Could the managerial ‘merry-go-round’ be setting a bad example?


After losing to West Ham United, Fulham parted company with manager Martin Jol after their sixth successive defeat in all competitions. Fulham are now eighteenth in the Premier League table with relegation a real possibility. Former Manchester United coach Rene Meulensteen who joined Fulham in the summer as First Team Coach is set to take over the top role.  There is nothing unusual with a football manager getting the sack. It is a results driven business after all. Yet, could this expectation of success be having a negative impact on grass roots football.

Think about Sunday football. How often do you see players surrounding and arguing with the referee?  This happens from the age of ten right the way up and it is wrong. Except, nobody is surprised and whilst it may not be condoned there is certainly a ‘laissez-faire’ approach. It is how the ‘pro’s’ behave. Perhaps even more worrying is that, on occasions, the volunteers who give up their time at weekends to coach and manage the kids teams can find themselves under the same amount of scrutiny and pressure as a Premier League boss. This is totally unacceptable.

Grass roots youth football and the Premier League are two totally different animals. Sadly all too often the adults involved can forget this. The desire a parent has to see their child do well and be successful is a beautiful thing. It is how every parent should be. What should be considered is how this desire is manifested. If a child and their parent are unhappy with their coach, then the first thing they should do is have a chat. It should not be personal. The parent needs to remember that the coach has to balance what is right for the majority against what suits an individual. It is a difficult balancing act. If after a chat, the situation cannot be resolved then perhaps the child and parent would be wise to find another club. Ultimately, the child has to make the decision. It is about what is important to the them. Is it playing every game or playing with their mates? This is where the parent has to step back and listen to their son or daughter. If it is about being in the team, then the child will be happy to move clubs. If the child just wants to play football with their friends then they should stay where they are and enjoy training and work hard to get in the team.

At FootieBugs we do not only work with the children. We also involve the parents. Mum and Dad are encouraged to stay, watch, support and even join in. FootieBugs is truly ground breaking in its approach. Children spend the whole session working with the ball, so they develop technically better than other more traditional coaching methods. The unique story-telling approach of the sessions means that children also develop their numeracy, literacy and social interactions skills. The encouragement given by the coaches and backed up the parents means that the child’s self-esteem really grows. Most importantly every child is a hero every week. FootieBugs sets children and adults up to approach competitive club football in the right spirit.


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