Just about managing 14.2

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To The Promised Land

Don’t tell the Hapoel Ashkelon FC board, but there’s not much in football management that I’m really good at.

But there are a few things. One is low-level signings, by which I mean signing players who:

  • don’t cost much
  • aren’t playing at a high level
  • haven’t achieved much
  • on paper (i.e., in a database) don’t look up to much

but who succeed for us at doing just the job we want.

Take, for example, Liran Asefa:

I signed him as a kid for nowt. He did a fantastic job for us, as player and captain. There were times when he seemed to carry us through matches single-handed. And he set a club record for appearances (264, in the league).

The reason I can honestly, rather than boastfully, that I’m good at this because typically, when I sell them on, their performance declines. Look at Asefa’s history, which is a case in point:

He dropped a level, yet his performance level declined.

Now I wish two things. First, that I knew the secret of my own success, so that I could optimise the process. But I don’t. It’s something to do with having an established a pattern of play and so knowing what I’m after; it’s a lot to do with looking at the player in the round (for example, personality, career history, injury and disciplinary record) rather than just his attributes; and also to do with immensely diligent, focused, scouting (by talented scouts); and finally a fondness for iconoclasm — just because the rest of the world doesn’t rate him, doesn’t mean he’s not good. But all that doesn’t quite capture it: there’s something that happens intuitively.

Second, i wish I was good at the opposite — splashing the cash. Because my just-about-managing approach, based on signing low-level Asefa types, has taken us as far as it can.  If we’re going to progress from being runners-up, and knock Haifa off their perch, I’m going to have to bring in some quality signing and pay good money for them.

Trouble is, I’ve always been rubbish at that.

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Notts County supporter, at least nominally. Regularly watch Stevenage, Cambridge Utd, and Peterborough. On FM, favour teams from the eastern Med, especially on Greek islands. Addicted to searching for liberos and to signing Darren Lavery. According to Liam Billington, I'm 'the Iniesta of Higher Tempo Press' :)