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Football managering with Harmy

Steve Harmison gives a pep talk to his amateur football club

Alan Tyers
Friends reunited: Steve Harmison and Andrew Flintoff, Lancashire v Yorkshire, Royal London Cup, Group A, Old Trafford, July 26, 2014

"I told the lads, team unity is crucial: don't rock the boat, and if you do, at least make sure it's a good, solid British boat you rock, not some fancy island one"  •  Getty Images

Steve Harmison has become manager of his local amateur football team, Ashington, which plays in the Northern League Division One. How might his first team talk have gone?
"Howay lads. Gather rooond. Everyone help themselves to a bit of orange. That's an exotic fruit, that is. From Foreign. Little insight from my days as an international sportsman that's turned up, done it, and more often than not put it in the right areas all around the world. The cricket ball, not the exotic fruit. I won't touch that fancy stuff myself. I always made sure I had a suitcase of Geordie produce with me wherever I was sent to.
"Good performance out there tonight. We all know that playing away from home is more difficult - things in Bishop Auckland are very, very different to what we're used to at home in Ashington. For one, the climate is totally different. And they have other sorts of biscuits to what we're used to having. And you sometimes can't get a decent cup of tea. It's like a foreign country, only without nice hotels.
"Some people might say, 'But boss, it's only 45 minutes down the road', but they don't know how tough it can be, to be away from wus bairns for an entire evening at a time. Plus, it's almost in Hartlepool, and I won't go there on ethical reasons, like Nasser with that African place. It's just not right, what the people of Hartlepool done to that H'Angus.
"So you've all done brilliant, under the circumstances, here in Bishop Auckland. Take heart from that adversity and give thanks that you're not in the other Auckland, the one in New Zealand. That's so far away that they actually have orcs and dwarves there - we seen it on a documentary once that Belly had on his laptop. Terrifying. Poor Belly couldn't sleep for a week.
"Talking of tea, you'll not find me the sort of manager that throws teacups. I'm more of an arm-around-the-shoulder sort of a manager. You throw a teacup at somebody, you don't know where it might go. I had an incident myself with that once in Brisbane, tried to chuck a teacup at Hoggy and I've ended up doing poor Fred a terrible mischief on his knee. Lesson learned? Aye. Don't go to Brisbane.
"When I played cricket for England there were a lot of hard times to overcome, mainly when they made us play cricket, but overall it was a positive experience because I got to spend a lot of time with my mates. I'll definitely be looking to bring a few of the old faces back in. Fred has offered his services as a refuelling consult already. If we can get Vaughany in to do the clever tactical stuff and have his say in the media several times a day, and maybe find a role for Broady to help out with some of the dark arts of the game, we could really build something special here. So remember lads, get out there, get stuck in, and whatever you do, try not to put the ball out wide."

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