Relegation doesn’t mean failure

It’s a weird time for me personally. I’ve seen my current club and boyhood club get relegated today, and obviously I have a lot of sentimental feelings about this. Perhaps that is something for another time, but in this short piece I wanted to look at a few things about being relegated and working in scouting/recruitment/analysis means in terms of relegation.

Whenever a team gets promoted or clinches a title, we tend to celebrate every little things about the club that made it possible. We are very quick to congratulate the analysis and recruitment department with an outstanding job done of contributing to the success. And I get it, feeling that you have been part of the success is something amazing. I’ve been there too, in a way I felt that the success of promotion and getting the title in 2017 was partly because of some of the work I’ve done. But in reality there are so many reason, circumstances, decisions and luck – that contribute to that particular success. I can’t really take credit for that, and people realise that.

Well now, this applies the same to relegation in my opinion – although people tend to take disappointments or relegation more personally than successes. My time at the club will end after this season – but you never know what the future might bring – and I’ve been pondering a lot about this relegation lately. Could I have done more in analysing our team? Could I have done with recruitment? Should I have looked more short-term in scouting players than the middle to long term that I have done? Should I have made more effort in a certain aspect? Was I overly confident? Should I have looked more to the academy? These things haunt me at night.

Perhaps they haunt me because I care deeply for the club I played in the acedemy for, am a fan of and work for. Perhaps it’s my own insecurity. The reality is that I contribute certain work to a bigger machine. I’m not solely responsible – I mean there are people above me and above them who need to make the final decisions in recruitment and analysis. I’ve banged on about improving data and video recruitment, about being more innovative – but in the end everything has to go with steps. And the mentioned things do not necesary mean success for this club.

What I’m trying to say – I think – is that a football club has multiple people working for them in scouting, coaching, analysis, and recruitment. Success or disappointments are always the consequence of teamwork, never that of a sole person. It’s hard to distance emotions of failure with disappointing results, but they do not define you as a person or you work. These are words I need to tell myself as well.

The work is not done if you have success. Neither is the work done when performances are disappointing. You are always striving to make the club better. Re-inventing yourself. Keep investing. Keep innovating. Keep developing. If anything, relegation gives an opportunity to have a hard look at everything the club has been doing and to make it more successful in the short, middle and long-term.

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