English clubs need to face up to the naked truth
FRENCH NOTES: Their negotiating tactics have left little room for manoeuvre – if the ERC calls their bluff they are in real trouble
A FEW years ago the general manager of a leading Welsh provincial team was instructed by his board of directors to extend the contract of the club’s coach for two seasons. The coach and the GM were old friends having played together in their youth and had now worked together in management for several years. They were firm friends.
The board had further “riding instructions” for the GM. They wanted the coach’s new contract to contain only a modest wage increase despite the obvious improvement of the team performance. This would require some “high performance” negotiating skills from the GM, as the coach would be looking for a substantial increase.
The board made it clear that they wanted the right result.
The GM thought long and hard about the appropriate negotiating tactics to adopt with his old mate. He decided he had to disrupt the coach’s concentration and try to unsettle him. He would follow Napoleonic tactics and fight the battle on the ground of his choosing.
The coach arrived at the GM’s office for the meeting and was waiting outside. The GM asked him to wait for a moment. The GM proceeded to remove all his cloths and stand behind his desk stark, bollock naked.
He called for the coach to enter . . .
The coach had to admit, the sight of his old mate nude, and it must be said, not in the flower of his youth, had him very flustered.
The naked GM pounced: “We are very happy with your coaching. I am offering you a two-year extension to your contract but it has to be signed now as the board need to know your intentions.”
The coach later related to me that his mind was racing to keep up with events. “I am in the GM’s office. He is in the ‘raw’. There is a new contact. I must sign it immediately!”
Now the coach played his master stroke. After a startled moment, the coach stood up and carefully commenced to unbutton and remove his shirt. The room was silent.
Next he took off his shoes, then his belt, pants and finally his undies were all removed.
He carefully and deliberately folded his clothes. Taking his time. He began to implement the counter-tactics required to negotiate against his old friend.
The GM’s shock and awe tactics had gone as saggy as his “old administrative bum”. The nude coach sat down and glared at the naked GM. They disregarded the itchy cloth covers of the chairs, that were scratching both their nether regions and they began negotiations.