Thursday 18 February 2016

Club Soccer Director Announcement

Director of Football game coming soon to mobiles and tablets.

London, UK – 18th February 2016 - Go Games, a leading developer of digital mobile and tablet video games, is proud to announce Club Soccer Director will be released later in the year for mobile and tablet formats.

The game has been designed by CEO Jim Scott who previously developed and published several football manager games in the 1990’s and who also is a fully qualified football coach.

“Being a huge football fan, and a coach currently working at a professional club, I knew someday I would design and develop a football (soccer) management game using my experiences as a coach and how a club runs” commented Jim Scott

“There are plenty of football (soccer) management games out on the market and a lot of them follow a similar formula, yet there’s a lot of detail that gets missed and a lot that goes into making a club successful that doesn’t seem to be in a lot of these games”. Added Jim Scott

“Using my experience as a coach and my working knowledge of professional football (soccer) club, we will develop a football game that closely follows how a real football club is run, and the challenges that the club faces.” Said Jim Scott

Club Soccer Director is about your career as a Director of Football. Get hired, agree the philosophy at the club with the board and make it happen.

As the Director of Football you are the go between the board and the manager.

You are responsible for hiring and firing the staff including the manager and all his backroom staff, you have full control over transfers and player recruitment, the commercial management of the club, and the development of the clubs facilities.

Your role in Club Soccer Director is a balancing act, can you keep the manager, players and the staff happy whilst carrying out the philosophy of the club? What about the fans and the members of the press, can you handle these important stakeholders?

What is results on the pitch are not going well? What if the manager is not playing your latest signing?

Will you interfere with the managers decisions or sit back and let him do the job you hired him for?

Club Soccer Director is the toughest job in football, do you have what it takes to be a success?

Please keep visiting our development blog for more details and announcements about the game and posts regarding other football issues. We would love to hear your comments about our game, and what you would like to see in the game.

Please also visit our community page for more details and announcements.

Thursday 11 February 2016

Should Gary Neville be given more time?

I recently ran a twitter poll on whether Gary Neville should be given more time by Valencia or not. 

Here are the results of the poll

52% believed he should be given more time

48% said he should be fired.

My opinion on this is Gary Neville shouldn’t have been given the job in the first place.

Gary Neville had an exceptional career as a footballer. Coming through the youth ranks at Manchester United in the famous class of 92; he had modest technical ability but more than made up for this with good organisational skills, communication, Understanding, desire and work rate. As a coach I value these traits immensely as top flight football isn’t just about stunning technique as you can see in countless players having good careers at the top level.

Neville’s desire and determination took him to the very top with united, and made him England’s most capped full back with 85 caps. When Gary’s playing career was coming to an end he naturally went into coaching and was quickly put through his coaching badges including being invited and going through his UEFA Pro Licence. During this time Gary was appointed as assistant manager/coach for the England National team.

During this busy time Gary made his debut at sky as a pundit on Monday night football and received a lot of plaudits for his work and analysis.

In a short space of time since retiring from football in 2011 Gary Neville has managed to achieve the perfect blend of qualifications and media profile making him almost irresistible to any chairman looking for their next high profile manager.

However does that mean he is capable of doing a job as a manager at a top flight club? My opinion is no, certainly not yet.

The highest qualification a normal coach can reach is an A licence, because anyone who hasn’t played top flight football probably won’t get the chance to go on the invite only Pro Licence. To get to be an A licenced coached, you would need to complete at a minimum your Level 2, UEFA B, A Prep and then your A licence qualification. This process alone can take at least 6 years and that’s if you can get on the next available courses once you have finished the previous one. To actually achieve a Pro Licence as well, the journey of a normal coach would easily take in excess of 8 years.

During this period as a coach you would be working with different levels of players, be it adults in the FA football pyramid leagues or working in academy or elite centres with kids of various ages and abilities. The challenges and experiences of a coach throughout this period are vital and valuable experience. 

Personally you learn way more coaching than you do on the courses themselves and every year you look back a few years and cringe sometimes at how you used to coach only a few years previous as you constantly develop through coaching.

Personality plays a big part in any coaches/managers make up as well especially if you want to go down managing a team rather than just coaching.

So my point is this. Gary Neville because of his playing career and TV profile has managed to shortcut his way to his qualifications at the expense of valuable experience. He is way more employable than most coaches and managers that I know but I would certainly argue that he is less experienced and less capable to manage a team than a lot of people I know in the game.

I don’t believe his England role would of benefited his coaching/managerial career a great deal either so he is learning to be a manager and coach whilst on the job at Valencia a huge club that expects to be in the top 6 and was struggling before he took over.

Add in to the mix the language barrier and you can see why he is struggling to achieve any kind of success at Valencia and I don’t see it turning around quick enough to save his job.

I actually believe Gary Neville will eventually become a good manager. His natural desire and determination will drive him to improve and better himself month in month out, and providing he doesn’t damage his reputation as a coach and manager in the next few years I am sure at some point in the future he will be very successful.

But right now the reality is he is way too inexperienced both as a manager and a coach to be successful at such a club, with such difficult circumstances.

In fact you will not see a more inexperienced manager managing in the top tier of football across Europe, but if you think you know one please comment below.

And as usual in football this is another case of profile and who you know over experience and ability to actually do the job.

Please let me have your comments below. Do you believe Gary was right to get the opportunity at Valencia? How many other managers are there that have better knowledge and experience?

Please keep checking out the posts about our new game Club Soccer Director, which is currently in development. We would love to hear your opinions and what you would love to see in the game.

And who knows you might get the job at Valencia in the game. Let’s hope you have more success.

Wednesday 3 February 2016

What is a Football Philosophy?

We hear the term a lot now in modern day football but what exactly is a football philosophy and where does it come from?

Let's go back to football some 20 odd years ago. Football in the early to mid 90's was very different in certain aspects. The game had some great players and great managers.

Who can remember watching the Brazilian Ronaldo, Rivaldo, Marco Van Basten, Baggio, Romario, Luiz Figo, Lothar Matthaus, and the amazing Zinedine Zidane.

And there was some great teams as well. Remember Lippi's Juventus who finally managed to remove Capello's AC Milan's grip over Serie A? Who remembers the Manchester United team of 93/94 and the Ajax team of 94/95?

So did these great teams have a football philosophy?

The answer is yes, they did although not as obvious and clear as today but all these great clubs had a history, a way of playing and entertaining the crowd that became their identity, their philosophy.

So why is a philosophy so important to the success of a football club.

Football is a business whether we like it or not, however over the years most football clubs have not been ran that way at all. Business and money are dirty words to the passionate fans of football clubs who believe they are part owners in their club and climbing up the league and winning titles should be the goal.

Owners of football clubs in years gone by were largely successful businessman who usually struggled with the running of a football club and the reason was down to the structure of these clubs and importance and control any manager had over the football club.

Let me explain in more detail of what happens in clubs that are not AC Milan, Juventus or Real Madrid.

The chairman hires a manager to get the club success, he is a businessman so wants success more than anybody. He is also a fan of the club. The manager is often hired because of his track record of results or titles elsewhere at different football clubs, with different players, different mindsets, attitudes and financial wealth.

Often the chairman doesn't understand football to the level he needs to, so he looks at the numbers achieved by the manager sitting him front of him desperate to take the reigns and decides to take the manager with the best previous record.

The manager is appointed and wants to do things his way. Why wouldn't he, what does the chairman know about football!

So the manager wants to play a certain way, so he hires his coaches, assistants and other staff relevant to how he wants to play, and then sets about hiring players as well that he believes will make his team successful.

Unfortunately because the new managers style is different to the style of the last manager, a lot of the current squad and staff do not fit in, so need to be moved on. This is costly for the chairman but he has to back his manager.

So the new manager invests significantly in new players, staff in the hope that he can replicate the success he had at other clubs previously. However the wholesale changes of staff and players and the managers new playing style will take at least 2 -3 years to come good.

The academy at the club has always been pretty decent but the players coming through are not suitable for the new managers style of play so do not manage to break into the first team.

Fast forward a year and the manager isn't having the success his CV suggests he should have. The chairman has lost patience and a lot of money and decides to call time on the manager and thew whole process starts again.

In 2011 the Premier League initiated the Elite Player Performance Plan of which I have been part of that process at the club that I coach for.

Part of the EPPP compliance was all clubs had to demonstrate they had a clear philosophy and developed players and played in accordance with their Football philosophy. The premier league had spent large sums of money analysing the great clubs of the 90's, and others to see how the better clubs structured themselves and achieved their goals.

So does it work? Well the answer is a resounding yes.

Lets take a look at Southampton who I believe are the best evidence of a modern football philosophy.

In 2009 Southampton were in administration and unable to pay their players wages. They had received a 10 point deduction because of the administration and were relegated to League One. On 12th September Nigel Adkins took over as the manager and achieved promotion to the Championship that year playing a pleasing brand of possession football, their philosophy was starting to take shape.

In 2010 the club appointed Les Reed whose job was to oversee four key areas

Youth Academy, Scouting and Recruitment, Sports medicine and Science, and Kit and Equipment Management.

Les Reed set about establishing Southampton's philosophy from how they played, the type of players that fit the system, the staff required to ensure the philosophy was achieved and implemented from the academy to the first team. Every Southampton player whether a 14 year academy kid to a first team player knew what was expected from them.

With this now in place the club could now look for a manager to fit in with the club philosophy and not the other way round. In fact I listened to an interview that Les Reed gave a few years ago regarding their philosophy where they termed the manager a "Department Head" similar to a senior manager in a business who's job is to carry out the club strategy.

This showed that Southampton's philosophy and strategy was way bigger than any manager, and the manager they required had to fit in with the clubs beliefs.

Southampton enjoyed back to back promotions to the premier league and are now established as a strong premier league team with a clear identity. They replaced Nigel Adkins with Mauricio Pochettino who many hadn't heard of, but Southampton knew exactly the sort of manager they wanted and Mauricio hit the ground running and knew what to expect.

His success meant he was poached by Tottenham Hotspur, but still Southampton didn't panic, they knew the sort of manager that would fit in with their philosophy and soon hired Ronald Koeman. During this period Southampton had also sold the likes of Lambert, Lallana, Lovren, Chambers, Shaw and others.

Surely a club like Southampton couldn't cope with selling of such talent?

Who else thought they might go down?

Again the opposite happened, they knew exactly the profile of the players that they required and had been developing players in the academy this way so they could step up. Their scouts knew exactly what to look for when bringing in players from other clubs and they brought well.

Despite the changes and the vast sales of players Southampton remain 7th in the league with a youth academy the envy of many of their bigger rivals. They know exactly what they want and managers, staff and players will come and go.

Not only does this breed success but its also way more profitable than changing your entire infrastructure every time a new manager comes on board.

So yes it works and it's no different to how successful businesses are ran, so why wouldn't it work for a football club?

In Club Soccer Director your job as a director of football/Soccer is the same. To get success you must established a philosophy at the club and hire the right staff and players that fit with this strategy.

How will you handle this? Will you be side tracked by a great manager with a proven track record?

Remember it's your responsibility to achieve success at the club and make your mark.

Club Soccer Director is coming soon for Mobile and Tablet devices

Any comments are appreciated.