Vignette 4: The manager’s test

Meeting a team manager for the first time was always... interesting. Gallin, over the years, had created his own loose typology based on his encounters. Managers ranged from Perfect Professionals right through to Obstructive Pigs. Gallin’s most loathed manager, however, just had to be the Machiavellian *****.
The home manager looked Gallin up and down, taking in his brilliantly polished boots and beautifully pressed kit. Gallin did his best to deflect the manager’s premeditated and inflated contemptuous gaze with a positive and self-assured guise of his own. A swan on the water, Gallin once thought, the epitome of sophistication and calm on the surface, but below driven by tumultuous fears and self-doubting. He swallows as inconspicuously as he possibly can.
‘Good afternoon. Team sheet, please,’ Gallin announces more loudly than he had intended, holding out his right hand. The manager pulls out a scrunched-up piece of paper from his tracksuit pocket and hands it to Gallin without a word. ‘Thank you, and the match ball?’
The manager bends down and pulls out an almost fully-inflated football from a scruffy holdall. ‘Here you go, ref,’ the manager says with a wry smile. ‘Anything else for you?’
Gallin takes the ball and squeezes it between the palms of his hands. Some way below pressure and the manager knows it, of course. And Gallin knows that he knows. Unquestionably a Machiavellian *****.
‘Pump it up, please,’ Gallin says bluntly with a forcibly good humoured smile, and gently tosses the ball back into the arms of the manager and walks away. The manager’s head follows Gallin with a roguish grin as he fumbles in the holdall for a hand-pump.

Please share your response on the forum or private message us if you prefer. When responding to our stories, you might consider the following:
o Do our stories resonate or remind you of a ‘real’ scenario that you have witnessed or been involved in? If so, please share the scenario with us in as much detail as possible.
o Do our stories reflect a problem or issue in football that you think needs to be addressed? If so, please tell us why it is an issue and what you might propose to resolve the issue.
o Conversely, do our stories reflect something that is good about the game – a reason for your continued passion and involvement? If so, please tell us about this.
o Reflecting on your own experiences, is there anything missing from our story that you think is important to highlight? If so, please share with us some of your experiences and interactions with referees, giving as much detail as possible.
We would also welcome more general feedback from the football community about the ‘realness’ of our stories.
Many thanks in advance for your help!
Ben Ives and Ben Clayton
A&H International