Nixon: “What the fox represents is huge”

Paul Nixon feels that the vast experience he has soaked up from many coachers, managers and administrators will prove to be invaluable in the latest chapter of his career.

The 47-year-old will therefore look to take parts of his learnings from each person he played under, as well as stamping his own mark on the role. 

Not only has Nixon played county cricket for many years, he also been in international dressing rooms with England and has knowledge of coaching abroad in the bank with Jamaica Tallawahs in the Caribbean Premier League.

He said: “The late Mike Turner signed me in the late 1980s and he was brilliant running this club off the field,” said Nixon. 

“Another with a great influence on me in my early days at Leicestershire was Bobby Simpson. He was a great coach that I bonded well with; a great motivator and a brilliant trainer. The intensity he brought to practice was off the chart and taught me a lot about that side of the game. 

“Jack Birkenshaw has a great love of the game and a sharp eye not only for a player, but also their character. His skills in that department were second to none and he allowed players to have fun and express themselves. 

“Tim Boon had played here and brought a high-class, holistic approach with technical coaching and good communication to Leicestershire when returning as a coach, and that was great. 

“I also worked with John Wright at Kent and Duncan Fletcher with England, and they both had great ideas and theories on the game.

“For me it's about trying to reproduce the bits of magic they brought but also bringing my own personality on top of that, which is so important. 

“We have some good coaches here, but there has been a lot of change so it's time to bring some stability, create calm again, let the dust settle and move forward at the right pace.”

Nixon is hungry for success but accepts that good things in sport, like life, will develop from strong foundations of hard work, discipline, organisation, communication, understanding and, perhaps most importantly, patience.

For all of it to come together, Nixon thinks that it is important that players understand the history of the club, like he was taught from senior pros when joining the club.  

Nixon wore the fox on his blazer for more years than most but whether you have it on for a few games for several hundred, he wants everyone to know what it represents. 

“We all want to be successful but I also have to manage expectation levels,” said Nixon. “I've been fortunate to do a lot of winning both as a player and as a coach, but we have to be realistic. 

“We have been at the bottom of the league for the last couple of years and frustration can quickly kick in if things don’t go your way, but it's about the journey that we're going to create. 

“The Leicestershire vision, legacy, and higher purpose is something that we will talk about to the players. I want to create something at Leicestershire that will go beyond our lifetimes at the club. It needs to be instilled at Leicestershire for the next couple of decades.

“It’s about culture for me – and what the fox represents is huge. It meant so much to me and all of the players when I started at the club like David Gower, Jonathan Agnew, James Whitaker, Peter Willey, Les Taylor, Chris Lewis, Phillip DeFreitas and Lloyd Tennant. These guys were passionate and when we lost, it really hurt. 

“I still clearly remember when we lost down here after a long unbeaten run at home, we hadn’t lost for about four years. We lost on a dodgy wicket, I think it was against Derbyshire, and we were all absolutely distraught. 

“A lot of the guys I played with, who now live away from the area, message me about what is happening, what is going on. They are still watching and caring. 

“Even though those players have long finished their playing careers here, they are still a fox at heart. Although we all only ever have that Leicestershire shirt with the fox on it for a few years, it's important that we take care of it. We must respect the past and leave the shirt in a better place for future generations.”

* In the fourth and final part of our interview with Paul Nixon, the new Head Coach talks about his plans for the future.