|'Respect Campaign A Farce' - 17th October
The manager of FTL Futbol Hellenic Division One East Henley Town claims the only way the FA’s Respect Campaign will work is to ban swearing at football. Roddy Slater states 'Respect Campaign a farce' on the Get Reading Web Site – Goal Post.
The Henley Town boss believes “nothing has changed” since the new drive was introduced for the start of this season. Roddy’s full column below explains his frustrations and reveals a solution to the problem, something I agree with him about, but, it takes brave Match Official’s to back the Programme and the Hellenic League’s ‘Zero Tolerance’ Directive on ‘Inappropriate Language
'Respect Campaign a farce!'
By Roddy Slater
I write this article with a bit between my teeth and slight anger in my fingers. I’ve watched on TV, been involved at club level and read in newspapers and on the net the BIG drive that the FA is putting on the RESPECT campaign. The reason for my frustrations is two-fold – one from my end of the scale and the other from the top end. I wrote a similar article last year on this subject but my views and comments will now appear different.
Respect Programme: We have to go into the referee’s dressing room at 2.15pm with captain and manager. There goes part of our warm up. And what for? To be told no jewellery, to be told he doesn’t accept swearing on the pitch, to be told he will speak with captain to try to let him deal with issues first and to be told he will try and let the game flow. AND this has changed from last year. HOW? Then we have to come out of our changing rooms at virtually 2.50pm, both teams together, and then form a line awaiting our national anthems – oh no, sorry, this is a Hellenic League match.
We stand in front of our sold out crowd of 30 people and then proceed to walk in the correct formation to shake the officials and the other teams hands. Warm up and team talk interrupted again and we have gained or given respect HOW?
We kick off, a decision is contested by one of the teams, F*** OFF is shouted at the ref, the free kick is given and a team scores, for F*** Sake ref is shouted from the opposing bench, F***** Hell is shouted by the team who have conceded and kick off is taken to restart the game. SO can you now tell me were has the hand shake and chat before the game and the posters on the wall established RESPECT! Nowhere - because nothing has changed. I am all for respecting officials and the opposition. Last season I made a big push in my team to ensure that we didn’t swear on the pitch, we didn’t swear from the dugout, we left the officials alone to do their jobs and we aimed to show respect from the manager through to the players. We as a club achieved the Fair Play Award not necessarily for that but we still achieved it. What did we gain as a team? Initially during the season we gained RESPECT from the officials and RESPECT from the other team because we just tried to get on with the game. By the end of the season we gained officials who would give decisions more against us than the other teams. Why, because we wouldn’t complain, poor challenges and injury-type challenges were not carded against our oppositions because we wouldn’t complain, so how exactly did that help us...IT DIDN’T!
Did I change my tactics for this year? My aim is not to accept the following – I contest decisions made by officials as I don’t want my players getting booked for dissent. It means I am more vocal than the previous year but without foul language. How do we move forward? The answer for me is still the same as last year. STOP the SWEARING! STOP 10 people surrounding the referee and stop allowing swearing from dugouts. You cannot respect someone who tells you to F OFF or shouts for F sake! That is not passion, it’s just a lack of respect. We have to stop it from the Premiership down.
Don’t tell me you do not accept swearing on the pitch then on 10 separate occasions you are told as an official to F off and for F sake and you do nothing.
I close on this final moan. The difference between players, managers and fans is our positions. A manager must lead his team by example, his passion must be controlled in order to drive his team forward through encouragement and enthusiasm – enthusiasm isn’t swearing at your player, that’s called disrespect. Players will play relative to their example set by managers, players have passion too and use this by winning tackles, winning headers, scoring a goal and blocking shots. Swearing at officials or a teammate isn’t passion – it’s disrespectful. Fact!
Fans are supporters, only they have reams of passion. They express their passion in whatever way they can, sometimes positive, sometimes very negative and disgraceful – but they are fans. Don’t judge me when I watch Celtic play Rangers, because all I am is a FAN. Judge me when Henley plays Ascot or Reading Town or Kintbury. And if you hear me swear at the officials or at my players, fine me, tell me and show me and I will pay £10 to charity each time I do it in the dugout on match day.
But I can tell you now, I won’t be giving you even £10 because as a manager our examples are for our players and that is how we will get the Respect campaign to work.
Respect your players by the way you treat them and the language you use, respect the officials by the way you treat them and the language you use and respect yourself more than anything by the examples you set. Now in my opinion, ban swearing and the RESPECT campaign WILL WORK. Good luck to all this season and Play hard, play to win, but most of all enjoy yourself while doing it.
Office Comment: Roddy is one of 57 people who manage 1st teams in the Hellenic League. There are others who have the same ideology as Roddy but unfortunately they are in the minority of those 57 managers. I would say to Roddy and others like him please keep your high standard going and work to convert the others. It is interesting to note from Hellenic Office records this season that at the 30th September the total number of players cautioned compared to end September 2007 is down 10%, 707 (786) and Sending Off offences are down 30% 56 as opposed to 84.
In recent League Bulletins a ‘Misconduct League Table' has been produced. This information is now posted onto the League Web Site and will be regularly updated in the public domain allowing Hellenic followers to be able to see this information which has been agreed by the League Management Board.
League General Manager
On behalf of the Management Board
The ‘Misconduct League Table' is now on line and can be accessed from the left hand menu under League Admin.