Football Psychology: Forest Green Rovers – Attention!

football psychologyAnd so Troy Deeney’s six-game tenure at Forest Green Rovers is ended with a not unexpected sacking.

Meaning that Dale Vince has now gone through four managers in a year. Ian Burchnall. Duncan Ferguson. David Horseman. Troy Deeney. Four managers. And potentially two relegations.

Two relegations is not unlucky. Or unjust. It is a consequence of how everything that happens off the field, manifests itself on the field.

You are a bottom of the league operation. Whether you like it or not.

But none of this just happens. As an owner or leader of a club, you have to pay attention. Every day. Every week. If you are not available to do so, then you have to surround yourself with people who can.

It begins with the things that matter to you. What it is the club stands for?

If say, your core values centre around Development, as in people come to Forest Green to develop their careers, then everything is measured by Development.

Every meeting needs to begin, ‘ Tell me a development story from the last week’. ‘Whose improved. In what way?’

These stories become part of the culture you are constantly creating and evolving.

So what if you ask the question, and there are no development stories. Red flag. Why not? What are we going to do about it?

(Note: Development is simply an example here. The Value or Values you stand for could be, Responsibility. Learning. Integrity. Passion. Leadership. As long as it is measurable on a daily and weekly basis).

But if you have no metrics to measure daily life around the club other than results on the pitch, then your inner compass can easily lose its clarity of focus.

Meaning that things drift. Into a fog of poor decisions. Knee jerk reactions. Most of which are too late because the critical moments have passed.

The critical moments when you had chance to address the things which were undermining the operation.

Why? Because you or your team weren’t paying attention. Or you didn’t know what you were meant to be paying attention to. Because you hadn’t made the important things, important.

Changing managers might provide a temporary reprieve. But ultimately if you don’t have collective leadership that is switched on, tuned in and observant of the micro-details of culture, it will be a short term reprieve.

It is said that a small amount of information can tell you a lot. But only if you’re paying attention. For if you’re not eventually Dr. Reality will come to town. Or The New Lawns.


Posted in Football Psychology.