Thursday, 4 February 2010

Manager Speak

While my monthly work-related sojourn to Amsterdam prevented anything more than a remote following of the Walsall game, thereby precluding any meaningful comment from me (were such considered to be possible under any conditions), I did think that the subsequent club email note on the game provided two excellent examples of great ‘manager speak’.

First, we have Parkinson’s remark that “Therry might have been slightly theatrical in the way he dived, but I thought it was a penalty”. So, poor marks for the execution of the dive, but nothing wrong with the concept. Note to work harder on this on the training ground.

Second, we have their boss Chris Hutchings remarking that: "It (the penalty) looked soft to me the first time I saw it, and normally my instincts aren't wrong .... then 30 seconds into the second half I thought we should have had a penalty, so the inconsistency was there for all to see". Splendid! Just where is the inconsistency? We have a manager believing that a penalty awarded against his side was a mistake and that not giving his side one was also a mistake. We have a referee who believed that one was a penalty and one was not. Surely this reflects total consistency on the part of all concerned. Of course, if Hutchings had argued that the ref’s fault was a consistent bias in our favour, or that his own views on what might constitute a penalty differ according to the decision, he might have been on stronger ground - conceptually, not of course in reality. With the possible exception of Llera’s recent challenge on the Hartlepool forward I’ve never seen a penalty awarded against us that I agreed with. Now there’s consistency for you (even to the extent of the Llera incident being the exception that proves the rule) and, unlike Hutchings, my instincts are never wrong.

On the subject of penalties, it is for sure time to dash off a letter in response to the appeal made on behalf of Bob Curtis. A splendid player and a true Charlton legend. The only problem is that the appeal is for supporters to send their memories of Bob as a player. Try as I might (and I was a mere nipper at that time) the abiding memory is still of the penalty that he missed, the one against Preston in the crucial promotion game. Given that he scored all the others, can we just write it off as another exception that proved the rule?

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