Meritocracy and the Average Football Team

A meritocracy is a good thing isn’t it? A football team selected on skill and effort would be a good example of a meritocracy in action. The Sunday league team I played for and the kids teams I have been involved with are examples of why a meritocracy is not a good thing. 

Team selection was not based on merit alone although there were always those who thought it should be. Every season at some point there would be a short but ferocious debate. Someone knows a very skilful player who has expressed an interest in playing for us, do we drop one of our regulars in favour of this super star? No, because playing is about more than ability. First we know from bitter experience that super stars can ruin team moral spending the whole game critiseing their team mates, complaining about poor passes , missed chances and failed tackles whilst at the same time putting very little effort into changing the situation. Another problem with these gifted but intolerant players is that as soon as an opportunity arises to play in a “ better” team they’re off. 

At this level what you most need is people who are reliable. There is nothing more disheartening than turning up to find you’re going to be playing one short because someone has withdrawn that morning or simply not turned up. What you want is people who try hard what ever the score, get on with their team mates and turn up what ever the weather. To this end we had a rule if you want to be considered for selection on Sunday then you have to turn up for training on a Tuesday. If you did and could provide transport you were pretty much guaranteed at least a place on the subs bench. 

Blair Mcpherson former Director ,author and blogger 


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