This article originally appeared in MEHSTG Vol. 2. Issue 31 (February 2003)
all seen them haven’t we ? Waving
their arms about and shouting the odds.
No… not Michael Owen’s bookie.
I mean team coaches on the touchline.
They try and urge their side on to greater exhortations and tinker
with their tactics, but what do their signs and shouting achieve and mean
Many managers seem to almost get out of
their box (or should I correctly put it as “get out of their technical
area”) in trying to get that little bit extra from their team.
They shout, rant, rave, point, gesticulate, point and pout in a
vain attempt to influence what is going on during play.
Some managers seem to have individual
styles that have peculiar idiosyncrasies. Claudio Ranieri, for example, sounds like Ronnie Ronalde
(“there’s one for the teenagers” © Hawksbee and Jacobs … ask your
Grand-dad) as he whistles up a storm on the touchline.
For all the world, he appears to be calling sheepdogs in for their
trial (which isn’t far from the truth for some of his squad) rather than
issuing instructions to his team. Perhaps
he feels it is easier to imitate the birdsong of the Lesser Speckled
Warbler than to try and get his point across in his broken English !!
Some, like Howard Wilkinson, prefer the
Sergeant Major attitude of standing bolt upright and yelling orders from
the bench. His previously
studious style has gone out of the window as Sunderland have slipped down
the league (or should that be just stayed down the bottom of it ?). No wonder they call him Sgt. Wilko.
West Ham United manager Glenn Roeder adopts
the arms-crossed technique that seems to say, “whatever is happening I
am calm”. The one
give-away to his attitude is the way he turns away from the pitch, every
time something goes wrong. This
is why he spends the majority of the game facing away from the pitch.
Which makes him one of the lucky ones !!
Underneath that impassive exterior is a raging torrent of anger
that one day will explode in a monotone “tirade” of slowly delivered
and carefully thought out words that mind-numbingly explain why he
shouldn’t have got the sack from the Upton Park hot-seat.
sit impassively, like Arsene Wenger.
Why is this ? Could it
be that he is thinking out new and wondrous tactics in that professorial
head of his ? Or is it merely that he is training his eyes to try and catch
a glimpse of what is actually happening on the pitch ? His vocalisations to his players probably go unheeded anyway,
because the English ones will not understand his accent above the roar of
silence at The Library.
Others such as Sam Allardyce and Harry
Bassett have shown on TV documentaries, that their antics give them an
increased heart rate and that all that expressed energy doesn’t really
help them at all. Most
managers let off steam by taking it out on the linesman (“Did you see
that linesman ? He’s cost
me my job, can you tell him that ?”) or the fourth official.
I knew there was a reason for the Fourth official to be there.
But what of our own management team ?
How do they fare in this sphere ?
Well, Gorman is often sent out to give instruction to the players
or to have a fight with Gordon Strachan, but Hoddle usually comes down to
the touchline in the second half or earlier when things are not working
Hoddle is the master of tic-tac. His hand signals are totally baffling to the untrained eye
… and probably to most players too !!
Whether he is indicating that he wants to change to a three at the
back (three fingers raised) or that he wants people to concentrate (points
to temples with both hands), he has a number of signals that he employs to
get his message across. Rarely
does he go in for the Ranieri whistle, although that was much favoured by
Stewart Houston (wash my mouth out).
there was a man engulfed by enough gestures to talk the hind leg off a
deaf person !! Some of the
moves he exhibited and shapes he threw would have put him in the World
Disco Dancing Champion 1976 class. Whether
it was the hands rotating over each other (indicating more effort) or the
hands crossing over each other (indicating more effort), the coach was
more animated than anything that was going on in the match.
His mentor GG also used his hands to good effect and I don’t mean
accepting payments from agents. His
whistling and pointing could have been the grounding for Tim Sherwood’s
future career in coaching.
Hoddle often pulls out the one where he holds up his two index fingers and crosses them in front of each other. I have no idea what this indicates, but when I was little it used to mean “Fly away Peter, Fly away Paul”. Perhaps the names have been changed to Sergei and Tim ??
DJ SHADOW HANDS
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