Imagine the following scenario.

For a few minutes after the most pressurised time of the day when you’ve been under the hammer from your boss or your customers, a tv crew arrives and you’re interviewed on your performance, closely followed by a  radio reporter.
Then  you’re quoted on the various newspaper websites, with comments from your customers posted on a legion of social media sites…and so on…with you trying to persuade everyone that your performance is not as bad as your customers claim and that you really do know where you need to improve in order to make sure it never happens again.

Which of course it will, until you are sacked.

OK stop now. You don’t have to empathise with football managers any more, thankfully.

Like most football fans, I feel I could probably put up with that hassle for the 7 figure salary that the very top managers command. But not all managers are the same.

Highs and lows,Brian

A similar pressure exerts itself on many of our League One and Two bosses as well with nothing like the financial rewards at stake. OK the media platform may not be Sky Sports or Match of the Day but take a look at one of the websites of the lowly clubs in League Two and you’ll see what I mean. Their fans still want their 4 minutes of post-match reaction and it’s interesting and enlightening to contrast their responses with their more illustrious colleagues in the Premier League.

And don’t for one minute think that the managers of Rochdale or Dagenham and Redbridge are any less passionate about their club that those at Liverpool, Newcastle or Celtic.

Take John Coleman at Accrington Stanley for example

I’ve always had a soft spot for Stanley, ever since reading about their demise when I was a schoolboy in 1967. That was when I first heard the word ‘defunct’. As in …” the now-defunct Accrington Stanley“, who resigned from the old Football League in 1962 after hitting financial problems.  Then I discovered that an early version of the club were founder-members of the original Football League back in 1888.

The legend was made.

There was also the name……Stanley!

Clubs were usually called ‘Rovers’ or ‘City’ or ‘Un*t*d’…..there was something about the name ‘Accrington Stanley that in my imagination had a place in another earlier era of baggy shorts and bald men with knobbly knees who were amazing dribblers who looked like my 70 year old grandad.

Yes I admit there was something romantic about them, in a very sentimental, black-and-white kind of way.

So now after every match,even though I support a premiership club, I log onto the Accrington Stanley website (“The club that wouldn’t die”) to savour the post-match thoughts of ‘Coley’.  As Accrington usually only attract around 1300 spectators for home matches I can’t imagine many other non-diehards see the interviews but maybe after this blog there’ll be a few more. Trust me, it’s worth it.

What’s fascinating to me is that although I don’t know Coleman and obviously haven’t witnessed his working methods with the players, the same intensity and commitment that you get from a Fergie or Moyes is there for all to see. In spades. Indeed his record with Accrington more than stands up in comparison in relative terms with his more famous counterparts.

A few weeks ago Coleman appeared dejected and angry after his team BEAT Exeter 4-2.  Despite the efforts of the club interviewer to cheer him up Coley was having none of it; he’s got high standards and his team fell short of them. It was as if they’d been thrashed by a 7 man team of no-hopers.

Even in your wildest flights of imagination can you envisage Mourinho reacting in such a way? Different characters,different stakes you might say but one of the managers seems more grounded in reality to my mind, and at the moment that’s not Jose.

Even after his team climbed to 5th in League Two a few weeks ago ( they’re now 4th ) after beating Barnet 2-1 away he spoke of ‘harsh words in the dressing room at half-time’ and clearly wasn’t 100% happy with the team’s performance although obviously pleased that his high standards were met at certain times during the game.

Like many bosses he doesn’t NEED to be liked. In fact I assume he’s not remotely bothered if players don’t like him because that’s not what he’s there for ; it’s about results,stupid, yes but it’s also about HIS standards and that comes over in his interviews.

And you  won’t find him  blaming everything from referees to the alignment of the stars when they lose. Sure, he’s a bad loser but in a realistic and fair way.

Other football managers could learn a lot from Coleman.


Wot, media training?


With some good media coaching  (and for good coaching you not only need a good coach but a good coachee ie someone who LISTENS. and doesn’t assume he’s right 100% of the time) I’m convinced that many managers could improve their performance significantly when it really matters – ie when your teams in not winning consistently or when the chairman or fans are on your back.

So they be better prepared for media interviews? Yes but they need to want to, and they need decent media coaches who they respect and will listen to.

And there’s the rub. The LISTENING bit.

It’s the same in the world of business and the public sector where you maybe don’t have the weekly media glare on such a consistent basis as the top echelons of the Premiership (except if you’re VW, TalkTalk or Jeremy Corbyn).

But how many senior managers take regular guidance from media coaches and how many just plough on regardless because that’s the way they’ve always done it?

Moreover, it’s fine calling in the coach when there’s a crisis but wouldn’t it make a bit more sense to get the training when things are going ok so you’re prepared properly? That phrase about making hay when the sun shines springs to mind.

And if  journalists come knocking on their door or negative comments are posted on social media how prepared is your organisation?

Are  you or your boss a Coley or a Jose?

And if you want to improve your off-the-field performance do you have the balls to get a media coach?