IF your team is having a rubbish season, try looking in the dug-out for a clue as to why.

Scientists at the University of Portsmouth reckon that a coach’s appearance could  have an effect on players’ impression of their competence.



According to their research, the coach who was of large build and wearing smart clothes was uniformly ranked the lowest in terms of their competence to motivate, develop technique, develop game strategy, and build athlete character.

The coach who was lean and wearing a tracksuit was rated best for technical and character-building abilities which were skills most required at training and development of players and was rated equal best for ‘ability to motivate players.’

The coach who was lean and smartly dressed was rated best as a strategist, the skill most expected and required at matches.

Pop star Robbie Williams is being wooed by supporters of League Two side Port Vale.  The Take That singer is a lifelong Vale fan and fans are hoping that he can play a key part in saving the club, which has debts of around £3million, from administration.  Williams has a 25 per cent stake in Vale and fans want him to back a new takeover bid which could rescue them from their financial crisis.  Alan Baker, chairman of the protest group Black and Gold Until It’s Sold, said: “We’re making an appeal to Robbie to help us change direction. Everyone knows this is Robbie Williams’s team. He’s got very strong local connections.  “We’ve always appreciated the help he gave us seven years ago but now we need him more than ever. All were saying is Robbie Williams, we know you’re on a different planet but we want your endorsement.  “I hope he wants to help change our club. We have tried protesting at matches but it’s getting a bit predictable.  “Now that Robbie is back in the UK with Take That we want him back. We hope he will get involved locally again.”

The joint-chairman of another League Two side, Bradford City, has launched a stinging attack on his players who he claims have let manager Peter Taylor down.  Taylor was due to leave after Saturday’s 3-2 win over Stockport after just a year in charge.  Mark Lawn told BBC Radio Leeds:  “They have let Peter Taylor down – without any doubt at all.  “They haven’t performed have they? If they had performed as a unit we wouldn’t be where we are.”  Taylor had earlier stated that he decided to leave the club after the fans’ reaction to their mid-week defeat to league leaders Chesterfield.  “He had an impeccable pedigree but it has just not worked for us. Let’s pull no punches, it just hasn’t worked,” said Lawn.  He added that the players “have to take a long, hard look at themselves because they have let Peter Taylor down.  “I will be looking for them to give a response on Saturday to ensure Peter Taylor goes with a win. I think that’s the least they deserve to give him.”

For those football enthusiasts like me who detest the ‘Big Four’ monopoly of the Premier League and love to root for the underdog, Sunday was a fabulous day.  The League Cup Final between mighty Arsenal and Premier League strugglers Birmingham City was shown live on BBC TV.  Birmingham won 2-1 with a goal in the last minute to give the Midlands side their first major trophy since 1963.  It was a thrilling, end to end game but the best bit came at the final whistle when, I’m not ashamed to admit it, I whooped with delight.


Note – In football the dugout is where the manager and team players who aren’t actually playing sit.  More sport vocabulary here.