As a friend of mine recounted an experience, it suddenly hit me. Perhaps we have been overlooking the most basic thing about running a football club after all.
We did a post recently about avenues for making the club money. It was a deeply enjoyable one, and an eye-opener. But maybe those thoughts are even too high for our clubs in Nigeria. What seems to be missing is more fundamental: many of them seem to have forgotten what the purpose of a football club even is.
Which is funny, because it says it right there in the name. A football club is about football. Without the football, and by extension the footballers and those who train them, there would be no club. As such, the most important personnel are the players and coaches themselves.
That might seem obvious, but do our club administrators and owners really acknowledge that with their actions?
We have here a situation where those in charge act as though the football is just the entertainment accompanying their “meeting” behind the scenes. Every club should have a solid structure on which it runs. But think of a club like a watch. The players are the dials, the coaches the moving hands. The management, in this analogy, is the engine. You never see the engine except there’s something wrong.
That’s how a club ought to be run. And yet, in our clime, we have a situation where the administrators want to be front and centre of anything.
One of my favourite movies is ‘The Prestige’. You should see it if you can. To borrow an expression from it, our administrators must learn to be content with taking their bows “beneath the stage”. They must be content with being the unseen hand making things happen behind the scenes. After all, by virtue of the fact that a lot of them have been in office since the resurrection of the Messiah, they have laid up great wealth for themselves already. Should that not be enough, without wanting to grab the spotlight as well?
As an example, it is quite sad that not a lot has been heard from the players following Rangers epic triumph in the Aiteo Cup final. Yes, apart from a few outlets, the focus has been on the men who should have modestly stepped aside and let the players take all the glory. In fairness, our media should do better as well, but if you, as a club “GM”, turn them down and tell them to focus on the players, I’m pretty sure it would take nothing away from you. See?
The truth is that a thing will never grow beyond the vision and mentality of those in whose hands it has been placed. And until the administrators themselves believe in and make stars of the players and coaches who actually do the grunt work on the field and the sidelines, our football will continue to be limited.