Friday, 11 December 2009

Mr Head, meet Mr Sand

What happens on tour stays on tour. Innit, know what I mean. All for one and one for all, don't break with the team.

Get it? Right. Good, now keep your mouth shut for the good of everybody. Ok?

Or, as Stoke City manager, Tony Pulis, puts it:

I have been a manager for 18 years and you have certain golden rules and one of the rules I stick to is that whatever happens in the dressing room stays in the dressing room.

Meaning what exactly? You don't tell if someone has a small penis or unsightly hairs where society dictates it is socially embarrassing? You don't let on if two people are unhappy with each other? You say nothing about the cliques that are in the team? You stop short of mentioning when everyone is getting along, or who is really drunk and peed in the shower onto an unsuspecting player?

Or you don't bother to mention whether or not an assault has taken place?

But it's ok because it took place in the dressing room. We can do anything in the dressing room. We are untouchable. If we tell them we lose our invincibility.

We can only assume that Mr Pulis will not be writing an autobiography. Or if he does, it will neglect to mention any changing room antics. And can he really stop former players discussing it?

And why would he want to? Can't we break down the barriers that still exist in football, barriers that still assert a male, a macho dominance.

In a week when one of the best coaches in English football, Hope Powell, doubted she would ever get the chance to manage a professional, men's team, it's sad to hear such stuff and nonsense come from with the dressing room of a professional, men's team.

If Tony did not headbutt a player he can say so. If he did, he should face the consequence. Saying that he will say nothing only perpetuates the pathetic, arrogant, macho myth of the sports team.

If he has to resort to this sort of thing, it's a shame that three national newspaper knew about it on the day it happened. That suggests that what happens in the dressing room is rather prone to leak out.

It also suggests that if you have to enforce unity with a blanket manifesto, then you're already too divided.