BY ROD GILMOUR
Tributes have been paid to Roger Self OBE, Great Britain’s inspirational manager who oversaw Olympic hockey gold in 1988, who died on Monday after a long illness. He was 77.
Self’s involvement with Great Britain Hockey lasted 30 years as a coach and manager, his finest hour coming as he led the men’s side at the Seoul Games to victory over favourites West Germany, 3-2 in the Olympic final.
Stephen Martin, who played at the 1988 Games, said on Monday that Self was an “inspirational leader and friend”, while team-mate Jon Potter said that hockey had “lost a friend and mentor today”.
In 1980, after several decades of decline, Self set about changing the team’s fortunes, with backing from the GB hockey board.
He hired David Whitaker as coach before a bronze medal was garnered by GB men at the 1984 Olympics in Los Angeles and followed, four years later, by an era-defining gold medal in South Korea.
Just how important Self was to the resurgent GB side as the Eighties’ developed was summed up by Sean Kerly, the former England and GB forward, who said in a 2008 interview that “Roger was the key person.”
He added: “He was determined to build us mentally strong and supplied the ‘hockey intelligence’.
Self, an insurance broker and financial consultant, was also manager of the Welsh team for seven years.
He was manager too of Southgate Hockey Club, where he took them to European titles.
In 2004, he became president of the GB Hockey board and was a technical offical at the International Hockey Federation.
The GB board reluctantly accepted Self’s resignation in 2007 on the grounds of ill health.
Self was awarded an OBE for the GB team’s stunning Seoul success.
However, for the last 30 years he had campaigned, along with captain Richard Dodds, for equal recognition in the Queen’s honours.
Three players received honours, but 13 of the Seoul squad have yet to be recognised.
“They were all amateurs back then and I would like to see equality and every player to be honoured,” Self told The Hockey Paper in January.
Roger Self was born on 10.06.1939. He died on Monday, aged 77