EXCLUSIVE: The Joe Royle column

GLENN Roeder's collapse following a stroke has once again raised concerns about the pressure in football management and I will come to that but first let me talk about Glenn.

GLENN Roeder's collapse following a stroke has once again raised concerns about the pressure in football management and I will come to that but first let me talk about Glenn.

I have seen the word dignity mentioned many times when it comes to Glenn and I have to say when he got the job I wondered if he was getting into the deep end, but he had a fantastic season last year. I remember Tommy Docherty once saying managing a football team can be done from a deckchair in Majorca when things are going well but it is in the bad times where you find out about yourself.

Whether or not West Ham survive this season, Glenn has done the job with extreme dignity. I like the man. In an industry which produces myths, there are managers whose image is better than their success rate but Glenn Roeder has shown no ego and has done the job without pushing himself forward too much and I have been very impressed by him. I hope he gets better very soon.

Managers have different ways of relieving match-day stress. Some, like Sam Allardyce, are very emotional while Arsene Wenger sometimes doesn't raise an eyebrow, while I'm a mix. I get more animated than Arsene but nowhere near big Sam.


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I have always been able to cut off from football when I go home and not take the problems with me, although you never know how it is affecting you inside.

My wife Janet and I don't talk about football at home but that doesn't mean I sleep any better when we lose and I had a terribly listless day on Tuesday after Monday's loss. We went up to Aldeburgh and had a walk around the coast with the dogs in the sunshine to try and relax but things always remind you of what happened.

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But that applies to any job where you are in a responsible position. We must be careful in football not to think ourselves totally different. People talk about pressure but pressure for me is a man with four kids and no job. That is a bigger pressure than what I have to deal with so we have to take a reality check now and then.

Football is important to everyone in the community and affects those that work here but we must not forget there is a war still smouldering in the Middle-East and we have had people dying over there so let us keep things in proportion.

Glenn's situation doesn't make me more worried about my health and the job but I'm no less aware of the problems and the League Managers' Association have introduced a Wellness test, which I will be taking in the summer, and that involves getting on the old treadmill.

For all the so-called problems whenever a manager's job becomes vacant there is invariably a queue to fill it. It is like a drug and managers keep coming back, not for the money but because they love the game. One manager who did not come back was my old boss at Everton Harry Catterick. He died at an Ipswich Town game but he had already had a couple of heart attacks. You have to take into account some of the managers who fall ill may already have hereditary heart problems.

It is not always just stress induced, as in the case of Graeme Souness who had inherent heart problems anyway.

You look at Graeme, he is independently wealthy, he is married to a Bond girl, has all the luxuries of life yet still does it. He is not doing it for money, he is doing it for the love of the game as indeed most of us are.

I have sent Glenn a get-well message, as I'm sure thousands of others have too as he is a popular man. We need all the good guys in the game and Glenn is a good guy.

I UNDERSTAND Stewart Murdoch will be known to some of our fans from his days as a schoolteacher in Suffolk, although I don't know him particularly well.

What I do know is he has changed a perception about a club because people always used to talk about Wimbledon, who we face on Saturday, in terms of long balls, elbows and high balls, but he has gone in there and changed that.

He has done it with no money to spend and in the knowledge that any bid for a player will probably be accepted. They flirted with the play-offs for a spell and I know that they play good football, they are a passing side and no longer a team associated with the ball not bouncing for 10 minutes because it was up in the air.

To change that culture is terrific and I know he has a good attitude to the game and it is good to watch the current Wimbledon team.

I appreciate it is a shame for many of the supporters who loved the club and enjoyed a marvellous adventure at Plough Lane and those years in the Premiership which is still a modern-day footballing miracle.

Without going into all the politics, it is a shame that Wimbledon can't be in Wimbledon because we know how terrible it would be if Ipswich could not play in Ipswich, so I feel for the fans who must wonder why they ever left Plough Lane.

I'M not sure it is needed now but points against clubs going into administration will certainly sharpen minds for any club left out there who feel they want to over-invest in the name of ambition.

The experiences we have had at Ipswich, and those of Derby, Bradford and others should be a reminder. As long as everyone knows the price they will pay then no one can complain if they get hit.

There does seem to be a common-sense point of view around football at the moment.

I know extending the play-offs is also being discussed and that would certainly keep the interest in the season going longer.

As for wage-capping, which will be introduced into the Third Division next season, I'm not so sure. If a club only has a certain amount to spend on its annual wage bill I can understand that but as soon as you start wage-capping individuals then you get an ordinary team. If you pay all the players the same that would mean, for example, Bolton fans would not have seen Jay Jay Okocha.

I think there should be wage capping of a sort but rather it is called solid book-keeping and clubs spending what they can afford and not what they might be able to afford. The days of players holding clubs to ransom have gone, if they can get what they demand elsewhere they should go there but they will find it won't happen.

The wind of change will be good for football and good for fans.

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