There’s so many dif­fer­ent ways of be­ing a leader in the game of foot­ball. Some lead vo­cally and some lead by their ac­tions. Most lead­ers are be­lieved to be the ones that are spot­ted scream­ing and shout­ing on a Satur­day af­ter­noon, but this is far from true. At times, those who are scream­ing and shout­ing are the ones who are try­ing to de­flect from a bad per­for­mance of their own. But to the fans it looks great. A good leader for me is one who can iden­tify how to speak to cer­tain team­mates as each and ev­ery one of us is dif­fer­ent. Some can take a mouth­ful of abuse which will then get the best out of us, to give us that lit­tle mo­ti­va­tion we need. Oth­ers need to be spo­ken to qui­etly with an arm round them, to maybe calm them down and make them feel more com­posed again. There’s no hid­ing the fact that dur­ing a game, if things aren’t go­ing well some play­ers will start to crum­ble un­der pres­sure. Then the vi­cious cir­cle be­gins. Shy­ing away from re­ceiv­ing the ball, pulling out of tack­les which then takes its toll on the team’s per­for­mance, not just in­di­vid­u­ally. One of the best lead­ers I have played un­der was Rhys Day when I played for Alder­shot. I say this as he un­der­stood me and what I needed dur­ing a game de­pend­ing on how things were go­ing. But on a big­ger scale he knew what was needed for the team. A funny guy off the pitch, but as soon as we trained he turned into Mr Pro­fes­sional. No laugh­ing and jokes were to be had, it was work time. As he was our cap­tain, this set the tone for how we all should be. Michael Du­berry was an­other one but of a dif­fer­ent kind when I played for Wy­combe Wan­der­erers. Be­cause of his name and stature, he earned the re­spect of the boys from the off. ‘What he says goes’, was the only way the lads knew. Even though he was com­ing to­wards the end of his ca­reer when at Wy­combe, his per­for­mances were to be ad­mired. He was a leader in the way he played. Big, strong and com­mand­ing. Dan­nie Bul­man at Craw­ley Town was ar­guably the most-liked man I’ve ever come across in foot­ball, so for him to be cap­tain was prob­a­bly what ev­ery­one wished for. He wasn’t very vo­cal, but what he did do was set the tempo for our per­for­mance, week in, week out. He was a work­horse. I re­mem­ber at times in games he would run past me to shut the op­po­si­tion down in games. I asked him ‘why?’ His re­ply was, ‘I just love run­ning!’ Not the most gifted foot­baller in the world, but he’s had a bril­liant ca­reer. To be play­ing League One foot­ball at 38 is no mean feat, to then only drop down to League Two aged 39! He’s most def­i­nitely the type of per­son you’d rather on your team than against you.

High stan­dards

Man­agers give some­one an arm­band th­ese days to go out and lead by ex­am­ple, but at Chelms­ford this season we have many lead­ers. Dur­ing pre-season the gaffer was dish­ing out the cap­taincy to dif­fer­ent peo­ple as the choices were end­less. From El­liot Omozusi, Mickey Spil­lane and Anthony Church, and prob­a­bly a cou­ple more that could have been con­sid­ered. It’s quite scary in com­par­i­son as to how I could match each one of th­ese up with ex-team-mates I men­tioned ear­lier on in the ar­ti­cle. El­liot is a quiet char­ac­ter, but oozes class in the way he plays. He’s heard lit­tle and of­ten through­out matches, most of the time with con­struc­tive crit­i­cism or en­cour­age­ment. He can al­ways be heard shout­ing ‘let’s go to work’, time and time again in the chang­ing room come 3 o’clock Satur­day. Mickey is the loud type who has the re­spect of the boys, not only from the ca­reer he’s had but the way in which he keeps the chang­ing room bounc­ing! A lit­tle bit of a moaner at times but for the bet­ter rea­sons. I think this all stems from hav­ing high stan­dards from com­ing from the leagues above. ‘Churchy’, I’m sure, will al­ways be seen as a leader in the way he goes about his busi­ness on the pitch. He’ll be the first to tell you that some­times he’s guided too much by his heart and doesn’t think enough with his head, but it’s dif­fi­cult to take that out of his game. A player like this is in­valu­able to any team. If things aren’t go­ing well it’s nice to know that you can look be­side you and see that he hasn’t given up yet and nei­ther should we. That’s the kind of in­fec­tious at­ti­tude he has. Ex-Mar­gate man­ager Nikki Bull once told me that he signed as many play­ers as he could in the sum­mer of 2016, who were cap­tains of their pre­vi­ous club. He wanted a team full of lead­ers. Cap­tains, lead­ers, how­ever you want to phrase it, don’t need man­ag­ing. They would be trusted to go out there and do things the right way, which makes a man­ager’s job a hell of a lot eas­ier. They don’t need to be told any­thing more than once, as it’s taken on board the first time. So, there’s no doubt about it that lead­ers can come in all dif­fer­ent forms, but all types bring some­thing to the ta­ble. We’re for­tu­nate to have plenty within our squad at Chelms­ford this season which will help drive us on to achieve the suc­cess that we want.

Cheers, Scotty!

PIC­TURE: Ac­tion Images

GOOD DAYS: My old Alder­shot cap­tain Rhys Day, Michael Du­berry, inset, and Nikki Bull, far left

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