Off the pitch matters

by Dexy Longshot

Saturday, November 8th, 2008

Who is really to blame?

Football clubs, their players, staff, directors and even the supporters are in a constant state of flux. Whether it’s new owners, a new manager or new signings Football Clubs are finding they’re changing. But are these changes for better or for worse?

Ultimately, the success of a club is determined by results, their league position and cup competitions. The manager takes responsibility for the success and failure of the team, in turn players take on some of that responsibility with their performances on the pitch. So, how do matters off the pitch have an impact on managers, their staff and the players?

At first I completely dismissed any connection in player’s performances and team results to matters further up the club at board level. I put myself in the player’s boots and asked “how can matters off the pitch affect me”?

More and more clubs are suffering because of internal issues. We all know about the bigger clubs like Newcastle United, Everton, Liverpool, but there are a lot of smaller clubs in the lower leagues that are suffering as a result of how the club is run, mainly at board level, just look at Luton Town for example. Luton are in a financial mess, have been docked points and, even now, are serious relegation candidates. After some time pondering I thought I can’t look at this as a supporter, fan or anyone else connected to football.

Football clubs are, in-fact, a business. Times have changed, teams are rarely run by a fan or fans, but every football club owner has a duty to the fans to ensure that the club is run properly and is, or becoming, successful. In order to establish how off the field matters effect the success of a club, I must look at this from a business point of view. It’s a cold way of looking at something I feel so passionately about.

For example, if you can compare the running of a football club to a company currently caught up in the current tough financial market conditions it’s easy to appreciate how instability or uncertainty can sweep through an entire organisation. How would your performance in your job be affected by such conditions? Would your morale be as high as before? So, what happens? New management comes in? With new management, comes a new structure. Is your job safe? Your morale plummets to a new low. Most people do not perform well in their jobs given this state of affairs. So you can appreciate how changes at the top can filter down to employees. The same psychological behaviour impacts managers, their staff and their players in the same way.

So before you bellow your disgust at your team’s performance from the terrace, bear in mind are these players going through a period of uncertainty at the club, which ultimately derives from the boardroom. Who is really to blame? The players? Or the people behind the scenes running the club?

That’s for you to decide.

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  • Stevie

    football players are athletes, and therefore can no longer have a bad game, with so much press and media attention i’m surprised that none of them have gone mad yet, oh, hold a mo, Gazza went mad didn’t he, walking around a hotel asking for steak, trying to eat a frozen meal in the back of a cab.

    If you are talking about blame then surely the whole club must take some responsibility, players are fragile and need to loved. A classic example is Spurs, the players did not take to Ramos and his team, along comes Redknapp and look at them now, Bentley looks like a class act again, the team are fighting for each other and the fans are happy.

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