The reality of Football: Winning and losing a way of life

By Gavin Blackwell

I am often asked the best and worst aspects of doing the job I do. For me personally it is the winning and losing – those are the things that we have to handle the most during a long season. It is important for the highs not to be too high and the lows not to be too low, it is certainly a very fine line. 

The worst things can be sitting on the coach following a long away journey, no one is saying very much and you are pretty much left to your own thoughts – we have certainly experienced a couple of those in recent weeks. 

I like all of us give up so much with the dedication and commitment to the role. You miss out on life by being involved in a club, especially with you kids growing up. I have grandchildren now; and when I look at them, I think how I missed my daughters growing up and being bridesmaids or playing in the school plays. Sue and the family have made sacrifices, we have missed out on family events because of me working, we’ve not gone to weddings because I am at work, gone to weddings and left early,arrived late at birthdays or engagement parties, worked Boxing Day and other Bank holidays. We’ve never gone on holiday during the football season, there has been np stag dos, I have missed them all family life suffered so much.

The demands of a job in football are excessive and is reflected in the time commitment required. The story is told by my daughter who bought her friend’s home one afternoon to see an unusual sight. Due to the inclement weather, our game had been called off I was sleeping on the sofa in my club tracksuit my daughter points to the “sleeping beauty” and says to her friends “look I told you I had a father.”

During my many years I am often asked “You’re doing well at the minute aren’t you?” yes, we are but you are only ever as good as your last game. It is important not to get carried away and as a management team to have sixth sense and that is being guarded against complacency.

I am still a passionate football man I have had to learn to control a flat line. Passion is often needed to get the best out of yourself and the players something I feel is missing today. The merry-go-round keeps spinning and throwing people off into other club’sphysio’s barely have time to be emotionally invested in their club and so do, they care? Does it ruin their weekend when that team loses? Does it ruin their weekend when a centre half gets some bad news about an injury? I don’t know if it does. 

Winning and losing means so much to me especially in massive games because I care so much about the players because I am so passionate about the team doing well. Even on holiday in the summer you’re on the phone you become completely engulfed in the environment it literally is a way of life.

I will end with the words of John Motson last line of his commentary in the closing moments of the 1979 FA Cup Final. “What must they be thinking on the bench Fred Street the Arsenal physio on the right seems to know it’s almost there it is now Arsenal have won the cup.”

You have to love it. 

Enjoy the game,


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