While the nation’s dream of England winning the World Cup was unfortunately dashed, our young team did itself proud, responding to the positive philosophy and sound ethics of manager Gareth Southgate.
Independent retailer Mark Janson-Smith, of the Postmark mini-group of card shops in London reflects on the lessons learned from the recent World Cup, shares the retailer’s wining ‘team formation’ as well as his favourite personal football memories.
Lessons Learned: “The thing that impressed me so much about the England team this year was the unity among them. For the first time in as long as I can remember it felt like we were watching a bunch of lads who wanted to play for their country and for one another. It wasn’t about individuals. For far too long now the England team has been full of overblown egos, so it was mighty refreshing to watch them this year. The last time England qualified for a World Cup semi-final you had players who wanted more than anything to play for their country. You had Terry Butcher covered in blood in the qualifying game insisting he played on and Paul Gascoigne in floods of tears at missing the final (should we have made it).
Postmark’s Team Formation: “I’d say we play a 2-4-4 formation at Postmark! Leona [Janson-Smith, co-owner] and Morgan [Dudley, head of operations] are at the back, holding things together. The managers are our midfield maestros, feeding information from the back to the front and keeping everything tightly run and then our super sales assistants put the ball away as they look after all our customers and maintain our standards.
We try and make sure our team plays as a unit. We have plenty of star players but no one who is bigger than the team. Communication is key and we encourage plenty of dialogue between the stores, sharing ideas and ways we do things. We hold weekly Skype meetings among the managers so everyone is aware of what everyone else is doing and we also ask them to swap stores every now and then to gain a fresh prospective which can be really eye opening, something that has proved a great success.”
Share A Football Memory: “I have so many early football memories. As a kid, all I wanted to do was grab a ball and go and play in the park. If it was too late for the park we would play up against the garage outside my house, which looking back must have driven the neighbours mad as the ball repeatedly smashed against the garage door!
My earliest memory of watching football was England v Argentina in 1986 and hearing the whole street erupt when Lineker scored for us and then being crushed in dismay as Maradona out jumped Peter Shilton with the famous ‘hand of God’ goal in the quarter final.”
* This forms part of a Viewpoints article which will be published in the August edition of Progressive Greetings.