By Anton Horan – @AntonJ79
Why is it that you no longer see a manager or head coach sitting upstairs in the director’s box for the first part of a game?
Okay, so I’m a little out of touch with the big issues by highlighting this one but I feel it needs to be explored. Growing up in Scotland and watching football on television it was common to see the manager of a team sit in the Director’s box alongside the hoi polloi for a portion of the game.
How long the gaffer stayed there would be entirely dependent on the performance of his team. Should the team be struggling he would likely move down to the dugout to make tactical changes (or latterly he would get on the mobile phone/two-way system and instruct his assistant to make changes). For the Scots out there, who can forget the classic telephone used at Celtic Park allowing the likes of Billy McNeill and Walter Smith to bark orders to the touchline? The phone, I assure you, would not have looked out of place in a Glasgow living room.
You may be wondering what benefit a manager could derive from joining his own bosses up in the stand. Well, put simply, it afforded him a better view of the game. Being that bit higher up allowed him to see the game from a better angle, giving him the opportunity to better judge his team’s overall performance. Better this than having to peer through bodies on the pitch to see what was going on over on the opposite flank.
The fascinating thing, however, was that this little appearance in the director’s box rarely lasted longer than about twenty minutes. Sometimes a manager would stay there until half-time but he would never spend the second half there. The manager, it seems, was basically trying to get a feel for the shape of the game; to assess if it was going the same way he had planned prior to kick off. If not, he would trot down to the touch-line to ensure his influence was well and truly felt by his on-field charges.
This part of the game, however, appears to have almost disappeared. Notwithstanding the occasions when a manager is serving a touch-line ban, I can’t recall seeing a manager taking his place in the director’s box for many a year. Whether it’s down to ‘old school’ managers like Walter Smith no longer plying their trade in the game; or whether it’s down to managers and coaches having access to better technology, thus allowing them to rely on live television pictures to relay the game from a better angle, I’m not sure.
Whatever the reason, it’s nice to reminisce about some of the old habits we have witnessed over the years whilst enjoying our favourite sport. It may be old school, but we love it!
Why is this a dying method of managing? Are there any other old habits you quite like? Tweet us @talkingbaws or comment below. Watch out for Rob Boulton’s blog tomorrow.