In a world of cliche, Sean O'Driscoll's approach to media is a breath of fresh air
Sean O'Driscoll's media persona has come under close scrutiny since his appointment as head coach at Bristol City last week.
If those who preceded him in the Ashton Gate hot-seat were happy to proffer catchy sound-bites and seek refuge behind the kind of spin that would have made even New Labour blush, the 55-year-old Midlander has already shown he is an altogether different animal.
First impressions can be misleading and O'Driscoll has been variously described by those in the media as "dour" and "lacking personality" during a managerial career that has taken in AFC Bournemouth, Doncaster Rovers and Nottingham Forest.
Quietly spoken and even taciturn, he would struggle to compete with Wigan boss Roberto Martinez when it comes to charm and he is clearly no match for the likes of Real Madrid manager Jose Mourinho in the charisma stakes.
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But let me make one thing absolutely clear; Sean O'Driscoll is prepared to give a straight answer to a straight question. And in an age when far too many football managers and players hide behind platitudes and hackneyed responses - and are allowed to get away with it - he represents a welcome breath of fresh air.
Never mind that he comes across as tetchy and sometimes even mildly exasperated when conducting media interviews, City's new boss responds to searching questions in a manner seldom evinced by previous managers Keith Millen and Derek McInnes.
Spend time chatting with O'Driscoll and it quickly becomes apparent he loves talking about the game, and is prepared to do so at length. Here is a man who has his own philosophy of how football should be played, someone who is passionate about the game and capable of enunciating his thoughts both cogently and eloquently.
The interviews he gave on the day he was unveiled were revealing. Once away from the cameras and microphones and closeted with a handful of scribes in the media lounge at Ashton Gate, he opened up in a way that recalled erstwhile Robins boss Steve Coppell.
Now City fans may have their own opinion of a man who walked out on the club after just three months in charge, but you felt you were learning something whenever you spoke to Coppell.
It is the same with O'Driscoll, who is clearly happy to answer questions he feels warrant a serious response.
His approach to football differs from just about every other manager I have dealt with during 26 years as a written journalist and discussing issues with a man who is eminently prepared to expound upon his theories and thoughts is already proving challenging and enlightening in equal measure.
He answered questions politely, coherently and intelligently, providing journalists with a real insight into his methods as well as notebooks full of stories and anecdotes.
Certainly, he is sufficiently experienced and self-assured not to succumb to the paranoia that became the hallmark of more than one manager I have worked with while covering Bristol City.
He has been around long enough to know the media has a job to do and, providing he is not assailed by inane questions, is prepared to co-operate in that.
O'Driscoll's manner may appear brusque at times and his habit of speaking plainly may even offend those with liberal sensibilities, but what he has to say is, more often than not, worth listening to.
Surely that is something to be welcomed by all Bristol City fans who feel they have been short-changed by glib answers for far too long.