Ross The Boss

Jack Ross is determined to pick his starting eleven based on effort and merit, not on former status and earnings. He explained: “When I came into the job, there were two things I did,” said Ross. “One, I didn’t ask for an opinion of players until I came in, I did my own homework in terms of watching them. Also, I completely separated myself from a player’s earnings because I wanted to judge them and assess them myself, every day on the training pitch. That’s the best way to do it. On a match day of course, but with the work they do every single day. I think because I judged them that way, and my staff judged them that way too, that quickly took away any feeling of that (being influenced by earnings). You’d have to ask the players separately if it ever came into their thoughts, but when I was a player, I never really concerned myself with anyone else’s contract. As long as I was satisfied with my own, I was happy.”

 

Ross also spoke at length about his management and football philosophies. He’s clearly a deep thinking and a clever guy. “There’s unique aspects to football, like there is to every profession, but then there’s aspects that are the same as any organisation,” said Ross. “I was lucky, my dad started his own industrial cleaning business when I was younger and I was always fascinated by that. Then one of my close friends has a scaffolding business that he’s grown enormously. He’s very successful in construction, but comes from a very working-class background. We speak a lot about how he treats his workforce, and how he looks after them. How he treats them as human beings. It’s exactly the same, although it gets lost a little bit in football because we believe that footballers are immune to the same emotions that every other human being has. They’re exactly the same. They get up, they get down, they get worried, they like to be praised, they like to know what’s going on. I always try to remember that. When I was playing, and certainly when I was getting towards the end of my playing career, I would have believed I could manage straight away,” he said. “I wanted to manage straight away, but I didn’t get that opportunity. But in hindsight, I probably had a really good apprenticeship, crammed into a relatively short period of time. I was development coach then first-team coach, then assistant manager then manager, then a manager at a full-time club. I think that meant I was able to handle those transitions much easier. Then, when I got this opportunity, I don’t think it’s fazed me in any way. I think I’ve been ready for it. That’s not to say you can’t do things a different way though.”

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At the back end of the 1980s, football fanzines began to sweep the country and in 1989 we were presented with a new vehicle on which to enjoy some of this ride – A Love Supreme. ALS was a place we could all go to celebrate and commiserate being a Sunderland fan. Win, lose or draw, the pages of the fanzine became solace for many of us as we stumbled our way through our day to day lives, punctuated by the ups and downs of more match days than any of us care to remember.

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