When you watch lots of games of football at all different levels, you see match officials with a different style of refereeing, you have some who you can have a good laugh with and talk to, you have the opposite which just aren’t approachable but you know where you stand. The same is said about captains and players, some as a match official you can have a laugh with.
What about managers or coaches? They all have personalities – or some will ask “do they”?
They have a lot of responsibility on their shoulders and even more so in community clubs. These clubs often have a grassroots set up behind them which means their youth players might be ball boys or girls, club mascots or good old attending the game and watching their first team play with full aspirations to reach the first team.
A few weeks ago, I watched a coaching team who didn’t say too much, but they coached with questions: “where is the space” “head up and what do you see” or “unlucky right idea” – this was great to hear. They also didn’t agree with the referee’s decisions, there was no shouting at the match official, but when the assistant referee was at half way, it was a quiet chat about what each other had seen, no animosity even if they did not agree.
It was no surprise that this team’s players were calm on the pitch and didn’t get involved, they may have questioned a decision but they certainly didn’t berate the referee. What they did was play football, as a match official I have never known a team who played the referee actually win the game.
As a manager I was this type of manager and knew why the fair play award sat proudly in my house even on a league winning season.
However the opposite of this is the manager who berates his team, abuses officials and shouts absolute nothing constructive. Makes substitutions to influence a game without real thought of tactics but they do have something, and this is something which all mangers have some show it in different ways but they normally have passion, their passion however is if they use the “F” word it will get a much better outcome. The “f” word is so good, even shouting it in a sentence towards a match official, ensures the referee will change their mind. They are the ones who shout at the striker “what the “f” was that?” and expect a positive response. “Why the “f” didn’t you get on the end of that, if you’re not got to do it, I’ll find someone who will.”
This brilliant style of man management works with the right players, but how can it work at a community club. The players who this works on, may not be the most skilful but they tackle hard, will intimidate the match official and will probably cost the club money in fines.
If you are building a club with a first team for your U8s, 9s, and 10’s to aspire to, is this a team as a parent you would want your child to be a part of?
Creating the right atmosphere off the pitch as well as on it is key for success, with the right managers, coaches and structure from the little kickers to the first team will ensure club security, allowing a playing budget to be realistic, and connect with the local community and the future fan base.
Written by Simon Hall