I used to hate horror flicks. I could never get my head around what enjoyment people receive from being so scared they have to watch the entire film through their fingers or from behind a pillow. I remember my daughter once hiring The Strangers with her friends for a sleepover only to fast forward parts and watch others with the sound down before spending the rest of the night scared that someone was in the house trying to get them. Money well spent or what?
Football finances have always been a little edgy. Clubs often live season to season on massive amounts of debt with their long term future in the hands of the footballing gods. It may seem like a crazy notion when you think of how much money the sport generates each year through sponsorships and astronomical TV deals. Unfortunately with every extra dollar that hits the Premier League coffers, there are always a hundred more ways to spend it, with the ever rising cost of players and their wages topping that list. Even the so called mega clubs like Manchester Utd, Manchester City, Chelsea and Tottenham are financed through massive debt structures that on paper seem ludicrous. Everybody knows that Chelsea for instance are financed by Russian billionaire, Roman Abramovich. Since the world oil tycoon took over at Stamford Bridge the club has achieved much envied success with Premier League titles and a Champions League trophy to boot. But, even with these trophies in the bag and a growing world wide brand reports from the likes of forbes.com and English newspaper, The Times, Chelsea still owe their owner a whopping 1.13 billion GBP. This is money that Abramovich has personally put in to the club through loans and an amount that the club will be paying back in instalments, with interest. Of course Chelsea are not the only club run this way. Manchester City are set up in a similar fashion with super rich owners putting their own money on the line to achieve success, while the likes of Tottenham and Manchester Utd are run with debt from the banking institutes.
You can't talk about greatness in boxing or sport without discussing Muhammed Ali. To most fans, he is the pinnacle of the pugilistic arts. The way he fought had never been seen before in the heavyweight division with his fast hands and light feet seeing him likened him to the lightweight phenomena that was Sugar Ray Robinson. In his early days especially, Ali just oozed class, and an air of invincibility quickly built around him. He picked apart the beast that was Sonny Liston to become heavyweight champion of the world, and would tell anybody and everybody that he was the greatest of all time. It's a boast that most boxing fans in the world will agree with.
Although the human body continues to surpass our expectations of what is possible, there is surely going to come a time when we reach our physical limits. Even if we take a multitude of performance enhancing drugs, there is still only so much power that our muscles can produce, so much oxygen that our cells can hold, and so much blood that our hearts can pump to our extremities.
So you want to become the best soccer player you can possibly be? Well, let me tell you something. There is nothing more frustrating as a coach than when we hear kids say, "Yeah, yeah I want to be a pro soccer player, how can I improve?" only for us to see little or no improvement in the areas we talk about over the year. Yes, as coaches it’s up to us to design sessions that facilitate learning, to stimulate and to help you improve. But as a player with a real desire to be the best you can be, it’s up to you to take our advice, expand on it, work on it and surpass our expectations. One of the biggest examples of this is working on the use of your weaker foot. Coaches all over the world must be sick of telling their players that being able to use both feet will instantly make them stand out. But progress in this area is often slow or non-existent, which tells us as coaches that you simply don’t practice.