Ben Burgess column: The player/manager relationship so important

Ben Burgess
Ben Burgess
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After Jose Mourinho’s extraordinary outburst towards his own players last week, there has been questions raised about the mental toughness of professional footballers.

READ MORE: Blackpool Supporters' Trust column
After Jose Mourinho’s extraordinary outburst towards his own players last week, there has been questions raised about the mental toughness of professional footballers.

Many fans believe that because the players are paid an extortionate amount of money they should be able to put up with any ‘criticism’ from the manager.

In my opinion, the money factor should not even be considered. When someone is constantly critical and negative towards you, then it will instantly affect your mood and consequently your life, regardless of whether you’re earning £150,000 a week or £500.

Let us take Luke Shaw as an example of a player constantly criticised by his manager. Jose (along with previous managers) has questioned Shaw’s fitness and desire to play.

After Manchester United’s FA Cup victory over Brighton, Jose went public on his decision to take Shaw off at half-time.

He talked in detail about how he was weak defensively and was letting down the team and his performance wasn’t acceptable.

Let’s remember that Shaw is still only 22!

He has much to learn in the game and clearly needs guidance and an arm around his shoulder to achieve anywhere near what he is capable of.

The best managers tend to quickly work out a player’s personality and then adapt how they treat them accordingly.

I’ve played with players who need to be screamed and shouted at to get them going, so managers would be in their face all the time.

Whilst others would constantly need reassurance that they were doing the right thing.

You can easily spot the

insecure players because they look over to the bench when they do anything good.

For the majority of my career I generally had good relationships with the managers I worked with but I received a rude awakening under Carlton Palmer at Stockport County.

He constantly moaned at me during training and in games and regrettably I let that one man affect my performances.

I stopped doing things that came naturally on the pitch, I stopped playing with a smile on my face.

I constantly asked him to let me leave, to which he would reply that ‘nobody wanted me anyway’.

I suffered the same at Notts County and it’s easy to say that you should block the negative people out of your life, but when those very people make the decisions about everything you do it becomes hard.

I wasn’t the same at home, I wasn’t the same with my friends.

Many people reading this column will probably have had a boss or equivalent at work who has made their life miserable.

And when you put yourself in the position of the likes of Luke Shaw, you can understand that money has no bearing on happiness.

What certainly does have a bearing on the happiness of the Blackpool supporters is the possibility of a change of ownership at Bloomfield Road.

After weeks of silence, events have finally started to pick up pace with the news this week that Owen Oyston had offered the football club to Valeri Belokon, along with the hotel and the palatial training ground!

Things escalated even further when Oyston taunted Belokon by declaring that Belokon’s love for the club is ‘fake news’ and a ‘fantasy’.

All I will say is that it appears events may well be coming to a close soon.