In advance of Havant & Waterlooville’s game at Anfield, the Havant squad made an agreement that any shirts received from Liverpool players, in the after-match shirt swap, would be put into a collective pool. Then lots would be drawn to determine which Havant players would receive which Liverpool players shirt. A very fair system. One which builds the team ethos.
Unfortunately the plan went out of the window. Havant players Alfie Potter and Rocky Baptiste acquired the shirts of Jamie Carragher and Steve Gerrard. They are refusing to part with them.
Their sense of acquisitiveness is understandable. However, it may serve to undermine the very thing that has got Havant to the FA Cup Fourth Round. Their team-spirit. Whilst the players actions may seem to be of small consequence, and forgotten amidst the euphoria of the day, they are putting their own interests before the team. They are going against the spirit of the team-code. And damaging trust.
It will be interesting to see how Havant build upon their FA Cup adventure. Will their sense of confidence and belief now carry them through the Football League pyramid? Or will the adventure be a happy one-off?.
The players and management need to assay everything that they have done well on this FA Cup journey. And make sure that any subtle feelings of resentment about the shirt-swap are spoken about. It would be unfortunate for all their good-work to be subtly undermined by such a simple thing.