The Football League Paper - - GRAHAM WESTLEY -

I HAVE a say­ing that my first-team coach Dino Maam­ria al­ways used and I adopted; Love Foot­ball and Foot­ball Will Love You.

The one thing I can say has per­me­ated ev­ery suc­cess­ful group of play­ers I have man­aged is a love of the game. I thrive as a man­ager in the midst of am­bi­tious play­ers who just want to get bet­ter at the game they love. Lads who want to learn on all lev­els about per­sonal and col­lec­tive bet­ter­ment. Lads who show their love of the game ev­ery time they are near a train­ing pitch or a foot­ball. Lads who eat, sleep, drink and breathe foot­ball.

Hav­ing named my team and subs on Fri­day, I re­ceived a text from one of my young play­ers, selected in one of his first squad ap­pear­ances. It sim­ply said ‘Thank you for the op­por­tu­nity gaffer’. He didn’t need to say any­thing. But I loved that he did.

I can­not tell you how de­lighted it left me feel­ing. How much it re­stored my faith af­ter a tough time this sea­son. I love the feel­ing of en­ergy that hun­gry young play­ers give me.

We should all, al­ways, be grate­ful for the op­por­tu­nity to be in­volved in the game. Ev­ery player should be grate­ful for ev­ery shirt he is of­fered. We should all make sure that we leave ev­ery sinew in the game. As fans, play­ers, man­age­ment; we must all make it our busi­ness to give our clubs our hearts and souls. And to be grate­ful the game is there, our clubs are there, and we’re healthy enough to par­tic­i­pate in what­ever ca­pac­ity.

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