Smudger says...

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THE road to Wembley began at the weekend and before 3pm on Saturday we were 12 games away from playing under the arch at one of the most famous modern theatres in the world.

Our FA Cup journey started with a home tie against Gorleston in the first qualifying round.

We came into this game with a spring in our step, but unfortunately began it like we were treading water.

After a bad start, the opposition’s goalkeeper pulled off a string of saves to prevent the score being three or four against the run of play before a corner from Sam (Reed) and a brave back of the neck by Lee (Reed) put us 1-0 up.

At the break we came into the dressing room a goal up but a man down after Bully (Tom Bullard) was dismissed for an infringement off the ball.

However, I have a sneaky suspicion there was more damage done to the jug of orange juice that was innocently lying in his path while making his way to the showers.

That subsequently meant we were drinking the drops of juice from the ceiling and walked into the bar after the game smelling like Robinsons and sticking to the seats.

Hiring and firing

Leroy Rosenoir, Martin Ling, Paul Hart, Steve Coppell, Colin Todd. What do these names have in common?

Over the past 15 years, the modern game has changed significantly at a blistering pace.

With all the pros of this change comes the cons and these names are of the managers that lasted ‘five minutes’ at various clubs. Rosenoir holds the current record of 10 minutes.

If you don’t get the results within a short period of time, you will be out. If you get the results, win trophies, but do not fulfil the tycoons’ desire for Barcelona-style football, you will be out.

This week, another manager (Gian Piero Gasperini) has bitten the bullet after just five matches and three months at the helm in what is said to be the toughest job in Italy (Inter Milan).

Jose Mourinho succeeded in recent times and left for possibly the toughest job in Spain (Real Madrid).

My point is that modern day football clubs and the men sat in the directors’ box do not give the manager – whom the hierachy have appointed – enough time to build a successful outfit.

This boils down to trust and loyalty. The prime examples of patience succeeding are of course Manchester United and Arsenal.

The faith and patience each club have shown has paid off with title-winning teams, both domestically and in Europe.

Alex Ferguson did not win silverware in the first five seasons he was in charge and, although it took Arsene Wenger two seasons to do so, the principle remains the same.