Despite His White Boots

Football, football, football and, if the mood takes me, more football.

Saturday, January 14, 2006

Take It Like A Man

What are the skills you have to master to be a top football manager ? Talent-spotting, man-management, tactical awareness and motivational skills ? Or the art of spin-doctoring after the event ?

I'm beginning to wonder. Steve McLaren after Middlesboro were spanked 7-0 at Highbury today :

"Down to 10 men with six teenagers on the park it was always going to be difficult"

I suppose it would be, however, closer scrutiny reveals that Doriva was sent off after 68 minutes, and two of the teenagers came on as substitutes immediately afterwards. The score at that point ? 6-0.

Earlier in the day Alex Ferguson left Wes Brown out of the starting line-up in the Manchester derby in favour of Mikael Silvestre. Brown by all accounts is in excellent form. Silvestre, er, isn't. Ferguson's rationale for the change was that debutant Patrice Evra spoke no English and needed someone to talk him through the game. Evra was removed at half-time and Silvestre had a shocker for the whole 90. After the game, did Ferguson admit to a mistake ? No, he made a shameful and pathetic insinuation about the referee and Manchester City's hospitality.

I caught the last 10 minutes of the game in the gym, and was pleased for City and Stuart Pearce. You have to see him practically body-surfing in the crowd when Fowler made it 3-1 ! Pearce always had my respect as a player, triple hard and fair with it. As a manager he's even better. He doesn't make excuses and will come out and say "Fair enough, they were better than us". Blustering managers could take a tip from the better poker players. Those who know that an outward show of strength usually conceals a weak foundation. For God's sake would it kill you to say "We lost to the better team". And some of the excuses and spin insult our intelligence as much as they do the victorious opponents. We might never have played professional football but that doesn't make us idiots.


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