Welcome to the March edition of my column, a month that has seen me take on new roles and attend courses to get myself back in the game: Essentially doing what I enjoy, back on the training field and supporting fellow coaches. I cannot lie, I am struggling to believe how hard it has been for me to reacclimatise being back home. The involvement at international level was always a challenge and never a dull moment, so being stuck in limbo for so many weeks was getting harder. At least now I am busy again albeit a couple of part time roles in women’s football and with TheFA in a mentoring capacity for grassroots coaches in Hertfordshire. Added to the unofficial support I try and give to all former students and colleagues
It feels like I now do not have enough hours in the day, and night for that matter.
Anyway, enough about me and let’s take a look at other topics from recent weeks, how about the sacking of head coaches and the call for the heads of others. How fickle is it now with the demands of the game? The absolute fear of falling from grace due to the financial implications. The gulf between the top and bottom after last year’s Leicester miracle is becoming evident again, and even a gap within the top group of the Premier league.
Going back to sacked managers, I think back to my time at Charlton Athletic when Alan Curbishley had regularly maintained their place in the Premier league without the threat of relegation. But some fans got greedy and felt he was not challenging for actual silverware so maybe his time was up. It needed someone to push harder for honours, well take a look now. The honour was staying at the highest level for a club the size of Charlton, so be careful what you wish for was the cliché often used after that. Their mistakes then cost me my own position at the time as relegation came and staff and sections were cut loose to save money. The rest as they say is history and I hope that they can survive the current issues and grow again.
More topical perhaps coach education in England has taken another turn and more changes in the structure of courses at all levels. On first sight, they seem better more condensed and learner friendly with the youth modules becoming part of the other awards as blocks of each course. Good news that the soon to be launched new Level 3/ UEFA B will again be delivered in counties. The biggest change being that the assessment process will take place at the club of the student coach utilising their own team as opposed to the intense couple of days with the group playing and being assessed under physical and mental pressure.
This should encourage more coaches to take and maintain their qualifications and a positive knock on effect for the young players in this country. Last but not least it looks like Sussex based Brighton and Hove Albion are on course for automatic promotion this season despite a couple of minor blips they are still in a strong position and Chris Houghton has done another great job. Their FA cup conquerors Lincoln have done the non-league game the power of good and have the game of their lives coming up at the Emirates v Arsenal and under pressure manager Arsene Wenger. If further miracles are to happen, now would be a prime time to take advantage and who am I to say it’s impossible.
Either way good luck to all teams still challenging in competitions and to those fighting for survival, beware the ides of March. Jokes aside hope everyone has a great month.