Champions League Mind, Sunday League Job

The alarm clocks aggressive mechanical honk pierces the pre-dawn silence, its function this morning however is moot. I’ve barely slept all night, and who could blame me? For today is the day, the day I’ve been waiting for since putting pen to paper on my 12 month rolling contract. Today is the first day of pre-season and my first day as a manager in my own right.


Sure I’ve been heavily involved in the coaching side of things since a particularly crude challenge ended my blossoming playing career in my mid-twenties. I’ve earned my badges, and I’ve served my time, first of all as a coach and then latterly as an assistant manager. But this is different, for the first time I can truly impart my beliefs, my philosophy upon a group of players, if ‘the project’ is a success I will be hailed as a mastermind, the bright young thing of the coaching world. Fail however and it is all on me, I’ll be written off as an inexperienced ‘kid’ elevated beyond his age and his ability. It is no exaggeration to say that this first step into management will forever define my career. It truly is make or break.


As I was hired during the close season I am yet to meet the playing squad. Obviously this is not an ideal situation, nevertheless I made do with sending each player a ‘Training Wellbeing Attitude and Teamwork’ (TWAT) pack that I devised. This outlines various physical and mental exercises for each player to carry out, as well as a detailed nutritional plan I require them to adhere to, this will ensure they return to the club in the best shape possible, ready to start the season on the front foot. Minutiae such as this, separates the winners from the also-rans.


I’m going stir crazy sitting here in the house so decide I’d be as well heading to the training ground early, you know soak up some of the majesty of the place before the rest of the staff arrive.


As I draw into the car park the nerves are fucking killing me, but I know it’s only natural, and anyway I’m positive in my belief that this is where I belong. This is what I have strived toward all these years, yes it really is true, I am manager of Levenmouth Thistle, of the Fife Area Regional 4th division.


Hmm I may arrived at Fife Council Municipal Park pitch 7 a tad early, it’s 8am, training’s not for another 11 hours and some bastard dog has pissed off with one of the cones I’d set out, aww shit now the fucking mongrel’s taking a pish on the training bibs. Right probably best I head home and work on some training drills.


Okay after a few hours of theory work looking at the benefits of zonal vs man marking I’m back at the training ground and the players are starting to filter in.


Unfortunately on first look it seems a few of the lads may not have received their TWAT packs, this does not look like a collection of athletes at their physical peak. Although maybe I’m being to quick to judge, I’ll know more when the body fat percentage and body mass index tests are complete.


Oh for fuck sake my centre back has just stood on the scales and he is literally OFF THE SCALE. I mean I picked them up at Argos on the way in, they were a few quid cheaper ‘cause they only went up to 18 stone! Jesus Christ he’s bloody well laughing as well! How do you calculate someone’s BMI when you can’t even weigh the fuckers ‘cause they’re too fucking heavy!


Right, I had planned to spend this evenings training session introducing my players to my footballing philosophy, you know zonal marking, the half pitch press, the sexy stuff. But after the debacle that was the body fat/BMI tests earlier it looks like I’ll have to abandon that for some old fashioned conditioning work. I may be a ‘tactical innovator’ but I know the value of getting the basics right first.


This is getting beyond a joke now, I’ve sent them off on a WARM UP, not actual fitness work but the bloody warm up and two of them have been sick, Christ Almighty another one’s stopped for a ‘fag’. I bet Mourinho never had to put up with this shit.


There’s nothing else for it, I’m going to have to drag them into the changing room and give them a right good rollicking. It’s time to show them who’s boss, and that if you want to succeed at Levenmouth Thistle FC then a certain standard is expected. I tell the players to warm down (although I suppose you need to warm up before you warm down) and head for the dressing room. It seems about half of my playing staff mistook the phrase ‘warm down’ for spark up a fucking cigarette whilst wandering in the general direction of the changing room (and is that a can of lager?). I collect up the cones and prepare my bollocking, I’ll allow the players to stew for a while before I get in there and give them what for.


Unfortunately by the time I make my dramatic entrance the players attention is not on me, my captain has produced a mobile phone video of himself engaging in what from the sounds of it is some hugely energetic (more energetic than anything that went on out on the training pitch tonight anyway) sexual activity. No great motivational speech has ever been enhanced by a sound track of sex grunts and pleas for ‘deeper’ ‘harder’ ‘faster’ (bloody hell women are so demanding) penetration.


I give up and tell the players to finish up for the night, my requests for them to study their TWAT packs are met by confused glares and a few childish sniggers. I’m not going to pretend this is how I envisaged my first session as a manager in my own right but it’s all a learning experience, and trust me by the time the first game of the season rolls around, Levenmouth Thistle FC will a well-oiled, well drilled, match winning machine (and mobile phones will have been banned in the dressing room).


Keep an eye out for the next instalment of Champions League Mind, Sunday League Job.


Oh and if you fancy contacting the author you can find him here on that twitter thing the kids are so keen on.




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