IT might be an unfamiliar job, but there was an all too familiar feeling for Sol Campbell on his debut in the dugout.
The England legend, 44, experienced four penalty shoot-out defeats at major tournaments.
Getty – Contributor5 Sol Campbell slaps hands with Macclesfield player Callum Evansas Newcastle triumphed on penalties at St.Jame's Park
And Campbell’s bow as a boss ended in exactly the same fashion last night – even if a last-32 Checkatrade Trophy tie against Newcastle Under-21s hardly ranks with a World Cup quarter-final.
When Campbell was last at St James’ Park, he started for the Toon in a 3-1 Premier League win over Liverpool in front of 50,137 fans.
But last night, he was beginning his managerial career with only 1,126 supporters in the stands.
Campbell, 44, had waited six years for this moment having called time on his illustrious playing career in 2012.
Getty – Contributor5 Sol Campbell spent a lot of the match yelling out basic orders- but his start as Macclesfield boss had a familiar end for the veteran of England shootout failures
Getty – Contributor5 Sol Campbell suffered defeat in his first game as manager of Macclesfield – but will be far more concerned about keeping the strugglers up in League Two
Yet when he hung up his boots, he would surely never have envisaged starting out as a gaffer in a deserted stadium against a team of kids.
It has been a week since Campbell was appointed at Macclesfield – the worst side in the country’s top four divisions.
He was in the stands for the Silkmen’s League Two victory at Exeter last Tuesday.
But this was his first game in charge – back at the club where he finished as a player.
Other than the stadium, however, nothing will have felt normal for a man who dined on English football’s top table and was, in his own words, “one of the best players in the world”.
AP:Associated Press5 Sol Campbell, pictured left alongside Darius Vassell, suffered three England shootout losses, including this Euro 2004 exit against Portugal in Lisbon
But these are the sort of nights Campbell must get used to now.
It was no surprise to see that the fashion conscious ex-Arsenal favourite will not be a tracksuit manager.
He took his seat at St James’ wearing a blazer, shirt and tie, albeit with a coat protecting him from the December chill.
With Campbell’s priority being to try and preserve Macclesfield’s Football League status, he selected a second-string side for this clash.