Oi, Southgate! Need some advice on being a football manager? This dad has got it sorted.

My dad is a football genius. He once coached a lower school team to plastic trophy glory and now he’s a freelance tactical adviser who works from the sofa. Whenever I watch a game with him, I marvel at the wisdom he bellows at the TV and wonder how he has not yet been hired by Barcelona. It is probably because the players can’t actually hear him, but I don’t think he realises that.

Here are a few words of crucial advice I have heard him bestow upon professional ball kickers over the years.

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“Go on!!!”

This is the most common piece of tactical advice my dad gives the players, and it is presumably a great deal of help to any of them who can, in fact, hear him.

A simple and quick-to-say instruction, ‘Go on!!!’ can be used in a variety of situations, which usually involve the player in question needing to go from one place to another with a certain degree of urgency. My dad has discovered that if he says it an inane amount of times, there is a statistical probability that the team will eventually score.

“Hit it!!!”

In a game primarily involving the kicking of balls into a net, you would think that this particular instruction goes without saying. However, you’d be surprised how often the players don’t actually ‘hit it’. Instead, they seem to pass it amongst themselves for prolonged periods of time – much to the frustration of my father.

It has occurred to me that the attacking team may be trying to break down the other side while maintaining possession, but evidently it would be far more entertaining and productive if they simply smashed it at a solid wall of defenders.

“Don’t go backwards, for god’s sake!”

Similar to the ‘Go on’ advice, ‘Don’t go backwards, for God’s sake!’ indicates his desire for the team to always be moving forwards. Nothing makes my dad more irate than watching his team get into a strong attacking position, only to see them pass it all the way back to the goalkeeper. Apart from when someone leaves the heating on for too long, of course.

In fact, he believes a new rule should be implemented to stop players going backwards once they have passed the half-way line. Like in basketball, but he doesn’t watch that American rubbish.

“Go round him!”

It seems to me that most footballers would be a lot better if they all possessed the ability to run past entire teams and simply tap the ball into an empty net.

In the last game I watched with my dad, a striker was surrounded by three defenders and promptly lost the ball. If only he’d followed my dad’s advice to ‘go round him’, it is likely he would have scored a brilliant goal.

“I could have scored that!”

Not so much a piece of tactical advice, but a declaration of his obvious ability to outperform professional athletes at the peak of physical fitness.

At the age of 56 and with two slipped disks, my dad could undoubtedly jump several feet higher than a six-foot-two centre back and launch the ball into the top corner with his head. He could also outrun a 21-year-old and poke in a goal with his outstretched leg, in spite of his severely damaged knee and heart condition.

“We’ve lost this one”

I have learnt from my dad that an important part of watching football is knowing when you are beaten. This can often be as early as half an hour into a game.

Presumably, by telling the players they have already lost, they can then begin to conserve their energy for the next match. Even if it’s only 1-0 and there is still an hour to play, there is no need for them to exert themselves. Accepting defeat is also an effective remedy for my dad’s blood pressure, which is usually sky-high because of players who fail to follow any of his aforementioned instructions.

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