IT GOES almost unnoticed every week throughout non-league football and if you want to be successful at the semi-pro game, indeed at any level of any sport, then you have to have it in abundance without question.
|Massey earlier in the season with Glyn Hooper in the dugout (image by Vaughan Pickhaver)|
What am I talking about? Commitment, of course.
In semi-pro football, commitment to the game is far greater than anything required in the pro game.
This is because most semi-pro footballers have full-time jobs, which, obviously, come first, even before thinking about the demands of the game.
I was privileged to spend 16 years in the professional game and, now, nearly 25 years in non-league management.
Believe me when I say that the non-league game requires so much more commitment. In the pro game, when management demand something from you, you do it. That's your life. Everything revolves around football – you breathe and sleep and eat football.
Conversely, for non-league footballers life is rather different. I always say to my players and staff: family first, then work and finally the football.
This is a juggling act that is tough to manage sometimes. Many people just take it for granted that teams will turn up on a Tuesday evening somewhere down the M4 for a 7.45pm kick-off after a long and tiring journey, ready and fighting fit, all on top of a day's work.
The commitment that goes into just making sure that everyone arrives on time to leave with the coach is huge for many of my players.
Credit has to be given to all the players who are ambitious and committed enough to compete at this level.
Here at TCFC we had two cases last Saturday of just such commitment.
Our goalkeeping coach Deba Sidhu, one of the nicest guys I've ever worked with in football, had work commitments on Saturday, but still managed to arrive a mere 20 minutes late into the game – turning up in the muddy dug out still wearing his very sharp and extremely smart work suit.
Our head coach Glynn Hooper, who is also head of Football and year five at Truro School, also rushed back from Warrington near Manchester, after a family funeral on Saturday morning. Glynn arrived just in time to take the warm up.
His attendance at the game was a tremendous gesture from him and his family.
And with a superb performance by the team on Saturday against top of the table Chesham, the 1-1 draw was justifiable reward for all the hard work and commitment shown by everyone.
By the way harsh, as it might seem, both Deba and Glynn were still fined by the fines secretary (Jake Ash) for being late!
It can be a cruel game this football, but a lot of fun and many rewards when we are winning!