We always have the big scoops here on WAW and we're much more than just vanilla. Social media revealed last weekend that there's a new name in the hat for the Sunderland managerial post and it just happens to be our contributor Alex Louise (@safc_lex). We've seen the sign, sealed and to be delivered envelope too - odds tumbling as we speak!
Dear Mr Bain
It has come to my attention that you are currently looking to fulfil the managerial post at Sunderland AFC. I hope that you will take my application into consideration as we prepare for a season in the Championship. I understand that yourself and Mr Short may have irons in the fire with more experienced managers but I would like to remind you that previous appointments of seemingly skilled professional managers have failed to achieve the success our football club deserves.
Whilst I do not have professional managerial experience, I feel this is not enough to hold me back from taking on tenure at our club. You can rest assured that I have my level one FA coaching badge and a Level Three First Aid Qualification – while I appreciate this is quite literally not in the same league as others you may be considering for the post, I hope this won’t rule me out completely.
I would imagine you are wondering about my footballing philosophies. What does she know, I hear you cry! It would be my dream to take our footballing style back to the old skool and I believe that playing in the Championship is the ideal time to make this happen. No more players rolling around like they’ve been shot when they take a boot to the back of the shin. No more Geordie Shore inspired hairstyles, and absolutely no fluorescent football boots. Can you imagine Ian Porterfield agonising over which laces to match with his pink plastic shoes? Of course not.
In a controversial move, I would do away with the modern day wingbacks and revert back to the glory days where defensive line-ups were made up of fullbacks and centre halves. No more the days of players like Patrick van Aanholt (boo, hiss) chasing crisp packets in the wind and forgetting to actually mark the opposition. Defenders should be able to do the one thing their employed to do (clue’s in the title lads) and defend. Defend by whatever means necessary – Terry Butcher style. In fact, I was thinking of running a Terry Butcher-inspired motivation session for our defenders, hopefully run by the man himself where he could offer a masterclass on how to stand up and be counted in the defensive line. If Terry isn’t available, then look no further than Sunderland’s favourite adoptive son – Kevin Ball. The snappily titled “Bally’s Boot Camp” would be a sure-fire winner and would inject some much needed grit back into the spine of the team. Players should understand the importance of positional play and well-timed tackles, shunning the modern practice of shirt pulling and panicking.
Most importantly, I cannot stress the importance of goals. Scoring them in particular. I’m sure you’ll agree that 29 goals in one season is less than satisfactory and needs to change. I don’t want to labour the point, but this is an area that we have been severely lacking in for years. If only someone had thought to clone Niall Quinn and Kevin Phillips in their heyday! My suggestion would be for you to offer Jermain Defoe a sweetener to stay in Sunderland. If the man wants a diamond encrusted unicorn that can dance the Macarena, buy him two. This area has to be our top priority going forward next season – now I have already started putting some feelers out in anticipation of being called to interview for the position and I can tell you I have some very exciting prospects lined up!
I would now like to discuss the more personal attributes that I can bring to the role. For the past 12 years I have worked in education, looking after children under the age of five. I feel this has given me a unique insight into the psyche of toddlers. What good is this in the football world I hear you ask? Well, after witnessing the behaviour of the majority of Premier League footballers over the past few years, I believe there to be many parallels that can be drawn between taming toddlers and managing footballers. Over the past few years I have witnessed huffs, temper tantrums and the sticking out of more bottom lips than I care to count. The sight of grown men stamping their feet, over-excessively pointing, kicking water bottles and displaying downright insubordination has got to stop. If I were to become manager, a punishment system would swiftly be put into place which would hopefully put an end to all this nonsense. Players not giving 100% on the pitch would be expected to prove their worth in other ways: offering a helping hand in the club shop for example, or disinfecting the showers after use. Those half time oranges (or is it all high energy protein bars nowadays?) won’t hand themselves out!
In addition to this any player getting booked for my personal pet-hate, dissent, will be expected to be completely silent during the next training session, with any complaints or grumbles being swiftly dealt with by being squirted three times in the face with a water pistol. After careful consideration, I would suggest Jan Kirchoff to be responsible for the brandishing of said water pistol – he looks like the sort of man who would rise to the challenge of such responsibility. Players who go down too easily after a tackle or over-egg an alleged injury will redeem themselves by providing an after-training treat for their teammates. Hopefully the prospect of cavorting around the Academy whilst dressed as Coco Bongo the clown will nip these amateur dramatics in the bud. Lastly, I would operate a zero tolerance policy on lateness to training and matches, with anyone breaching these rules being expected to complete the following train session dressed as Tim Curry from Rocky Horror Show, treating his teammates to a rendition of the “Time Warp” every twenty minutes.
But I’m not a monster. I understand how “delicate” these highly paid professionals can be and the need for their egos to be massaged. Players performing well will of course be rewarded. I would like to suggest a “star of the month” system – every month, the player who has shown the most effort, improvement and work-rate will be in receipt of this prestigious award. Receiving not just a certificate (which will of course be laminated), I am proposing that they would also receive a 4 minute Supermarket-sweep style raid of Jacky White’s market, where they will have anything they can grab in this time paid for by the club. They will also be able to choose a fellow player to go for a slap-up dinner at the Panda in Sunderland, with a feast up to the value of £20 coming out of the club’s coffers. Extravagant, maybe, but I believe offering incentives is the key to success. I would also like to propose “Fun Time Fridays” where, after training of course, the players will expected to attend a two-hour bonding exercise at a location of my choosing. Imagine the Instagram posts the club could share of their japes! I for one would love to see photographic evidence of Joleon Lescott at one with nature in Mowbray Park, or Steven Pienaar treating himself to a Mr Whippy at Roker Beach.
I understand that the club is having financial difficulties at the moment. I have a few solutions to this problem that I would like to pilot should I be successful in my application for the post. I would like to suggest offering the players dual-roles, where they would be expected to give a little bit back to the club in the long hours where they are not at training. They would of course be given official titles, to ensure they felt valued and respected in these new roles. Do we really need to employ a groundsman to cut the grass on the pitch, when Whabi Khazri and Duncan Watmore are more than capable of wielding a lawnmower and a pair of hedge strimmers? Is a tea lady necessary, when Vito Mannone could be appointed “Tea Executive,” ably assisted of course by Seb Larsson in the prestigious role of “Biscuit Monitor?” What need is there for a separate bus driver when Lamine Kone could don a chauffeur’s hat and leather gloves and drive his teammates to victory? Pickford of course would have to be the official club DJ, keeping everyone’s spirits up as he gets his rave on each week. I have no doubt that Fabio Borini and Jack Rodwell, with their subtitle of “Entertainment Coordinators” would have no qualms about donning the Samson and Delilah suit in lieu of the pre-match warm up to warm up the crowd and re-connect with our younger fans. I feel utilising the players that we have to fulfil positions that we are paying other people for would ensure not only that we could make some half-decent signings. It could also mean splashing out in other areas: for example we could think about finally restoring the rest of the pink seats in the stadium to the once-glorious red.
I would also suggest that on match days, the PR system is put to better use than it previously has been. Under my rein as manager, Justin Bieber’s days of wailing over the tannoy at half time would be numbered, with themed songs to be played in relation to the team’s performance. In the event that we are losing, I would like Chumbawamba’s Tubthumping to be ringing in the players ears as they trot back to the field of play, reminding them that no matter how many times they get knocked down they have to get right back up again. When riding high on a win, you can’t go wrong with the classics. That’s’ right, Tina Turner, Simply the Best,” loud and proud. If that doesn’t motivate the lads then I don’t know what will.
On a more personal note, as a female applying for the managerial role, think of the positive PR you could spin for the club. Becoming the first big-name club to appoint a female manager (or head coach if you prefer, I’m no narcissist) would do wonders for your reputation as an equal rights employer. I’m not talking pot pourri and decorative cushions around the place, but a change in dynamic might be just what these players need. I can assure you that I have a full understanding of the offside rule which I can demonstrate in interview if necessary. My managerial style is firm but fair – try to picture a manager who has the tactical awareness of Pochettino, the acumen of Sir Alex Ferguson, the easy camaraderie of Ian Hollloway with Peter Reid’s nose for a good party. I may not be Cheryl Cole in the press room but I can guarantee I have not just better craic than David Moyes, but better hair. Crucially, at 5’4 I would also save you money on uniform, as I can fit into the children’s training gear and don’t pay VAT on football boots. Have you noticed how I’m always thinking of ways to save the club money? This is just another example of my shrewd financial expertise. Perhaps a bit of female perspective is just what our football club needs.
On a final note, I understand that stability is a word that is often bandied about when discussing the managerial role at our club. I can assure you that this is something I can most certainly offer – I have had a season ticket in the same seat for almost twenty years and have nurtured effective relationships with the other supporters around me in that time. I have a strong footballing “family” if you will, who would be eager to come and work with me as backroom staff if the roles became available.
Come on Mr Bain, make the right choice. Let’s make this football club great again! I would love to be part of your vision and have every confidence that you will make the right decision. I look forward to hearing from you.
Alex Louise @safc_lex