The Greatest Job In The World?
So the Football League season is once again upon us and my beloved Swansea City once more lost its opening day fixture.
In all fairness, I've been used to it over the past few years. Cheltenham (home), Oldham (away), Charlton (away) and now Leicester have all managed to dampen the good mood each and every football season is greeted with.
No-one was more disappointed with the result than me, but it is incredible how supporters can jump on a new manager`s back so quickly.
This weekend you had Norwich`s devastating capitulation against Colchester at home, where they were crushed 7-1. Bryan Gunn the Norwich City legend had to watch as one fan threw his season ticket in his face 25minutes into the new season, and 4-0 down. There is no professional who cares about Norwich as much as Gunn, and you can bet no-one was hurting more than him, but try telling the fan that.
Paulo Sousa watched his first game as Swans boss go swimmingly for 30minutes. Swansea controlled the tempo; got the opening goal and then everything went wrong. A penalty conceded (albeit it was saved) and 2 goals in 3 second-half minutes meant Sousa`s debut was much more of a miss than a hit. Cue the histrionics across the message boards from the fans.
And they call it the greatest job sector in the world. Because while fans of football clubs across the world dream of working within football as a manager, a player or whatever, there is no way any of us can understand what it is like to be watched by tens of thousands of people while you do your job. For the first time. Replacing a man who did an incredible job for a club that a short time ago was on its knees.
I can only imagine it isn`t too easy.
Deprived of 2 of the first choice midfield (Bodde and Pratley), and a third (Allen) 25 minutes into the game, Sousa`s job of masterminding victory against a team and club on the rise after a tough 2 years was made all the more difficult. For a side that relies so heavily on the mobility and functionality of its midfield, Swansea will always struggle unless the central midfield trio does its job. And, shorn of 3 of the 4 players who have controlled the midfield for the Swans over the past 2 years, it proved a task too much for their deputies. So, with Bodde, Allen and Pratley all set to return within a month, is there the need to panic?
As far as I can see, no, there isn`t.
Paulo Sousa has expressed his disappointment at not already having a striker in place, and rumours that a central defender be a second priority means that the men in charge are acutely aware of the problems the starting XI face. By all accounts Saturday`s display lacked a playmaker and a goalscorer: Gomez and Scotland.
Bodde will slot back into the Swansea XI with little trouble and begin pulling strings and scoring goals come September, and you can bet by then the Swans faithful will have a new striking hero with whom they can celebrate goals.
It is tough for Swans fans right now. Still reeling from Martinez`s departure (not Scotland and Gomez`s), it`s easy to see why their faith has been tested having been abandoned by the man who said he never would. But Sousa is a footballing man. Nothing but positive words have come out of the dressing room and no one has anything but praise for the only man to win back-to-back Champions League titles.
So, let`s keep the faith and roar our team on, starting with a good display and some goals v Brighton, tomorrow night. And, if you feel the nerves creeping in, and the doubts nagging - imagine how much harder your job (whatever it may be) would be, if you were just starting it, and getting booed.
Thanks to Dominic O'Shea for the article.
You can read more articles on a range of sports on his website at www.osheasport.co.uk