Football is the most popular sport in the world, with players and managers routinely making the headlines for their exploits both on and off the pitch. However, if you dig a little deeper, there are numerous roles within the hierarchy, which are equally as important to the success of any given side. We take a look at three of less high-profile positions, and shed some light on the importance of these individuals.
Not every club is currently in a position to hire their own club psychologist, however it is an increasingly common occurrence at the highest level. The role first entered the public consciousness around 2011, and their importance has increased tenfold over the last twelve months. Pippa Grange was hired by the FA to work with the England team, and she was tasked with helping squad members to “navigate and the mental and emotional aspects of the game”. This was deemed to be a successful experiment with Gareth Southgate’s side reaching the semi-finals of the competition, and also overcoming their penalty shootout hoodoo in the process. The Three Lions have continued their progress, and have reached the final four in the Nations League, and they are currently priced up as the 2.75 favourites in the latest football betting markets.
Leicester enlisted the help of performance psychologist Ken Way during their unexpected 2016 Premier League triumph. He admitted that Jamie Vardy “struggled a little in terms of belief” prior to his arrival, and although he insisted on taking very little credit for the striker’s prolific spell at the King Power, he certainly played a significant part in helping the former Non-League star find his feet in the top flight.
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The majority of clubs live or die by their signings. The unveiling of a glamorous acquisition may result in an outpouring of excitement amongst fans, but it’s the unearthing of raw talent that is vitally important, particularly to clubs who ply their trade in the lower echelons.
Norwich’s recent promotion to the Premier League was largely down to savvy recruitment in the summer months, and Stuart Webber’s eye for a player was absolutely vital in assembling one of the most exciting squads in the second tier. They will have a comparitively miniscule budget to play with during the 2019-2020 Premier League campaign, but Webber’s team of scouts are likely to have already earmarked potential bargains ahead of their return to the top flight.
The aforementioned Leicester City’s success was also partly credited to Steve Walsh, who can claim responsibility for bringing N’Golo Kante to the English game. The French midfielder was a relative unknown prior to arriving at the King Power, and very few players have had quite the same impact, especially after arriving in such a low-key fashion.
The club secretary rarely gets a mention, but plays a vitally important role behind the scenes. They conduct all of the crucial administrative duties, which enable a club to continue competing.
They are the point of contact for anyone wanting to liaise with the club, and they are also responsible for ensuring the team have somewhere to stay overnight ahead of crucial away games.
Without the secratary, very few transfers would be formally concluded, whilst board meetings would also seldom take place.
There are far too many duties to list, however it’s quite clear that the club secretary is the lifeblood of any football club, particularly those who are playing in the third tier or below.
There are many pivotal roles within a professional football club, yet the majority of them rarely earn the praise that they deserve. These unsung heroes continue to ensure high standards are achieved off the pitch, yet they are unlikely to make the headlines on a weekly basis. They help keep the beautiful game ticking along, and should take enormous credit for facilitating many of the stories and much of the drama which helps keep fans on the edge of their seats.