SINGING THE BLUES

They might not have much sup­port, but finds out why Jim Cooper loves boss­ing Metropoli­tan Po­lice…

Late Tackle Football Magazine - - CONTENTS -

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

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