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Managers have yet again been in the news this week with some high-profile sackings and lots of speculation about others’ positions. So on this week’s main listening report we take a look back at one of our older reports – this one is from the 2008-09 season – in order to look at some of the language used to describe the role of the football manager. This listening report is a shortened version of the regular weekly podcast. You can listen to the report by clicking on the link above.
‘All the world’s a stage and all the men and women merely players’ is taken from Shakespeare’s play As You Like It in which the seven stages of man are introduced. Here though, and with apologies to the ‘The Bard’, are the seven stages of being a football manager.
Stage 1: Managerial merry-go-round
Getting a job as a football manager is not such an easy prospect; as it seems that the same old faces are always involved. This is known as the managerial merry-go-round with bosses never really leaving football but seemingly just swapping jobs. Therefore, getting onto this merry-go-round is your first priority and to do so you need to read the job advertisements in the newspapers. Or more specifically, the football gossip on the back pages.
Stage 2: Applying for a job
Of course you need to send in a CV but before you do that you need to be linked with the post or become a target for the club. If you see your name written with these phrases then you can improve your job chances by expressing an interest in the position.
Stage 3: Appointed
Congratulations, you have been appointed as first team coach, or manager, or trainer or gaffer or whatever, you have the job. You have succeeded the previous incumbent and finally you can lead the team. You are in charge. Don’t forget to sign a contract and make sure there is a pay-out clause, just in case things don’t go as planned. You’ve made it. Well done. You’re are on the managerial merry-go-round.
Stage 4: Being in charge
Now you are in charge what do you have to do? Well, you’re responsible for all sorts of jobs, including choosing the tactics, selecting the starting xi, buying and selling players in the transfer market, dealing with agents, the media and your chairman and of course, keeping an eye out for a new job. Invariably the start of your tenure is a good one as players try harder and a sense of hope surrounds the club and this leads to what is known as a honeymoon period when results improve and everyone loves you.
Stage 5: Trouble ahead
But then results don’t go your way and your name is on the back pages of the papers again, but this time with a picture of you looking upset. Speculation is rife and rumours abound as others on the merry-go-round sense an opportunity. You meet the owners for crisis talks as there are suggestions that you have lost the dressing room, – the players have little or no respect for you and then, before you know it, you have become a dead man walking.
Stage 6. Good bye
And then just as you are getting used to the hot seat, you have to go. You are out of a job – sacked, fired, dismissed, left by mutual consent. You have got the boot for poor results and you are paying the price. But you’re not really as you receive a multi-million pound pay out in compensation.
Stage 7. Round again
You decide to take a break from the game but you do not rule out a return at some stage in the future. And then suddenly your name is back in the frame for another post. Initially, you distance yourself from it, dismissing it as mere speculation. But you miss the cut and thrust of the day-to day challenges of the Premier League and you feel you cannot turn down the opportunity of managing once again. And before you know it, you’re on the merry-go-round once more.
Football vocabulary and phrases used in this week’s listening report
‘The Bard’: A nickname for Shakespeare
managerial merry-go-round: When managers move from job to job
swapping jobs: To change jobs
to be linked with the post: To have a chance of the job
expressing an interest in the position: To show enthusiasm for the job
gaffer: The boss
incumbent: The previous person who held the post
pay-out clause: Part of the contract
tenure: The time you are in the job
a honeymoon period: positive time soon after arriving at the club
Speculation is rife: Many people think that something could happen (rife=widespread)
rumours abound: There were many rumours
have lost the dressing room: Lost the respect of the players
a dead man walking: Everyone thinks that the manager will be fired
the hot seat: The manager’s job
left by mutual consent: Both parties agree to end the contract
got the boot: To be fired
is back in the frame: Have another chance of a job
distance yourself from it: To say you do not want the job
mere speculation: Only gossip
the cut and thrust: The excitement
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