The Football League Paper - - LEAGUE ONE -

I LIS­TENED care­fully to Louis van Gaal talk­ing at last year’s League Man­agers As­so­ci­a­tion man­age­ment con­fer­ence.

He spoke with pas­sion about the ne­ces­sity for a man­ager to learn and re­spect the cul­ture of the club where he was in charge.

It res­onated with me. Dur­ing my early days at Pre­ston North End, a fe­male fan ap­proached me, boil­ing with rage, de­mand­ing to know why I was eat­ing a Jaffa cake. “It’s tan­ger­ine West­ley, bloody tan­ger­ine.” I must ad­mit I had been warned about the in­tense ri­valry be­tween Black­pool (the Tan­ger­ines) and Pre­ston when I wore an or­ange T-shirt to train­ing one day, but I over­looked the con­nec­tion be­tween my choice of bis­cuit and our ri­vals. I went on to change my snack and en­joy some good ban­ter with that lady.

There was a bril­liant mo­ment last week­end as I ar­rived at our ground for our cup-tie with North End. The very same lady found me out and handed me a ‘no hard feel­ings’ box of tea bags so that I could en­joy my cus­tom­ary pre-match cuppa!

They are sit­ting in pride of place on my desk to re­mind me of the won­der­ful hu­mor­ous and hu­man side of foot­ball. For all of the pas­sion and de­sire to win, there is noth­ing like the hu­mour of the peo­ple, who con­stantly make me smile with their ter­race chants.

Foot­ball fans are just bril­liant.

CUPPA: The per­fect gift

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