Managers prove there’s no such thing as technical area in football

Newcastle United' manager Alan Pardew and David Meyler square up in the 'technical area'.

Newcastle United' manager Alan Pardew and David Meyler square up in the 'technical area'. - Credit: PA

I have never understood why they call those rectangles in front of the dug outs at football grounds, the technical areas.

There is nothing technical about them - they are areas of grass, usually, marked with whitewash lines, which tell a football manager where he can stand.

Said football manager then stands in his allocated area and shouts, points, kicks imaginary balls, and gets shouted at (mostly) by those who pay for the privilege.

The only nod to technology is perhaps the laptop one of his assistants usually has to instruct a substitute what is required of him when he gets out on to the pitch.

More often than not, though, a notebook is employed (although why a football needs either to have his role explained to him is beyond me). It isn't technical.


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I recall Paul Lambert becoming a tad cheesed off when one of Chelsea's coaching staff encroached on his technical area during a game at Stamford Bridge - it led to words, none of which were very high-tech. If Lambert had been looking the other way he wouldn't have noticed, so the harm it did was zero. Technical area became playground.

At Hull a week ago, Alan Pardew looked at the white lines and mistook them for the ropes at a bare-knuckled fight and enjoyed a bit of very non-Queensberry Rules action – a headbutt – with David Meyler after the Hull player pushed him out of the way. All that room, and they got in each other's way. It was pathetic, first by the player and then by Pardew. Childish, pathetic behaviour.

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Do football managers bare their emotions to prove that they care as much about the team as do the fans? Do they seriously believe their players can hear them barking out instructions? Is it a sop to the owners?

Pardew later said he might be better off watching from distance. And why not? Rugby coaches seem able to sit behind glass, with a bank of screens in front of them even though they are never referred to as being in a 'technical area'. Cricket types sit up in the balcony, happily watching the game without the need to shout at players.

Only in America, where the sport is loud, proud and unabashed, do they have pitchside coaching teams which have a cast bigger than Ben Hur. Please don't let our national game descend to that level.

Excellent news that this afternoon's game at Carrow Road between Norwich City and Stoke will be called Duncan Forbes Day.

Duncan, who served the club for 33 years, suffers from Alzheimer's disease and lives in a care home.

City will be donating all profits from a special matchday programme remembering Forbes' career to support his care, while Chris Hughton's first-team squad will warm up in commemorative 'Forbes 5' T-shirts that will be auctioned after the game.

It is a terrific gesture for a man who served the club so well.

Growing up, Forbes was the giant I watched on a black and white TV screen. He was as hard as they came, a man you would trust your life with.

Fortunately, we are being given the chance to allow Duncan Forbes to trust his life in our hands this afternoon.

Watching England play in midweek, an experience I shared with a bit of work on the laptop, made me realise that the days of the out and out goal-scoring striker are long gone.

The post-match interviews appeared to concentrate a little too much on the role of Daniel Sturridge, ask not only to score but to track back and help shore up midfield.

The days of Gary Lineker, and, well before him Bob Latchford, are long gone. Those two were great goalscorers, but curiously, perhaps not great players. Gerd Muller scored 68 goals in 62 games for (West) Germany – and not much else. But what else do you need?

Nowadays, strikers have to have more strings to their bow, and often the art of scoring is ignored. Ricky van Wolfswinkel had a great game against Spurs – even though hardly a chance came his way.

Lineker didn't tackle, he didn't defend at corners. He just waited for team-mates to put the ball where he wanted it and then scored.

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