When in doubt let them grow: how to be a better football manager

Nothing good comes from anger… does it? I’m the manager at Newport County, a club with a virtually empty bank account, reliant on striking gold in the loan market. If I can take the club out of League Two and up the divisions, I’ll be a hero but even if I can achieve that dream, I’m probably going to experience many moments of disappointment and frustration.

The authoritarian manager

I grew up supporting and watching Manchester United. Their manager at the time was Sir Alex Ferguson so when I first considered what sort of virtual football manager I should be, I immediately thought I wanted to emulate aspects of his personality: his discipline, high standards, unforgiving nature, stubbornness, his refusal to accept less than 100% effort and commitment on and off the pitch. But Sir Alex was one-of-a-kind and, as player power grows, it’s hard to see another manager juggling almost total control and constant success.

The cocktail of no money and sparse talent at Newport could make a saint swear and that’s what I feel like doing at some or all of my players after half of our games but it doesn’t work and it just makes me more frustrated. So I’m going to take a different approach. I think I’ll enjoy managing Newport and playing the game if I take a less hands-on approach. I’m going to:

  • Focus on developing an attractive play style and not worry too much about results
  • Work on helping my players improve even if I don’t see a long-term future for them at the club
  • Favour Welsh players
  • Keep all players 25 and younger unless they come to the end of their contract and they’re deemed not good enough
  • Only sign a new player when another leaves

How do you manage your team? Which managers do you take inspiration from? I think the management style you choose is so important and it would be interesting to learn what works for you. Tweet me @fmscrapbook

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