Top 10 Tips For Surviving The Football Season
Blogger who likes to take a light-hearted approach to football. Writes about Brentford and all things football on my blog: lifeonthebeeroads.blogspot.com, as well as contributing t...
After the opening weekend of results, many clubs look to be in for a more arduous football season than others. Today on the blog, Ryan O'Donovan delivers 10 tips to help managers, players, officials and of course fans, make it through the long journey that will be football season 2012/2013.
It’s finally upon us. After months of torture that included time fillers such as Coronation Street, a man going really fast whilst sitting down in some streets in London and endless Top Gear on Dave, the season is back! No more looking at the calendar constantly in the vain hope that the day would come faster, no more checking and changing your fantasy league team more times than a new father has to check their baby’s nappy and no more watching the far-fetched sports of the Olympics. Time to dust off your rain jacket and favourite hat and head off the terrace to watch your team once more.
But everyone knows that the new season, however exciting, is fraught with danger at every corner. So how exactly do you navigate your way through it to a cup or a league win? How do you make sure you don’t navigate your club worse than the captain of the Titanic? Well there are ten top ways to make sure you navigate your way through the season better than a tank going through a minefield.
10. Don’t Commit Suicide After Going Out Of the Capital One Cup
Okay, if you thought that my first tip would be a sombre one then you were wrong. A lot of fans seem to think that losing in the Capital One Cup to some miners from Gateshead is the end of the world and ultimately the end of the season.
Well it just isn’t.
Of course, winning the cup would be a nice addition to any trophy cabinet and would give you the chance the gloat about the first trophy of the season but realistically going out of it isn’t always a bad thing. It could easily turn into the best thing since sliced bread to happen to your club since you last won a trophy and could be the push that the team needs to have a very good season.
Last season Liverpool won the Capital One Cup, struggling in the final against a Championship side and look where they finished the season. They struggled more than a cat trying to fight it’s way out of a plastic bag. Another reason as to why crashing out of the cup may not always be a bad thing is that it could give your players a good kick in the right direction and make them realise that they are not all Lionel Messi or God’s gift to the world and will not be able to waltz through the season like it is Strictly Come Dancing.
However, if your team does go out of the cup and you do feel like committing suicide, get some help. You most likely need it.
9. Don’t Go Into Administration
Administration. The word strikes fear into the heart of every football fan in the country, and possibly the world. It is such a horrible thing, more horrible even than reading tweets from Piers Morgan. Getting yourself into this mess could mean the end for your club, or at best a change of the club completely.
Many good sides have had their seasons destroyed by administration: Leeds United in 2007, Glasgow Rangers in the summer and who could forget poor old Portsmouth? They have all had many successes in the past and now find themselves in the Championship, Scottish Third Division and League One respectively.
So, Mr. Owner. Before you start securing your debts against the club, remember that the club has fans that love it more than they love their wives, children and beer combined, and if their club was to go into administration they would be calling for more than just your head on a pike outside the stadium.
But you, the fans, have a part to play in this too. I know many of you have an (sometimes unhealthy) obsession with your club and one of the ways to help the club steer well wide of administration is by continuing to go the matches. They will need your support, and unfortunately for the people around you your vocal cords, to help stay afloat, especially if they are a lower league club.
8. Have a Large Squad
Sometimes, bigger isn’t better. This is true for a bill, a spot and your girlfriend. It is, however, better for your squad. We all know that you can only play 11 players on the field, but what about when the winter comes? What about when two of your players go down with the flu and one gets his leg broken by a deranged lunatic who calls himself a centre back? Things can go wrong. Very wrong.
There is a simple solution to this however. Make sure you have a large enough squad to deal with this situation and any other situation that may arise, including the possibility that one of your players may be injured by his wife. Stranger stuff has happened, believe me.
This may be a tiny bit more difficult for the lower league clubs who have a much smaller budget, but in that case the loan system is a very handy tool that you can utilise. Handier than even a hammer which can be used to fix anything. I’ve tried that too.
If you have a large squad then no matter what the winter throws at you, you will be able to handle it and hopefully continue navigating your way through a successful season. If you still manage to get relegated with a big squad then something somewhere has gone terribly wrong and an enquiry should be called immediately.
7. Don’t Sack Manager After Manager
Consistency is the key to any good season. Just have a look at Manchester United – people tipped them for the worst season ever yet they took it right to the wire only to have the league taken away in the last minute. Consistency means that the players know where they stand with the manager and can perform to their best every week, like the judges on X-Factor can. Being like Chelsea and sacking manager after manager has a real adverse effect on the players and can really send your season on the wrong course.
Okay, Chelsea won the Champion’s League last season by parking what seemed like two jumbo jets, 24 bendy-buses and the Death Star in front of their goal, but their season was appalling by their standards.
Why was that?
Maybe it was that Torres wasn’t scoring as much as he should. Maybe it was because John Terry had that racism trial in the back of his mind. Or maybe it was because Mr. Abramovich himself believes he knows football better than Wayne Rooney knows his hair doctor and decided to sack yet another manager.
After loosing Jose Mourinho, I think its fair to say that Abramovich does not know what he is talking about and so any owners looking to follow his example should take note about that. Having the same manager breeds success, once again I will use the example of Manchester United. Having the same manager really is key.
6. Have a Strong Strike Force
Robin Van Persie and Wayne Rooney. Fernando Torres and Eden Hazard. Sergio Aguero and Carlos Tevez. These names really strike fear into the heart of any football fan. Imagine going to watch a game and seeing those names on the opposing team line-up. I think I’d cry. I think you’d cry. I think that even Rio Ferdinand would cry.
Having a strong strike force really is a vital point in making sure you navigate the season well. It’s all well saying that keeping clean sheets will help you get through the season, but at the end of the day you need to score goals to win games.
Real Madrid didn’t pay £80million for Ronaldo for nothing. People don’t say that Lionel Messi is the best player ever because of his defending. If both of your strikers can bag 20 goals each, then you are well on your way to navigating your way through the season. Just look how important Sergio Aguero was in winning the league for Man City last season and how instrumental Van Persie was for Arsenal – scoring 33% of all their goals.
Having an unreliable strike force would be like having an Apache helicopter gunship without guns – it would still be a helicopter, but without any assets and would be totally and utterly useless. Just like a Toyota Prius.
5. Keep the Fans On Your Good Side
Most of you reading this are probably fans. Actually, I’m fairly sure that all of you are fans and you all know that the club has to keep you happy. They offer countless things throughout the season like free teas, match programmes and cheerleaders.
But the best thing that the club can offer is a win.
If you are a manager reading this then you have to keep the fans on your side throughout the season if you wish to have a successful season. You have to keep them happier than a child on Christmas day otherwise things will turn sour for you. Very sour indeed.
The fans are the backbone to the club and without them the club would be nothing.
Let’s take an example from last season where the club didn’t keep the fans on their good side: Blackburn. What a mess that club got themselves into with fans quickly unfurling their “Kean out” bed sheets at every opportunity. And what happened to them? Relegation. They were quicker through the trapdoor than a bad magician is when he performs a vanishing trick.
Football clubs remember this, fans pay very good money to see their team week in, week out, so make sure you keep them on side if you want some smooth sailing this season!
4. Don’t Do A Tevez/ Dempsey
In recent times, the most well known sulkers and Prima donnas have most certainly been Carlos Tevez and Clint Dempsey. Tevez nearly jeopardized the whole of City’s season in a toddler like strop after being left on the bench and Dempsey is putting himself before the club in order for him to get a move away. Already, it seems that Fulham’s route that they set for the season has already gone wayward as a result of Dempsey’s selfishness.
So the best way to navigate your way through the season is by not following the example of Pinky and Perky and by making sure your players play for the badge and not for themselves. Although Tevez apologized and all seems rosy in that garden once more, the saga with Dempsey could really push Fulham’s season off course more than the wind can push Richard Branson’s silly hot air balloon.
Doing a Tevez or a Dempsey can really destroy a season, so if your club has any players like this then put on your life jacket and prepare for some choppy waters – it could be a long old season.
3. Try Not to Have Your Striker Attack Another Player With An Inanimate Object
As the title of this tip suggests, you’d have to have a serious nut-job in your squad for this tip to have any effect on your team. But then again, most footballers are quite mad, just look at what they wear, drive and do.
However, there is a footballer named Craig Bellamy. He likes golf, as most footballers do, but he takes it a little bit too far sometimes and likes to attack team-mates with his nine iron which results in all hell breaking loose.
Players, whatever you do this season, for heaven’s sakes, do not attack anyone with a golf club or any other inanimate object for that matter! If you do this then you will most definitely have a rough season, which could result in relegation, a sacking or even a prison sentence.
I think it is fair to say that if one of your strikers attacks someone with an inanimate object you either: a) support a prison team or b) wont have a very good season whatsoever. So if you want to successfully navigate your way through the season then keep any inanimate objects (other than football related of course) locked well away from the footballers.
2. Have Sir Alex Ferguson As Your Manager
There really is not many other ways to have a perfect season, other than having the Scotsman himself as your manager. With 25 years of experience, having Sir Alex as your manager would make sure you navigated it without hindrance and most likely with some sort of silverware at the end.
With 24 trophies at Manchester United – more silverware than what is in your grandmother’s cupboard, he has proven he is the reason for a successful season. Sure, you have the ‘Special One’ and Arsene Wenger, there is no doubting that they are better at their jobs than even the traffic wombles, but there is really no comparing to the success that Sir Alex Ferguson has had at both Aberdeen and Manchester United.
Unfortunately, there is only one Sir Alex Ferguson. Just like it’s unfortunate there is only one Keira Knightly or one Zooey Deschanel. So at the end of the day, it seems like Manchester United have one of the best ways to navigate their way through this season better than a jet fighter could.
Watch out for them this season, I’m sure they are going to offer more thrills than the whole of the last 10 seasons combined. Watch this space!
1. Plan Your Wedding/Stag-do/Any Other Function Around the Matches
My number one tip is most definitely one for the fans. Now, throughout the season I’m sure we will all have other commitments other than religiously watching football every Saturday on the terraces or on the T.V.
But, as you know, nothing is as important as the football season. Nothing. Not even your anniversary.
So what’s the best way for you, the fan, to navigate your way through the season successfully? Plan your functions around the matches! Whether that be your stag-do, birthday or wedding it has to happen for all of them. Don’t listen to what your wife says, if she doesn’t understand by now how important football is to you then she wont be worth it. Sure, it may start great – she may let you go to the games still. But then what? She starts to want you to go out on a Saturday to the shops with her, and then what next? She tears up your season ticket and she wins! But that is beside the point.
Whatever you do this season; just make sure you can still watch the games by planning your social life around your football life. That will make sure you navigate your way through the season better than the most travelled footballer.
There we have it! Your top ten tips to surviving the season. Football teams, managers and fans, if you follow these rules as strictly as you follow your diet then you have a sure fire way of navigating your way through the 2012/2013 season without any horror stories occurring.
Of course, most of the fun in the season is as a result of the unknown, so even if you do follow this guide to the letter it may not go according to plan.
But hey, that’s the fun of the season, isn’t it?
Follow Ryan on Twitter: @R_O_Donovan
Read more of Ryan's work on his blog LifeOnTheBeeRoads Blogspot
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