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Tony Mowbray: Life as a manager

The boss tells us about the highs and lows of management and why he can never ever switch off

13 October 2018

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Tony Mowbray has revealed all. The boss has been discussing the ups and downs, the pressures and the inability to ever think of anything else when it comes to football management.

Mowbray's well versed and immersed in football. A player straight from school into hometown team Middlesbrough, the defender went on to appear for Celtic and Ipswich Town.
After a spell as a coach, management came the way of Mowbray, with Hibernian giving him his first chance before spells with West Bromwich Albion, Celtic, Middlesbrough, Coventry City and then Rovers.
And now the boss reveals all about his life in football...
“I’ve kicked a ball about since I was two or three and after leaving school I went straight to Middlesbrough Football Club. Football has been my life," Tony said.
“I’ve never really been out of football since then. As a coach you are occasionally out of work, but I find myself at 54 to have never really been without football.
“Alex Neil spoke about the difficulties of the job and it’s what you do every day. You prepare for games all day every day. You go to be thinking about formations, players, tactics.
“You wake up and think again, preparing, planning. You are dealing with human beings and you have to give respect to them when it comes to picking a team. 
“Sometimes I see sadness in the face of a player when they aren’t picked. When you lose a game, all that work, all that preparation seems like it’s all been for nothing.
“I’m speaking to analysts, watching through game after game, hour after hour. I’m away from my family and I don’t see my children all week. Saturday someone does something stupid, you lose a game and you head home with your stomach churned.
“On a Sunday you want to have breakfast with your family and you’re not really interested because the football has ripped your guts out and you’re left wondering exactly what’s gone wrong on the pitch.
“The negativity, whether it be through media or social media, it’s in your face non-stop. I want to enjoy my life and I love football, love coming into work every day. But I understand why some managers question whether it’s all worth it.
“I work with good human beings who work hard. Players know I like them all and I have to pick a team. But they are all well paid and they should get out there on the grass and train hard to try and get in the team.
“It’s consuming, football. You work on a match day for 90 minutes and have that elation if all the hard work has paid off at full time. But that elation goes very quickly as you’re onto the next game and the preparation starts again."
Fans know about the frustrations when it comes to a failure to win a certain game, but for Tony, he confesses that the feeling of disappointment clings onto him in the days after a result.
“If you lose, the hurt lingers for too long. You have to come back in on the Monday to get ready for the next game and the process starts again. It’s a unique feeling when you’re on the touchline.
“Whilst supporters are very passionate about their team, when you lose a game, I doubt whether that feeling is still around until a Monday or a Tuesday. 
“Sometimes it spoils my life when we lose. You don’t want to do anything, you don’t want to speak to the wife and you don’t want to take the kids out to play footy in the back garden.
“You are still fuming about the left winger not tracking his man back! That’s how it is. That’s the emotion of football.
“That’s how we work, it’s non-stop. Who’s playing? What’s the formation? What’s the tactics? That’s football management for you. You’re thinking all the time."

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