GIVE US POWER TO HANDLE BALOTELLI MOMENTS
SO WHAT does a manager do about a player like Mario Balotelli when he disobeys team orders and takes a penalty that the captain is due to take?
In the normal workplace, the average man or woman would probably, justifiably, be sacked for gross misconduct if they acted against instructions that had been given.
Last week, I was told about a player who walked in from training because he didn’t like the session being put on and after a training ground decision had gone against him. I’m not aware if he was punished; I guess he could say he ‘felt a hamstring’ even though his squad knew the reality.
Imagine that on a building site! Imagine telling a foreman that you aren’t painting the walls because you don’t like the colour of the paint! Would you be in a job on the following morning?
Ludicrously, football managers operate in a system in which players can act in these ways and escape censorship.
Certain players can be a law unto themselves.
Steven Gerrard called Balotelli ‘disrespectful’. He will not have used the word lightly. He knows the type of professional conduct that is right and that which is wrong. So do we all.
The sooner that we put managers in a position to punish offenders properly, the sooner we can expect to eliminate such egotistical behaviour.
We don’t want kids thinking authority is there to be undermined. It should be respected for the good of us all.
Of course, authority must be used wisely and implemented with decency. But it is reasonable for a manager to decide who takes a penalty.
And it is reasonable to be able to kick a player out of the door if he publicly disputes and acts against that instruction.
The sooner we create a system that empowers a manager properly, the better. The result will be a more disciplined game setting consistently high standards for the wider audience.