Thursday January 12, 2012 at 5:21pm
Gary Johnson, Thierry Henry and Paul Scholes might at first glance seem like an incongruous trio, and it is difficult at glance to see what the balding, slightly rotund boss of Yeovil, the king of va-va-voom and brilliant, but reclusive Manchester United midfielder have in common, but they all did something this week.
They all went back.
They went back to the site of perhaps their greatest triumphs. In doing so they were flying in the face of perceived football wisdom that you should avoid doing that at all costs.
Of course, the initial results for all three were mixed. Henry scored the winner against Leeds, Scholes was poor, although United won and The Glovers were on the end of a 4-0 tonking at the hands of Sheffield United in Johnson’s first game back in charge.
So is there any truth in the cliché, or is it just another footballing old wives tale?
Actually it’s hard to tell for definite, because sometimes it does and sometimes it doesn’t.
So it is just like any other football transfer or managerial move in that respect. For every Tony Pulis, who has achieved miracles on his return to Stoke, after an ignominious departure first time around, there is a Howard Kendall, whose second spell at Goodison Park ended in rather less glory than the league title winning first.
It is easy to see why people do go back. Firstly its familiar territory, with largely happy memories, certainly that is the case for the three people who have done that this week.
Secondly they may be settled in the area, or feel they have some unfinished business there (that may be particularly true for Johnson), feel they can offer something still to the organisation they work for, or loyalty (this might be the Scholes angle) or they might just need to be adored to feed their ego (and Thierry, I am thinking about you here!) whatever the reason, a little bit of knowledge is a good thing.
And actually it feeds very nicely into what we do at Football Business. The reason we came up with the concept of helping local people run their own 5 and 6 a side football leagues is a simple one. We believe they can do a better job – and therefore make more money - than someone sat in a Head Office of one of the big firms miles away.
We believe they can do this because they are familiar with the area, know the people, have something to offer the area and feel loyalty to the community. Exactly the reasons that some of those footballers might have gone back.
Johnson himself said on his return to Huish Park: “They say you should never go back, but here I am. It definitely feels like coming home, that's for sure.”
And home is certainly where the heart is – and as an even older cliché says, it can certainly be home, sweet, home.
It can be even sweeter if you run your local football league and get paid for it, and that’s where we come in.