SINGING THE BLUES
They might not have much support, but finds out why Jim Cooper loves bossing Metropolitan Police…
Jim Cooper on life as Met Police boss
FRUSTRATED Hendon fans were drowning their sorrows in the bar after their side´s 2-0 home defeat by the Metropolitan Police.
“When they scored there wasn’t any cheering from their supporters,” reflected one.
“That’s because they haven’t got any,” piped up one of his mates.
It was an easy riposte and has a ring of truth to it. If you asked someone what their favourite team was and they said ‘the Metropolitan Police’, you’d probably think it was a bit strange.
But long-serving manager Jim Cooper insists the boys in blue do have a few loyal followers.
“We have actually got quite a few people who have no connection to the players but are supporters because they like the way we play,” he said. “We like to play football on the floor.
“But we are not a town or a city so people haven´t got any connection to us that way. I understand that – that´s the way it is.”
After almost 13 years at the helm, Cooper, a detective sergeant in his day job, is used to the differences in managing the boys in blue as compared to other Non-League teams. For example, he said: “We cannot have players who have a criminal record and therefore we’ve missed out on numerous players we would love to see play for the police but quite rightly so.”
And he’s also got used to the fact that the chances of actually calling on serving police officers to play for the team are pretty slim. “We´ve got one in Neil Barrett, but the problem is we just cannot get them off duty,” he said. “Quite rightly the public want to see police officers on the streets.
“We can’t get them to play whereas before they’d get time off.”
After a superb season last time around when they won the Surrey Senior Cup and reached the Ryman Premier play-offs, this campaign has seen the Met struggle in the lower part of the table in the early stages.
And Cooper is honest enough to admit that he wasn’t in the right frame of mind when the new season kicked off.
“We were so close to making the play-off final last year and then we came back with another budget cut,” he said.
“I was demoralised at the start of the season and probably three or four weeks in I wasn´t the same person nor was Gavin (Macpherson – assistant manager). But now we’ve said it is what is is, we’ve got what we’ve got and we’ll have to do as well as we can with what we’ve got.
“We lost a hell of a lot of players, but they’re playing higher so you can’t begrudge them that. We would have loved to have kept the side that we grew last year but it wasn’t to be.”
If all this sounds like one long grumble, then far from it. For despite the vagaries of bossing the East Molesey-based side, Cooper wouldn’t have it any other way.
“I’ve got a job I’ve moulded since I’ve been in charge,” he explained. “I work Monday to