Here is a link to Rudyard Kipling’s epic poem If:


And here is my take on it, a mantra for all Premiership teams as we reach the halfway stage of 2009/2010 season. Observe.

Rafa, if you can keep your cabeza when all about you
Are losing theirs and blaming it on you,
If you can trust yourself when all ex-players and pundits doubt you,
But make allowance for their doubting too;
If you can lose and not be tired of losing,
Or being sarcastic, don’t deal in sarcasm,
Or being bolshy, don’t give way to false-promises,
And yet don’t look too good, nor talk too wise:

Redknapp, If you can dream of a top-4 finish – and not make dreams your master,
If you can think – and not make thoughts your aim,
If you can meet with Defoe and Heurelho Gomes,
And treat those two impostors just the same;
If you can bear to hear back what you originally told the taxman,
“Money into a Monaco bank account” – a trap for fools,
Or watch your son in a Thomas Cook advert, his cool image broken,
And stoop, sing “we buy any car”, tell him it could have been worse:

Avram, If you can make one very small heap of all your club’s finances
And risk it on one player who actually belongs in the Premiership,
And lose, and start again at your beginnings
And never breathe a word about the talent you didn’t inherit;
If you can force your players
To serve you even when they are not being paid,
And so hold on where there is nothing to look forward to, nothing
Except the Will which says to them ‘Hold On!’

Managers, if you can talk to your fans and keep your virtue,
Or meet in secret with foreign billionaires – nor lose the common touch,
If neither the taxman nor bitter ex-chairmen can hurt you,
If all men count with you, but none too much;
If you can fill the next six unforgiving months
With half a year’s worth of blood, sweat and scandal,
Yours is next year’s Premier League TV money and everything that comes with it,
And – which is more – you might still have a job, my son!

By Ross A. Fox


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