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Around the Wicket - Big Roy and Leadership Groups

Well, a week on – and it seems that Big Roy Symonds is still the talk of the town. Since his departure from the team, every journo worth his or her salt has come out in support of the move, and many have canned Symonds further.

Rebecca Wilson (who erroneously believes that all sportsmen and women are role models) claimed in the Sydney Telegraph that Roy told one of her mates (a well-known TV presenter) to F*** off at a function once, Malcolm Conn wrote in The Australian that Symonds once “shaped up” to him in a bar in Sri Lanka, but security intervened, and Ben Dorries has also been very scathing of Symonds in The Courier Mail. Perhaps the most shocking thing I’ve read though, was that Doug Walters said that Simmo should pull his head in. Pardon? If Doug was playing today, he’d have been on that boat with Roy - no doubt about it. Maybe Doug should pull his head in.

But, there will be no Roy bashing here. I’m a huge Symonds fan, and I reckon he is a bit of a throwback to a bygone generation - a generation where there was no such thing as “optional” training sessions, or “compulsory” team meetings organised on short notice. It was also a generation devoid of the one thing I hate most about sporting organisations these days – leadership groups.

It has become vogue for sports teams all over the world to have what is termed a “leadership group” or “senior players” group. I don’t know how they started, or when, but they are a bad idea. Any sports team should have just one designated leader – a captain. That captain should be responsible for all decisions regarding the team. A team should also have a vice captain – because the captain could be injured. That is where it should stop. There should be no such thing as a “Deputy Vice Captain”, “Co-captain”, or “Team Leader”. All those groups accomplish is make younger players feel uncomfortable approaching, and ostracised from, the senior players. They also turn players who are in the “leadership group” into prima donnas, because they start thinking they are a bit more important than they really are (you can insert which current Australian player you think I’m talking about here), and these groups actually detract from the strength of the captain. If a captain is saying things like “The leadership group has decided…” instead of “As captain, I have decided…”, he instantly seems like he’s not a strong enough captain to make decisions on his own.

The current Australian Cricket Leadership Group also has too much power. The leadership group decided Symonds shouldn’t play? Well, why does the team have selectors then? Isn’t it their job to decide who does and doesn’t play? The leadership group decided to suspend Roy Symonds? Well, why have coaches and administrators? I thought it was the coach’s job to be in charge of the group, and the administrator’s job to discipline individuals?

Maybe I’m not “up with the times”, or I’m not “hip”, but it seems to me that something which shouldn’t be all that complicated, now is. What do you think?
Sun 07/09/2008 Dave Bremner 114 views

7 Comments about this article

  • it just depends on what works to get results for the side.

    Posted by Udara Wis Thu Sep 11, 2008 10:54pm AEST
  • Too many chiefs, not enough indians??? (or aussie's as the case may be!)

    Posted by Scott Rowlings Mon Sep 15, 2008 12:05am AEST
  • Scott - I think that's part of it. And then the follow on from that is the fallout from having too many chiefs. Arguing, in-fighting, ego trips, suspending players to make a point... etc.

    How would a teacher go if he had an assistant teacher, senior students, and the principal all putting their 2 bob worth in, trying to run a class. The teacher's message would be lost amongst the garbage - or at best it would just be misunderstood.

    One group - one leader. It's old school - and it works.

    Posted by Dave Bremner Mon Sep 15, 2008 09:01am AEST
  • Roy is one in ten thousand. You take his skill, dedication & toughness - and you have to also take his human frailties as well.

    Posted by Barry Mackenzie Thu Sep 18, 2008 06:29am AEST
  • Exactly. Can't help thinking that if this happened back in AB's time, AB would have just kicked his arse., and told him to pull his head in - and that would have been it. It wouldn't even make the papers.

    Posted by Dave Bremner Fri Sep 19, 2008 08:26am AEST
  • Remember back ABs day they were not paid as much as they are today. Further they were not under the scrutiny they are these days. No mobile phone cameras etc. I do agree that pull your head in may be the right response to this however since the Habjahjan incident back in January Roy Boy has been by all accounts been very difficult. This indiscretion has been used in a way to say to him have some time out and pull your head in. Irrespective of who you are playing commitments are commitments.

    Posted by John Campo Fri Sep 19, 2008 12:41pm AEST
  • Too many of us know what's going on - I think that's the main problem. 15 years ago - nobody would even have known if Roy got trolleyed in Cardiff and fell off a wheelie bin at training, or was being a bit of a prick to his team mates. It would have been dealt with in house and kept there. But I guess we live in the Information Age now, and it's out there in the public eye - and public figures have to learn to deal with it.

    Posted by Dave Bremner Fri Sep 19, 2008 10:03pm AEST

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