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Upper Hutt Leader : May 18th 2011
38 UPPER HUTT LEADER, MAY 18, 2011 NEWS Have some pity for the poor old coach SPORTS TALK JOSEPH ROMANOS Too nice: Alex Ferguson is in trouble again. Photo: REUTERS Isee Manchester United manager Alex Ferguson is copping it for being nice, which is ironic because it has not often been a failing of his. Ferguson has regularly incurred sideline bans for his critical comments about football match officials. Now he s in the gun for praising referee Howard Webb before Webb controlled the vital premier league match between Manchester United and Chelsea. He described Webb as the best man for the job , which, absurdly, has led to a charge of improper con- duct. The comment violated an Eng- lish Football Association rule prohibiting managers from speaking about a referee before a match. Ferguson has just completed a five- match ban and incurred a £30,000 [NZ$38,134] fine for criticising ref- eree Martin Atkinson. In 2009 he was banned for four matches and fined £20,000 [NZ$41,192] for accusing Alan Wiley of being physically unfit to control premier league games. Ferguson has served bans of at least two matches on five occasions in the last eight years and received fines totalling £75,000 [NZ$154,473]. Coaches/managers are a fertile source of stories. They get punished for all sorts of reasons way beyond their teams results. Buying and supplying drugs, sexual relationships with youngsters they re coaching, and taking bribes are three of the more outlandish. We haven t had too many outra- geous coaches in New Zealand. One who stood out was basketball coach John Dybvig, who regularly ran foul of the national association in the 1980s, mainly for foul language, though he once refused to bring his team on to the court in time for a match in Christchurch. Intense Kevin Fallon, who coached the All Whites in the 1980s, often ran into problems with officialdom. To judge by his behaviour on the sideline of some Auckland secondary school football games in recent seasons, Fallon still has plenty of fire in his belly. At the 2008 Beijing Olympics, New Zealand men s hockey coach Kevin Marr was banished to the stands for his team s match against Germany, but this was more a technical breach about uniforms than objectionable behaviour of the Dybvig-Fallon cal- ibre. Of course, coaches come in all forms. Some are firebrands, but there are also the likes of Ivan Cleary and Wayne Bennett, rugby league coaches who belong to the seen but not heard category. They have little to say to the media after a game and have turned into an art form the ability to offer a non- comment -- using words but saying nothing. I have considerable sympathy for coaches. It must be incredibly frustrating to throw yourself into coaching a team, to the semi-exclusion even of your family and the non-sport aspects of your life, and then have an idiot of a referee, or a player who simply doesn t train properly or refuses to follow instructions, stuff it up. I d have something to say about it after the game, too. In such cases, it s invariably the coach, not the player, who cops it. If anyone ever doubted how expendable coaches were, we had our own example in 1996, when the New Zealand cricket team toured the West Indies. Chris Cairns and Adam Parore simply walked out on the tour and when it was all over they resumed their test careers while coach Glenn Turner was sacked.
May 11th 2011
May 25th 2011