David Gibson Crutes

Member Article

I could have turned professional (?)

This is a traditional source of conversation in locker rooms, bars, spas, holiday beaches, swimming pools up and down the country and across Europe no doubt… If only Newcastle United, Liverpool, West Ham, Ipswich Town, Arsenal, Manchester City (add or delete where appropriate) had recognised my outstanding talent as a footballer then I could have been a professional as well.

The Tipster recalls when it first dawned on him that he would not actually make it in the professional game. At the time The Tipster was 32 - yes as many of you will appreciate it takes a while for The Tipster to cotton on to things sometimes - and the manager of the club (I use that word loosely) suggested that my sterling performances in the centre of the park springing the ball around like Jan Molby were perhaps coming to an end.

I remember jogging onto the pitch and taking up my position in defence after receiving a rollicking the previous game from the said manager (who in a better time could have managed England [of course can’t we all?]). “What on earth are you doing Tipster?” he shouted. “I am taking up my position in defence”. The retort came hard and focused, “When I said left back Tipster I meant left back in the dressing room not left back in defence”. Ouch, that hurt.

There comes a time when performance starts to slide or we recognise that maybe we cannot do what we used to do. So what is a good manager to do? Do they:-

  • Berate the individual publically.
  • Push them into a new position and hope they get on okay.
  • Ignore the situation.
  • Try and transfer them off somewhere else (so often this has been the fate The Tipster has faced).
  • Just kick them into touch unceremoniously.

Of course there comes a time when a manager must make tough decisions - should I have a Bentley or a new Audi A5 - sports back for example. However, when an individual faces challenging issues regarding their performance it is often best to step back, look and listen and then go through the following procedure:-

  • Why is this occurring? This employee who was so effective and efficient, a real rain maker - why has there been a reduction in performance? It may be the case that there are family issues or health issues that are at play that may be having an impact on performance. They should be carefully, confidentially, and sensitively considered.
  • Is further training required for the individual? Now the obvious trap is that sometimes people believe that those who are, how shall we say, older cannot take on board new skills or new training or are not willing to do so. This is a horrible myth which means that often we fail to utilise the strengths and abilities of more experienced members of staff. There is also the danger of facing an age discrimination claim as well.
  • See if the team around that individual is working to its most efficient and maximum capabilities. It may be the case that they have forgotten how to communicate, how to rely on each other or how to trust each other for various reasons. Such issues should be tackled to ensure that there is a good and harmonious working environment.
  • Finally, get alongside the individual and talk about a game plan to reinvigorate their performance. Is it the case that there is suitable alternative employment within the organisation that they may want to progress or consider? Is it the case that they need a new set of challenges?
  • Anything you agree should be recorded in writing so both parties know exactly where they are going.

You may note that The Tipster has often strayed into territories which are not traditional employment law issues. However, the principles established above and the philosophy is one which ensures that there are good employer/employee relationships. Surely that is our goal. Time spent in looking at how teams are working, how individuals are working and adopting good management can save a great deal of time, strike out inefficiencies and save on legal fees.

Now answer this little question - who should be the next England manager?

  • Harry Redknapp
  • Stuart Pearce
  • Rafa Benitez/Carlo Ancelotti/Arsene Wenger, or
  • The Tipster?

I know who I would vote for.

This was posted in Bdaily's Members' News section by David Gibson .

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