I am coming to the conclusion that the manager of the Irish football team is living life like an alcoholic – an alcoholic living in denial.
Before I talk about Trapattoni, I need to explain a little about the mindset of people with drinking problems. When I first came up with the notion of getting and staying sober for good, I did a lot of research on the subject. The most important points which seemed to be repeated over and over no matter where I looked were these
– Accept who you are and be responsible for who that person is
– Do not live in the past. Take each day as it comes.
– Be deeply honest about yourself as a person
The first one of these, as it is for most people, was the trickiest for me to get my head around. Accepting that you make mistakes, that you can go down the wrong road or that you can make a mess of your life can be a tricky position to place yourself in.
Alcoholics like to blame people, things and places for their woes and misfortune.
When I began to get sober in Australia, I was drinking heavily, unemployed, gambling a lot and taking drugs whenever they were around. I had to face up to the fact that I was the one who was responsible for this. Not my friends, my family, ex-boss, ex-girlfriend or ex-coach. Me, myself and I had put me in the position I was in.
I had to accept that this person was me – there was no point in pulling the wool over my own eyes.
Owning up to that fact took time but when I did, the weight that lifted was immense. If I could get myself into this position, then I could get myself out.
All I had to do was change my decision making.
The second point was easier. I had to stop looking back at the way things used to be, or dreaming of better times ahead. Playing for Dublin was a memory and the future …. I had to think day to day. Focus. Be positive. Baby steps.
The third point simply means being honest enough to admit your weaknesses and be comfortable with them. Do not try to change them or change yourself in relation to them. Admit them, avoid them and above all do not try to hide them. For me it meant accepting I was a drunken, sleazy, cynical piece of work. No more hiding the jiggly bits.
So what would happen if the great Giovanni Trapattoni came to see The Sober Paddy and asked me for some advice?
I would give the man a big man hug for starters. I would tell him that it is great to see him. Then we would get down to business.
Accepting who you are and be responsible for who that person is
Trapattoni made us qualify for one Euro’s and a play off for a World Cup. He is also responsible for the three brutal displays when we were out muscled, out skilled and shown to be tactically deficient in those Euro championships. He is more recently responsible for a 6-1 home defeat against Germany.
He is responsible for his rigid formations and tactical inefficiencies. He needs to own this current mess. He needs to understand that it is his and his alone. He needs to accept this.
A chef, who makes a poor omelette, does not blame the eggs.
Do not live in the past. Take each day as it comes.
Managers love to bandy two things around – clichés and statistics. Trapattoni has been talking about pre Euro results and about spirit shown to get a win in Kazakhstan. These are the past and they attempt to glaze over the reality of a group of players who are struggling to attack or defend.
At his press conference today he said:
““I have crossed the Alps barefoot and I have overcome many difficult situations in my career.”
Again he is living in the past.
Trapattoni is no doubt one of the finest ever managers of the game and deserves respect. But much of that glory was achieved many years ago. His reputation is solid, but one can only live day to day when in recovery. Reputations count for nothing. History counts for nothing. Day to day is results based on a 24 hour scale and I am afraid that Trapattoni is dreaming of tomorrow and looking back a la recherche du temps perdu.
Be deeply honest about yourself as a person
Giovanni, do you need the money? Do you need the glory? Do you need the headache? Face up to yourself. Be honest about where this is going and about how you are performing. Accept that what you are doing now is resulting in failure, embarrassment and depression.
Is this how you really want things to be?
Are you honest enough to admit this isn’t working anymore?
To Sum It Up
Observations – Trapattoni is living in denial. He is showing all the signs of a classic alcoholic – blaming everyone around him, living in yesteryear and a serious lack of honesty about his situation. He is living in the past and he needs to look at himself and walk away with his head held high. He needs to quit managing for good. He has nothing left to prove to himself or anyone else. His methods are not working and if he continues, then the situation will only get worse.
Diagnosis – I recommend two weeks with the Sober Paddy in the Betty Ford Clinic for crazy old Italians here in Belize. If he was an alcoholic I would say no more booze – so no more managing is the only way to go. Time for retirement.