Meetings. In the world you and I likely inhabit, they’re a chance to drink coffee, eat cookies and waste a couple of hours accomplishing nothing while everyone tells each other it’s great to have decided on a way forward. Which will then get totally changed later on by someone’s arbitrary email, necessitating another meeting and more cookies. Repeat at least weekly for several years, until fired or retired.
Sometimes there are sandwiches. Which can be quite exciting.
Not in soccer, though, because reports about “meetings” almost always have the word “crisis” bolted on to the front. Pretty much any time we hear about a manager gathering his players to talk to them, it’s going to be a “crisis meeting.” Possibly a “showdown.” Meetings are never good or routine.
Take the chat Liverpool boss Brendan Rodgers had in the wake of his side’s thrashing by Arsenal, which came in the wake of its loss to Manchester United. Liverpool is now level on points in the EPL standings with Tottenham, which is rarely good news at this time of year for a team with Champions League ambitions.
“The Anfield boss called a meeting after training at Melwood yesterday and accused several players of not playing for him. Some senior players spoke up angrily against Rodgers as they were left incensed at the accusation. Some have been left disaffected in recent weeks and now Rodgers is facing the biggest test of his reign at Anfield,” reports the Mirror, leaving unanswered the burning questions, such as whether Rodgers used a flowchart, if there was a slight delay at the start because the room was double-booked, and why isn’t the projector working?
All pure nonsense, Rodgers replied today. He loves meetings; the team loves meetings; everyone loves meetings. They’re a chance for him to use corporate-speak; of course he relishes them. “We have lots of meetings here in terms of analyzing performance and it was no different to a whole host of meetings we have all year.
“Those meetings helped us recover from the bad start we had to win ten games out of 13. It was nothing really; it was just analyzing performance, analyzing where we are at and then feeding forward to the players,” he said according to a Press Association report on FIFA.com, which is now publishing news stories other than “top player does charity work,” “top player says everything is wonderful” and “Sepp Blatter saves kitten that got stuck in a cuckoo clock; in line for humanitarian of the year award”.