Doncaster Rovers: How Grant McCann and Cliff Byrne went from training ground bust-ups to management
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It might be fair to say Grant McCann and his long-time assistant boss Cliff Byrne didn’t instantly hit it off.
After six years of working together the pair are often referred to as a duo: Grant and Cliff.
But it wasn’t always so rosy.
It was January 2008.
“We were a little bit different in terms of the way we thought about things and the game,” admits McCann, who may or may not be putting it mildly.
"We had many arguments, all the time.”
Training sessions would provide frequent flashpoints between the men from opposite sides of the Irish border.
"We used to argue all the time in training,” reveals McCann, who represented Northern Ireland on 39 occasions.
"The first time I signed for the club I lost a runner in my first training session and Cliff Cliff called me a big-time so-and-so and we went head to head.
"But we were like that all the time.
"Even in games we were at each other; if he didn’t pass me the ball and whipped one down the line – like he used to all the time – and if I lost the ball he was at me.
"We just had that chemistry that nothing was ever personal. We were always good friends off the pitch and had a real desire to win.”
McCann and Byrne first worked together as coaches during their original spell at Doncaster in the 2018/19 season.
They teamed up again at Hull and Peterborough before joining forces once more this summer.
"We both had that number-one goal that we wanted to win but we had different ways of doing it, different ways of thinking,” says McCann of their partnership, which is beginning to bear fruit again with Rovers steadily moving up the League Two table towards the top seven.
"I think that’s why it lends itself to us being together over the last six years.”
Doncaster host their League Two rivals Accrington Stanley in the FA Cup first round on Saturday.