Dear Vicki

Monkey Business agony aunt VICKI PARK returns with help for troubled souls

Dear Vicki
I am an experienced football manager who recently left his job managing a prominently under-achieving national team, and I’m getting on a bit. Should I find myself another position or take the opportunity to retire.
RH London

Dear RH,
The great thing these days is that the date when you retire is up to you, and nobody can make you go (unless you resign of course.) Some people are winding down to retirement at 50 while others are taking on new challenges at 70.

So I’d say that you should do whatever you want to do for as long as you can, but the time to retire is when you find yourself saying “I don’t know what I’m doing here”.

Dear Vicki,
As a top goalscorer with my club and country for a decade, I am now nearing the end of my career. Many of my contemporaries have decided, when reaching my age, to retire from international football to concentrate on what remains of their club careers. Do you think I should follow that path or try to go on and on, and collect as many caps as I can.
WR Manchester

Dear WR
Only you (meaning of course, your agent) can decide what’s best for you.

You may be thinking about injuries and niggles that are getting harder to shake off. Or of flights to far off grim places in the middle of winter. Or perhaps of international managers that want you to play in weird positions or formations. Or even of fellow players who only want to talk about who’s got the most Ferraris. Then again, perhaps you’re just looking to take things easy in the last few years before your retirement. These are all valid reasons why so many of your predecessors have taken this very understandable option.
"Only you (meaning of course, your agent) can decide what’s best for you"

But before you follow their example, bear in mind that with the pound having fallen due to Brexit, international caps may now be a safe haven for discerning investors to buy into. Grabbing a few more while you still can may well be a wise move, so talk to your financial advisor before coming to any decision.
-And if you haven't already done so, keep those caps locked safely away - your next Ferrari may well cost you a fair bit more than the last few!

Dear Vicki,
I am am an experienced Premier League manager, recently appointed to run a national side. I’m known for my sports science methods and my long-ball tactics.

Do you think that, with more gifted players at my disposal, I should abandon my tried-and-tested but rarely successful methods in favour of a more adventurous style?
SA Sunderland

Dear SA,
I think you’ve fallen into the trap that so many others have done in the past. You were given the job by people who knew how your teams play, so presumably that’s what they want. So let’s have none of this radical thinking as you probably won’t be any good at tactics that are alien to you anyway.

In this case, sticking to what you and your employers know is the less risky option, so just go for it and lead your team out proudly to bore the pants off everybody. 

Dear Vicki
The team I manage unexpectedly won a top football trophy last season, partly because everyone thought we were overachieving and would run out of steam soon. As a result our competitors underestimated us, which probably gave us some of our points.

Having won that trophy, other teams are going to show us more respect this season, so do you think that, having retained most of our players, we realistically can repeat our achievement?
CR Leicester

Dear CR,
Anything’s possible, but that element of surprise is a powerful thing. Look at the results on any FA Cup Saturday and you’ll see minnows beating teams from higher divisions, mostly because the losing players had thought that turning up was enough.

So having lost that part of the battle, this time you’re going to need to actually be better than your big-money competitors. 

Failing that, you may need to resort to underhand methods.

Why not, for example, take a leaf out of cricket’s book and get one of your strikers to wear a box. If he then invites an opposing player to test it for him, he can get the other player sent off. Of course that ploy would only work once, and if the opposing player were a central defender, the contents of the box may never work again.