselves on the pitch but recognise that hard work comes first. I wasn’t the greatest midfielder but I became the captain of Hull City and Scunthorpe because every game I emptied my tank and gave everything to the team.
The players certainly are giving me everything they’ve got. I’m delighted they are feeling some success from it.
(Featured Image: Garden Village)