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Football philosophy - Stick to the plan

Happy New Year! I hope everyone had a great festive break!

I think I'm just about recovering from the amount games and travelling! Five games in five days over last weekend, taking in League Two, Blue Square Premier, the Championship and the Premier League. You can't get any better than that, but I'm now paying the price!

There's been a lot of focus on Steve Kean recently. I have no idea how it's going to turn out there, I have no idea about him as a manager as it's far too early and he's only just started, but it amazes me how people make assumptions on the ability of someone before they've even done anything, even at the expense of hurting the club that they support.

From the word go, Kean has been targeted by the home fans. I can't remember one time when he's had there support, but what I do know is, once it starts everyone jumps on the band wagon, fans, press and the general public.

Suddenly because it's written in a paper, talked about on the radio and on message boards, we all have an educated opinion about it! Ludicrous!! I scratch my head and wonder why people can't think for themselves and instead just herd around on the opinions of others?

Fighting against their own fans

Obviously, Blackburn are where they are, it's not good enough, but there are reasons, not excuses, why they've had a poor campaign. Losing key players and injuries for one - and of course they've had to fight against there own fans.

Time will tell if he's a good manager, but looking from the outside-in, all I can say from what I know is that in spite of all that's been thrown at him, he's handled himself in public unbelievably well - and I know many a manager who would have long broken by now and said things they may have regretted.

Football for me, is so much an illusion. Everyone has a strong opinion about it, what a manager has or hasn't, style's of play, good enough or not, yet the reality is very few have enough information to make the statements that they make.

So what you get is flippant, thoughtless remarks and statements, picked up and generated by the media, press, tv and radio.

I used to live up in Stoke as a kid and I go back regularly. On my last visit back in November I was absolutely amazed to hear the response from Stoke fans about there manager. It was laughable.

My Dad still lives up there and had prepped me on the reaction from the fans and how they were turning on Tony Pulis, and this not for the first time. It was the most amazing thing I've heard in a long time.

No one paid any notice to their chants

This from a lot of people around Stoke after a poor run in October and early November, 'He's lost the plot, he's got to go, he's no good, we've had enough, long ball, blah blah blah'. Well, not for the first time but it's a good job no one paid any notice to their chants.

Where are they now? And what has he done for that club? In the Premier League, and not just in, an established Premier League team, FA Cup finalists and Europa League.

What's the stat? If Alex Ferguson was manager at Chelsea under Abramovich he'd have been sacked 12 times by now. Something silly like that.

As this piece is geared toward coaches, what are the lessons that I take from this? I guess the recent run at Dagenham and Redbridge sums it up. They've had a terrible start to the season, bottom of the league, poor form, and of course everyone quick to give their expert and educated verdict on where they'll finish (in October!).

Well, they've a top manager in John Still, they've continued to work at their game plan (finding consistency), no major changes (consistency), they've built on the great team spirit and along the way the manager has plucked another gem of a player out from nowhere.

Changing their tune

The recent result, unbeaten in five with a huge win over big spending Gillingham and Barnet, an FA Cup game against Millwall and out of the drop zone. There's still a long way to go but isn't it funny how people start changing their tune?

So for me, it always comes back to the philosophy.

Whatever it is, stick to it. I write this as much for me as anyone else. As we know in football everyone has an opinion and we also know most people's general opinions are not there own.

History will tell us that staying composed and sticking to the plan is the most important thing.

There are so many examples of great managers and head coaches in all sports who have gone through the same thing, and one of the reasons they are great is because of this.

One of those is Bill Walsh, who is considered was one of the greatest head coaches in NFL history. When he took over at the San Francisco 49ers his record in his first season was 2-14.

Fans opinion

Halfway through the next season, and by then they had only won five and lost 21, it was the worst in the NFL. The President of the 49ers gave him time to build despite the fans opinion.

With Bill Walsh in charge they went on to win five Super Bowls in 14 years, ranking among the great achievements in sports history.

Along the way he completely changed the image of that organisation into one of the most elite outfits in the US.

Bill Walsh has a very clear philosophy, his Standard of Performance (as he called it) and during those very early days that was exactly what he focused and relied upon when there team was the laughing stock of the country. That is what is most important!

And with that early record it amuses me to think of what all those radio stations, reporters and fans would be saying about Bill Walsh? And I also wonder if he'd been given the time if managing in England today with that kind of start?

By Anthony Hudson

Anthony Hudson is a UEFA A Licenced coach and until recently was manager at Newport County in the Blue Square Bet Premier Division.

Follow Anthony on Twitter @anthony_hudson

For more information, or to contact Anthony, visit his website:

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