Early Doors

Football’s most pointless jobs

Early Doors

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There was a time when Tottenham's new acquisition Les Ferdinand would have been called a coach.

But football has fallen victim to management speak, and Sir Les is rather pompously described as a 'strikers' consultant'.

Early Doors explains what those ridiculous job titles really mean.

Strikers' consultant - Les Ferdinand, Tottenham Hotspur

It sounds like he should be offering advice to disgruntled postal workers, but apparently that is not the case. Harry Redknapp seems to have taken a shine to pundits on upstart Irish satellite channels, having already brought Tim Sherwood to Spurs. Ferdinand clearly didn't want to give up offering penetrating insights like "Joe Kinnear has got a lot of charm" and settled for a consultancy role that will consist of an hour and a half a week spent swearing at Roman Pavlyuchenko in Estuary English.

Vice-president (player recruitment) - Tony Jimenez, Newcastle United

What is most puzzling about Jimenez's vice-presidency is that Newcastle do not appear to have a president. He probably just fancied being the Sarah Palin of Tyneside. Essentially, it meant he was in charge of buying mediocre Hispanic players and Danny Guthrie until he sensibly beat a hasty retreat last month. Probably the most nebulous and grandiose job title in the world. Except the one below...

Executive director (football) - Dennis Wise, Newcastle United

A spectacularly meaningless title, making conflict over Wise's role all but inevitable. Manager Kevin Keegan insisted: "Dennis will report to me". Wise begged to differ - he was executive director (football), after all - and Keegan was predictably eased out of the club. Wise is still there, you know, doing whatever it is he does.

Faith healer - Eileen Drewery, England

At least we know what she did - namely, shove Darren Anderton into a broom cupboard full of incense candles and rub his oh-so-breakable ligaments, tendons and muscles while making soothing dolphin noises. Oddly, it seemed to work. Said Drewery after Glenn Hoddle's karma-induced sacking from the England job: "He has offered so much to invalids I can't tell you." Which is presumably why she didn't.

Head of human performance - Dr Richard Hawkins, Manchester United

Early Doors can just about get its head around the concept of a performance director, but why bother inserting the word 'human' into the job description. Is there a head of inhuman performance? Are United secretly preparing a team of robots to deliberately injure Arsenal's remaining fit players at the weekend? Maybe ED has said too much...

International football consultant - Sir Bobby Robson, Republic of Ireland

Aged 73 and suffering from increasingly serious health problems, Bobby Robson obviously shouldn't have been working in 2006 but loved football enough to agree to show Republic of Ireland boss Steve Staunton the ropes. Despite his age and battle with cancer, most Irish fans would have preferred Sir Bobby in the dugout to Staunton, whose main achievements were re-naming himself Steven and describing San Marino as "difficult to break down".

Honorary president - Thaksin Shinawatra, Manchester City

The ultimate Get Out of Jail Free card. Thaksin's new role at Eastlands is, in modern parlance, non-executive. Which means he doesn't do anything. Except have an excuse not to go to prison in Thailand. City have nine honorary presidents - Early Doors wants to know in which South-East Asian country Eric Alexander, Sir Howard Bernstein, Tony Book, Raymond Donn, Michael Horwich, Ian Niven MBE, Keith Pinner and Tudor Thomas are wanted men.

Football advisor - David Pleat, Marbella

Early in 2008, the much-travelled Pleat took on this role at Spanish lower-league side Marbella. Note again the superfluous use of 'football' - it's not like you'd ask David Pleat for advice on anything else. At least he had the good grace to admit his real reason for joining: "I have owned a property here for a long time." Pleat's extensive scouting network soon came up trumps with the signing of Tommy Mooney.

Stupid job titles that don't exist but should

Multiball service facilitator - Ball boy

Fluid replenishment executive (heated) - Tea lady

Upper-body identification enhancement supervisor - Bloke who hands out bibs in training

Tranquility maintenance consultant - Arsenal fan

Junior vice president for opposition goal donation - Titus Bramble

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QUOTE OF THE DAY: "Last time I said that it was men against boys but we're not boys, we are men. That's what we have shown tonight. They are far better than us. Technically they are a million miles away from us but what we did show tonight was that we are men." Gordon Strachan will make love to you. And if you're not a fan of Grammy Award-winning early-90s vocal harmony groups, ignore that last comment.

REASONS WHY JOHN TERRY SHOULDN'T MOVE TO SOUTH AMERICA, NO.687: Botafogo defender Andre Luis was sent off for grabbing the referee's yellow card as the Brazilian side were knocked out of the Copa Sudamericana by Argentina's Estudiantes. Andre Luis who earlier this year was frog-marched out of the stadium by police after being sent off in a Brazilian championship match against Nautico, was booked following his involvement in a 68th-minute brawl. He then snatched the yellow card from referee Carlos Chandia and was promptly sent off.

FOREIGN VIEW: Early Doors can tell it is going to enjoy the Diego Maradona era with Argentina. He got his reign under way by announcing that he rarely gets up before midday and then apparently forgot he had said Sergio Batista and Jose Luis Brown would be his assistants - Oscar Ruggeri and his friend Alejandro Mancuso are the new front-runners. Maradona arrived in Spain wearing a spectacular pair of sunglasses to watch his Real Madrid players last night but, tragically, declined to speak to reporters.

COMING UP: Who cares about the UEFA Cup? We do. Manchester City face Steve McClaren's masshive underdogsh FC Twente, Tottenham take on Dinamo Zagreb and Aston Villa fans will drag themselves out of tacky tourist pubs in the old town long enough to watch their boys play Slavia Prague. We'll have full live coverage from 19:45 UK time.

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