Dear Vicki

VICKI, our agony aunt, answers your problems



Dear Vicki,

I spent eight years in top-level management in London and have now secured a position managing my jolly old country's national team, despite having very few skills other than being a bit of a character. In securing that position I suggested that willpower and optimism can achieve anything, but now I'm not so sure that will be enough.

Have you any tips?
BJ, Downing Street, London
Dear BJ,

Management requires a complex mix of abilities. Willpower and optimism are obviously important, but also delegation, an eye for detail, an analytical mind, vision, and an ability to get on with people all come into it. You have to know when to praise people, when to criticise or even sack them, and you have to be able to foresee the results of your actions.

But the most important thing is to maintain respect, and to avoid what in football parlance is called "losing the dressing room". And a large part of achieving that is to always show dignity, like England manager Gareth Southgate. While things like wearing a smart three-piece suit and combing your hair won't keep you in a job, it may at least postpone the day when you get found out.
Vicki


Dear Vicki,
I am a recently-retired, rather tall international footballer, and I am considering what to do with my retirement so wondered if you could give me some pointers. I'm not keen on football management or being a pundit, but I have some experience of doing podcasts and TV ads.
PC, Stoke-on-Trent
Dear PC,
There are lots of examples of footballers having separate careers outside of football. Mick Channon became a racehorse trainer, Francis Lee built a toilet roll business (though in his day football fans used to throw toilet rolls onto the pitch so that's perhaps where he got the idea!) And further back, Charlie Williams became a comedian. I'd just go with whatever interests you and before you know it, you may end up with a second career.

If you do continue down the celebrity TV ad route I'd avoid doing ones for potato crisps, however.
Vicki


Dear Vicki,
I am a Spanish football club manager who has won lots of trophies with various clubs. Until recently I managed an English Premier league team, with whom I did wonders considering its owner's reluctance to provide funding for new players.

I am now managing in China for an exorbitant salary while my former employer is struggling to keep his business afloat due to tax liabilities, an ill-advised takeover, and being unable to sell the football club.

Would it be ungracious of me to gloat?
RB, Dalian, China
Dear RB,
Assuming your previous employer was a decent, hardworking businessman caught up in difficult conditions in a fast-changing world, then yes, gloating may not be very appropriate. However, ...
(Unfortunately the remainder of Vicky's reply was illegible - Ed.)
Vicki