Melton Times Sports Editor’s Blog: You think you’ve got it tough Jose? Try Holwell

Simon Daws is in his eighth season, and second spell, as Holwell boss EMN-150511-153849002
Simon Daws is in his eighth season, and second spell, as Holwell boss EMN-150511-153849002

There have been times over the past month, at moments of weakness, when I have felt sorry for Chelsea boss Jose Mourinho.

Such has been the daily scrutiny in the national press and TV, it would be easy for the casual viewer to think the enigmatic Portuguese had adopted Beleaguered or Underfire as a new first name.

In terms of reaping what you sow, it was understandable that anyone cocky enough to label themselves special was never going to get a huge sympathy vote when events took a pear-shaped turn.

Once it only took a snide comment here or a slight whimsy there to have a doe-eyed media pack in fits of over-exaggerated hysterics.

But then the results went wrong and, sensing vulnerability, the loyal court subjects rebelled.

A turn so dramatic, Cruyff would have been proud.

You certainly find out who your friends are at times like this.

And for this reason, I couldn’t help but feel a bit of sympathy as Chelsea’s dismal run continued.

That was until I interviewed Simon Daws last week. I’m sure the Holwell Sports boss wishes he could swap places.

Things looked genuinely rosy for Holwell in mid-September.

They had signed a former Premier League star and banished their customary slow start to the season.

In the league Sports were handily placed in fifth and bouncing along on another giantkilling FA Cup run.

But the magic of the cup also carried nasty spells.

Two replays on heavy pitches took their toll on a smallish squad and the injuries began to mount.

Before you could say physio, more than half the first team squad were sidelined by injury.

Results inevitably suffered, and still the injuries mounted, seemingly a couple every game.

By the end of October your fourth goalkeeper of the season is crocked, you have lost nine of the last 10 games and slipped to second-bottom.

And then in one fell swoop five players leave, three of them lured away, with dark irony, by a higher league team whose downfall Daws had plotted in the accursed cup.

At this level of the non-league pyramid there is no transfer window to save you from potential suitors.

And at Holwell, in line with their long-standing policy of not paying appearance fees, no budget to fetch replacements.

In step six, your recruitment is only as good as your own reputation and powers of persuasion.

So on the back of all this, Daws would perhaps have welcomed a call from the local sports editor as much as a burglary.

As a player, he served under Martin O’Neill at Grantham Town, and as a manager he has adopted O’Neill’s man-management to get the best out of his players, emphasising the importance of team spirt and, above all, effort.

Often this psychology has helped dig out unlikely results and long winning runs, occasionally lifting a team above the sum of its parts.

These efforts have often been made without much support, and even gratitude, from previous regimes.

Daws could therefore have been excused for lashing out, and blaming the world and his wife for the latest misfortunes foisted upon him.

That he did no such thing was to his enormous credit.

In fact he did the opposite, wishing his departing players well.

While disappointed with the hand currently dealt him, as a coach he was proud to see his players progress.

It was a simple, dignified response which many professional managers would do well to observe and imitate.

Like Mourinho with Chelsea, Daws is genuinely proud to manage Holwell.

At times, perhaps, only pride has persuaded him to carry on.

So we shouldn’t feel sorry for Mourinho or indeed any Premier League manager.

And save your sympathy for Daws and Holwell. Instead let’s show our support.