Sir Gareth Southgate

I don’t know much about football but I like Gareth Southgate.

I remember watching him miss the penalty that knocked England out of Euro ’96.  The next time I ever really remember him coming to my attention was in the last World Cup, when it seemed like we may actually have a chance.  I liked his waistcoats.  I also liked him.  He came across as a decent man, a decent manager, someone with principles and dignity.  Then I don’t think he came to my attention at all until Euro 2020 (obviously in 2021 because Pandemic blah blah blah).

I can’t comment on his tactics (although for all the arm chair critics he has got to the semi finals with a clean sheet) but I know that whilst people has questioned his team selection he’s quietly got on with it, sticking to his guns and going with what he feels is right.

 He isn’t a manager with a glittering past and lots of past trophies to his name, but he seems to have quietly worked with his squad over the years to develop a group of players who actually seem to work well as a team.  There doesn’t seem to be the normal news stories of star players throwing a paddy because they aren’t being treated right or anything like that, generally it seems like a pretty contented team.

When there was debate about the team taking the knee and whether this was too political, Southgate stood by his team’s decision.  He’s treated them like adults and they in turn seem to respect him for it.

When asked about the Coca Cola / beer bottles that Ronalado moved in a press conference, Southgate merely suggested that the money the sponsorship from these companies bought to the game, particulary at junior levels, makes a difference.

He isn’t here for the drama it seems, he’s focused on the job in hand, more than that he seems to look at the wider picture. Things which might not benefit him but make sense for the game are, in his view, fair and a therefore a good thing. His interviews aren’t dramatic or about him, he’s balanced and to be honest he always seems to be thinking about the bigger picture when he talks.

So I don’t know much about football but in terms of how he presents himself and leads his team I like Southgate. He’s like a PT who doesn’t try and create waves with extreme advice, workouts or diets but simply teaches their clients the things they need to know to get steady results. He is hope for those who quietly and confidently get on with their jobs with integrity, that they can do well, even if they aren’t as headline grabbing as some of their peers.

How to Guess the Season by your Group Exercise Class

I have two jobs so quite often do not see much day light / weather as I go from gym to office to gym day by day.  If like me you lose track of the seasons worry not – your classes can provide handy hints as to where you are in the year, rendering the need for a calendar unnecessary.

January – Every class will be fully booked with a waiting list of one million. You will spend 50% of the class taking the register and persuading people to share the kit around fairly.  You will not recognise half the room and everyone will be wearing brand new kit bought half price in the sales.  The air con will break but it won’t bother anyone too much because it feels like it might snow,

February – Class numbers start to settle and will be busy apart from one particular day when you will see a dramatic drop in numbers as lots of people go out for hideously overpriced set menu meals instead of coming to the gym.  The day after this happens make sure you pop to Tesco as there will be lots of half priced heart shaped chocolate available for purchase.

March – There will probably be about two inches of snow and your classes will be cancelled as the country grinds to a halt.

April – It starts to get lighter outside so numbers creep up a little, especially around Easter when everyone wants to burn off the 400 easter eggs and 500 units of alcohol they consumed over a 4 day period.

May – The start of the summer months.  You will know when it’s sunny because class numbers will drop dramatically and the air con will break.  If your gym is near a university people will start heading home for the summer.

June – The number of attendees will continue to indicate the quality of the British weather without you ever needing to step outside.

July – Is the air con working? Yes = It’s probably chilly today.  No = We are definitely in the middle of a heat wave.

August – You will still know whether it is raining or sunny outside by how busy your classes are.

September – The summer is over and familiar faces will start to return after months of spending evenings having BBQs and other outdoor activities.  If you are near a university a flurry of fresh faced people will start to arrive – and you will swear they look even younger than last years intake of students (they are not – you are just getting older) .  Every class will be full with a waiting list of one million.  You will spend 50% of the class taking the register and persuading people to share the kit around fairly.  You may be a bit confused at this point that January has come around so quickly then will notice that the air con is broken and it’s far to warm to be January.

October –It’s getting dark now and some people will start to hibernate. Numbers will start to settle.  It’s getting colder so the air con will definietly definietly work.

November – Numbers will continue to remain stable.If you have windows in your studio there will be no natural light – at any point of the day.

December – The ‘Sod it, it’s Christmas’ phenonomen means class sizes will start to half the day you open the first door on your advent calender.  Everyone who does attend classes will mutter things about needing to burn off all the mince pies as they enter and leave the studio.  You will start to see novelty gym kit as the big day gets closer.

World Cup – During the group stages you will know when England are playing because there will be a 50% reduction in attendance.  If England progress the number of people in attendance during any England game will drop dramatically until finally when the semi finals come around you can be relatively confident you will be spending an hour in a studio alone.  We will not even tempt fate by mentioning the possibility of England reaching the final!

Football Post (Kind of)

The World Cup deosn’t really interest me to be honest.

I’m in a prediction league for it at work and I’m currently bottom.

I found this article really interesting though (I also like the Guardian Opinion page by the way- I don’t know if that say’s anything about me but I prefer reading people’s opinions on the news than the news itself).

Dealing with our own failures – we see lots about that.

Re-framing our own failures when we subsequently have success is quite easy and cathartic.

I never really thought about how I react to other people’s failures previously.

Gareth Southgate’s reaction to the player who missed a key penalty was obviously framed by his own past experience but it shows that we can have a powerful and positive impact on others in the way we handle their failure.

Not rubbing it in their face or gloating and instead trying to show some empathy.

I bet that player still felt bad but perhaps found a little comfort in the show of support, and I bet Southgate felt better the next day knowing he had shown kindness on top of his team winning the penalty shoot out, a couple of seconds which cost him literally nothing but may have meant something to the other person.