You may have heard the saying, “When the team wins it’s down to the players and when the team loses it’s down to the coach”.
I often scout my opponents and when sitting in the stands I hear spectators discussing how they would do this and that and where they would play a certain player, and when to take him off and put him on etc, etc.
For all those students of the game out there who want to walk a mile in a coach’s shoes here is a scenario for you to ponder upon and make a call on, in full knowledge that your decision, unlike that of the coach will have no reflection upon your reputation, or the result of the game.
You are the coach of the league champions who despite a recent slump in form are contesting a semi final cup game. Your “Star player” is not performing and it is obvious that despite it only being twenty minutes into the game that his opponent has him in his pocket. Would you:
a) Take him off immediately
b) Tell yourself, that he will come good and leave him on
c) Never consider taking him off because he is a fan’s favourite
d) Make the change later in the game risking it being too late.
I can tell you that no decision is easy when you have to make it, and when what you do will have a bearing on the result. Certainly from the stands everything is straight forward and easy.
Much has been said about the recent run of indifferent results as experienced by Rochedale Rovers, and I am amazed at how fickle spectators can be, and how those very same spectators all of a sudden become coaches extraordinaire. This is exactly what happened in the pre-season.
The more successful a club becomes the more that is expected, that is the nature of the beast. I daresay that for many observers of football in Brisbane the natural climax for a club like Rochedale is the TREBLE! Certainly, they have the talent that is very evident by the manner in which they easily accounted for the league this season. The players must now return to the form that saw them win the league.
Now I am not for a moment going to say that Rochedale winning the Treble is not possible, but I will say this: Like coaches, players need to remain focused on the task at hand, and regardless of their reputation they must be prepared to do what is in the best interest of the team, and accept that the coach is not there just to stroke ego’s. It appears that more often than not players substituted DO NOT put themselves in the coach’s shoes. Star player or not one may have to leave one’s ego behind and accept that one will not always be at the peak of one’s performance and it is no disgrace to be substituted, after all football is a team sport, and there is NO "I" in the word TEAM.