by Ali Ahsan
Earlier this week FPDC spoke with Jimmy Shan, the former head coach at EPL side West Bromwhich Albion and currently managing National League side Solihull Moors.
The 41 year old Birmingham native and UEFA Pro License holder candidly talked about his footballing career and his desire to keep improving as a coach and manager as the years progress.
Shan, whose grandfather is Pakistani, spoke fondly of his heritage being a part of his identity and who he is. After injuries as a Walsall FC trainee denied him a playing career, Shan took up part-time youth coaching with local side Birmingham City FC before joining Midlands rivals West Bromwich Albion full-time as part of their academy staff.
Shan also became the Baggies’ first team coach under caretaker manager Darren Moore in 2018 and was on the touchline in April 2018 as the relegation-threatend side famously beat Jose Mourinho’s Manchester United away at Old Trafford.
After becoming caretaker manager himself during West Brom’s attempt to return to EPL in 2019, Shan left the side after losing out in the EFL Championship playoffs. A brief stint at Kidderminster Harriers saw Shan move to Solihull Moors FC in 2020. COVID-19 disruptions brought the 2019-20 National League season to an early close with The Moors missing out on a promotion playoff spot for the EFL League Two.
Shan fondly recalled working with the three Nabi brothers – Adil, Samir, and Rahis – when they were promising prospects at WBA’s academy. Shan considers current OFI Crete starter Adil Nabi to easily be EFL Championship quality and hopes Pakistan internationals Samir and Rahis can restart their football in the lower divisions after struggling with injuries in recent years.
On being asked if he would consider a Pakistan NT coaching spot in future, Jimmy Shan expressed his willingness to consider any serious offer a few years down the line and felt it would be a great way to honour his own Pakistani heritage.
Shan pulled no punches on the whole diaspora vs home-grown debate and said any football team, including Pakistan, needs to select the best eligible players regardless of where they play. He also stressed the need for regular camps and friendlies to bring a cohesive identity among players when playing for the national team.
Currently, Jimmy Shan is determined to help Solihull Moors for another promotion push for the 2020-21 season and is also focused on being close to his wife and young kids at home.