Positional sense

A look at the increasingly obscure job titles that are created at football clubs

MANAGER – 20th century
Typical day: 7.00am Gets to ground at first light. Goes to shops for light bulbs, post it notes, and pine fresh toilet duck. 9.00 – On the phone to business manager of a leading Spanish club negotiating £23 million transfer deal. 9.15 Talking multi million pound contract with player’s agents. 9.30 Cleans toilets, replaces lightbulbs, dusts trophy cabinet. 10.30 Secures deal on transfer. 11.00 Denies transfer rumours to local and national press. 11.15. Visits estate agent to buy luxury suburban castle near golf course for new player. 13.00 Announces signing of new player. 13.10 Has clear the air meeting with first team players unhappy about new player’s massive wages. 14.00 Services lawnmower and mends goal nets. 5.30 Shows kids’ birthday party group round stadium. Presents birthday boy with cake. Changes into Freddie the Footie Clown suit and performs slapstick routine. 17.30 Picks team for tonight’s game
If he could sign one player it would be: David Batty
Motto: The chairman makes work for idle hands.

MANAGER – 21st century
Typical week: Friday 16.30pm Phone in team for Saturday’s game from health spa. Saturday 14.45pm Arrives at ground. 17.00 Chat with press and TV. 19.00 Deny rumours about passionate affair with soap opera star in jokey, it’s perfectly possible, however, kind of way. Sunday 14.00 Satellite TV punditry (“Yes, I was at the Milan match in 95 when he scored the hat-trick”). Monday 9.00 Check on investments with broker before jetting off for a few days, maybe to Spain on water skiing holiday or to Beverley Hills to discuss cameo role in new action movie with expatriot Czech director.
If he could sign one player it would be: Ronaldo
Motto: Life’s too short, you know what I’m saying?

Typical week: Monday to Friday Plays golf with club directors and local businessmen. Props up bar in golf club complaining about players’ wage demands (even though they couldn’t trap a bag of cement, most of ‘em!) and recalling the good old days when a win bonus was a joint of lamb from chairman’s butchers shop or a set of spanners, nearly new, army surplus, no questions asked, guv. In the evening appears as guest speaker at local Rotary clubs. Tells booze and brawling anecdotes about Sixties team mates and calls for return of national service to get some discipline back in this great nation of ours. Saturday turns up for match and spends entire game asking who the well-built black lad in the number five shirt is.
If he could sign one player it would be: Martin Peters (“Alf once told me, confidentially, that Mart was 10 years ahead of his time”)
Motto: Work hard, play hard.


Typical day: 7.30am appears on cable TV breakfast show to discuss crass commercialisation of the people’s game with man dressed as a carrot. 9.00 arrives at ground to find The Gaffer has called a press conference. Hangs around at the back trying to find what is going while looking as if he knows all about it. 9.30 Fields questions from the media about the fact that baby-grows in club shop do not conform to British fire safety standards. 9.31 Realises has been mistaken for deputy commercial director (merchandising). Again. 10.00 Takes first team training. Wears old Third Division championship medal just to show foreign stars that they’re not the only people who have won things. 10.15 goes back to office because everyone is ignoring him. Finds Dutch gentleman sitting at his desk. 10.45 finally finds The Gaffer replacing a tyre on the team coach. Gaffer asks what he has done about these dangerous baby-grows as he has little niece himself and it would break his heart if anything happened to the poor mite. 11.00 Finishes convincing The Gaffer that he is not deputy commercial director (merchandising) but assistant manager. 11.15 Comes to terms with the fact he was fired two weeks ago and replaced with European coach, but nobody informed him because they couldn’t remember what he looked like. 11.30 Phones local paper to tell them he has been stabbed in the back by the club he has given blood, sweat and tears to for the past twelve months. Journalist on the other end of the line asks him to spell his name, twice. 12.00 Goes down the social club.
If he could sign one player it would be: Phil Stant
Motto: It’s about heart as well as brains.

YOUTH DEVELOPMENT OFFICERTypical day: 6.30am rises to sound of bugle blown by Youth Development Sergeant-Major. 6.45 Has cold shower. 7.00 Oversees youth team eating hearty high protein fry-up at Mrs. Bertha Gasket’s Boarding house. 8.00 Leads short boys in stretching exercises while watching skinny boys eat second breakfast. 8.30 Heads brisk walk and collection of fascinating items for club nature table (eg. pine cone which has been nibbled by squirrel, owl pellet etc). 9.30 Takes assembly and hymns. Supervises skinny boys eating third breakfast. 10.00 Weight Lifting. 10.30 Teaches deportment class with special focus today on “etiquette in the betting shop”. 11.00 Quiet time. Short boys lie flat on ground as this is best position for growing. Skinny boys have early lunch. 12.00 Brings out the footballs 12.03 Puts footballs away again. 12.05 Leads cross-country run. Skinny boys made to stop at pub and drink several pints of iron-rich stout while short boys dangle by arms from nearby trees. 1.00 Supervises lunch followed by snooker.
If he could buy one player it would be: David Platt (great example to youngsters attitude wise)
Motto: Healthy roots means healthy plants.

From WSC 128 October 1997. What was happening this month