A football manager is, by definition, a leader of men or women, an individual who can be trusted to do the right thing and make big decisions rationally and clinically.
All of which makes you wonder what on earth Augsburg head coach Heiko Herrlich was thinking when he broke quarantine rules to buy some toothpaste!
Well, we know what he was thinking – ‘I want minty fresh breath’ – but the decision to contravene the quarantine rules put in place by German officials, which have been central to football in the country returning so quickly, has put the sport’s resumption under the microscope once more.
“I have no toothpaste and then I went to a supermarket,” Herrlich commented. “Even though I have followed all hygiene measures both when leaving the hotel and otherwise, I cannot undo this.
“In this situation, I was not able to act as a role model for my team and the public.”
The breach means that Herrlich will not be able to prepare his team for their return on May 16 against Wolfsburg, and he will have to pass two Covid-19 tests before he can return to his duties.
Mind you, he’s far from the only person involved in football to breach lockdown rules….
Football’s Lockdown Hall of Shame
Whether it’s coincidence or not, the North London clubs have been guilty of some jaw-dropping acts of stupidity during the pandemic.
Arsenal’s Nicolas Pepe was so desperate for a game he went down to his local ‘cage’ facility and had a kickabout with an assortment of random strangers – a bizarre state of affairs for a player earning a rumoured £90,000 per week.
Alexandre Lacazette wasn’t to be outdone, and he decided that – apocalypse or not – he needed his fleet of cars to be professionally cleaned. And so he welcomed a valet onto his property to do the necessary.
David Luiz and Granit Xhaka were spotted having a kickabout too, while Tottenham boss Jose Mourinho came in for criticism when he took Tanguy Ndombele, Davinson Sanchez and Ryan Sessegnon for a training session on Hackney Marshes.
Meanwhile Mason Mount, having been told to self-isolate after his Chelsea teammate Callum Hudson-Odoi contracted the virus, was spotted having a kickabout with West Ham’s Declan Rice.
Footballers playing football is more forgivable than those stars who have been caught travelling miles to attend house parties and the like.
Jack Grealish was caught out when he was in a car crash in the early hours of the morning. Unharmed, the Aston Villa man admitted he was ‘going to see friends’ and was deeply embarrassed by the whole episode.
Others, including Everton’s Moise Kean and Wolves’ Morgan Gibbs-White, have also been spotted at house parties – the latter just days after recording a video message urging people to stay at home and save lives.
Kyle Walker faces disciplinary action after hosting a ‘sex party’ at his flat, while international players have also had their troubles in behaving themselves.
Luka Jovic, isolating in Madrid, could perhaps be forgiven for flying home to Belgrade to see his pregnant girlfriend, while Juventus’ Douglas Costa was filmed riding around the streets of his hometown on a quad bike, with his girlfriend on the back.
And it’s not just football. Australian rugby league internationals Latrell Mitchell and Josh Addo-Carr were picture with ten others sat around a campfire on a farm in Taree, New South Wales. They claimed they were on a ‘cultural gathering’.
Premier League’s Project Restart: Getting Back to Basics
Perhaps the serious manner in which the German players have reacted to Covid-19 has accelerated their return ahead of the Premier League – clearly, the German government has also gotten a handle on the virus more quickly than the UK.
The process of the Premier League’s Project Restart is starting to move along, and it seems increasingly likely that a return in June – rather than voiding the season altogether – is on the cards.
Some players have spoken of their fear in returning, with the likes of Danny Rose and Troy Deeney stating that they would not be willing to put their families at risk, but the general feeling is that the Premier League will resume in the near future and that the players will be given a choice as to whether they will return.
One of the other sticking points at the moment is the medical aspect, and putting rules in place to ensure the safety of all involved. Social distancing will be introduced where possible, while spitting and team-based celebrations are expected to be outlawed.
Finally, players that are out of contract on June 30 will be allowed to negotiate short-term extensions so that they can complete the season with their teams.