Already able to give you the chance to get views and insight from our very own Non League Secret Footballer, we thought it would be only right to complete the insight from the changing room and also give you a series from our very own Non League Secret Manager. What goes through a non-league managers head when they do a job that often costs them money, takes up lots of their personal time, and can give them more hassle than most people will put up with? Through our fortnightly Friday updates, you may just get an understanding you didn't have before.....
"I am a football manager and also a coach in non-league football, and have been for some years. I can do both, as have worked as both. I have worked for other managers, seen good things and bad things. There is a huge difference between coaching and managing. Managing players is easy I think - you just need to be honest, abide by and enforce the rules you set, motivate (give them reasons to do their best and then come back) and communicate. Coaching is a completely different kettle of fish. You need to move with the times, adapt to modern players needs and most importantly ensure sessions are relevant and fluid. Players hate standing around in training listening to coaches/managers talking crap.
One manager I worked for couldn't coach to save his life. I sat once and watched him trying to coach team play in an 11v11 training game, and the bloke was being laughed at by all the players as he couldn't do it, but in his head he could. Poor bloke, it was embarrassing.
How some managers get jobs I have no idea. We managers all share information, phone each other to ask about upcoming opponents, and some really don't have a clue. One manager, who currently is managing in the higher echelons of non-league, is an example of this, and I find it hard to believe he has won leagues and cups! I phoned him a few years ago to ask about a team, and all he could tell me was that they were very good and they run around a lot. Absolutely no clue! Surely you must have some understanding of the game as a manager to get by?
Some managers rule by fear, mostly through shouting and threatening/abusive language and behaviour. They spend all game abusing everyone and looking like they are going to keel over with a heart attack at any given moment. Most of us managers avoid these guys at the end of season league dinners. They're the sort of blokes who won't shake your hand when they lose, and give it the Charlie big one when they win. Classy, yet they keep getting jobs. I've seen these sorts of managers threaten to throw players through windows at half time, or seen them throw white boards at players. They are also the sort of guys who ignore players after games (players need you most after a bad game) or who blame defeat on everyone but themselves. I never understand managers who publicly dig out their players in the press or in the clubhouse after games.
I know some very talented young managers who have given up on the game, as these shouty guys get jobs ahead of them, and they find it disheartening. What a complete waste of talent. Chairmen seem to think managers who shout, kick and scream for 90 minutes are passionate. I remember one chairman asking me why I wasn't loud like the opposition manager, who'd spend the whole game prowling round his dug out screaming abuse at his players and the match officials. Is that really passion? I prefer to trust my players. We've trained and prepared the best we can, so let them get on with it. Yes I will give instruction in games to help them, I may change the formation several times (my players have rehearsed 2 or 3 different formations on the training ground), and I want to win, just like my players. Players will make mistakes, so what, we all make mistakes. Players don't deliberately set out to play badly or make mistakes. One opposition manager I know, he's retired now, used to say to me when we came out of the changing rooms before kick off that we should just go for a pint together in the club bar and let the players get on with it, we'd done our bit. He was the most chilled out manager I ever came across, yet he was very successful wherever he managed.
There are other managers around, young and upcoming guys, who I think are outstanding, and some will probably end up in the football league. They understand the game, are thinkers and motivators and players love playing for them. Just because they don't spend all game abusing people, doesn't make them not passionate."