When is a football coach not a football coach? When he is an individual technical development officer | Dave Thomas

I always liked Ross Wallace at Burnley, a dynamic little winger, feisty and direct, with a helluva shot.

Monday, 29th March 2021, 12:30 pm
Dave Thomas admits that fancy new job titles leave him baffled

One rocket goal at Leicester springs to mind in a 2-2 draw and Nigel Pearson, afterwards, was none too kind about Burnley.

So, it was good to see he was coming back as an Individual Technical Development Officer. I wasn’t the only one who was nonplussed by this job description. Another ex-Burnley player I know well remarked on Twitter “what’s that?”

Nothing is simple these days is it and that includes labels and titles. In old-fashioned speak, he’ll be a coach.

It reminded me of my other life when I was head of a little village school and the caretaker was someone I remember so well. She was called Mary and one of the best in the business. She was proud of the school and the care she took of it. Back then “caretaker” was an apt job description.

For some reason it then became superintendent. It wasn’t me that changed it; it was something done down at the education offices when renaming stuff was the order of the day. We used to talk about infants and juniors and then it became Key Stage One and Key Stage Two. I have no idea what it is today.

One adviser used to ask me about my nomenclature. I had no idea what it meant. Turned out it just meant class one and class two and so on. Anyway, by this time, Mary was the facilities manager. Her pay stayed the same though.

Her pride and joy was the hall floor. She polished it and waxed it until it shone so much you could see your face in it. By the end of the day of course it was marked and dulled and scuffed, so every night after school she did it all over again.

I didn’t just call her the caretaker, I renamed her 'Keeper of the Sacred Floor.'

The worst day of her life was when two pupils turned up early one morning with a goat on the end of a piece of string. Yep, it was that kind of semi-rural school when you never knew what would happen next. They’d found it wandering round along the lane looking lost and thought if we take it to school, Mr Thomas will know what to do.

So, there they stood at the office door and my heart sank at the mess it had made on Mary’s burnished floor. For good measure it began to chew on the corner of my lunch box. It was at that moment I decided that this was no ordinary school.

Anyway, tie it up at the school gates, I told them and someone will know who it belongs to. A bloke from the local allotments eventually collected it. It was his hens that frequently wandered across the road into the playground.

Today I sit back and think about the job I had. 'Child and Animal Husbandry Senior Individual

Technical Development Officer.'

Headmaster just wasn’t enough.

Meanwhile I see that Prince Harry has a new job. He is now a 'Commissioner of Disinformation.'

If someone can explain what that is, do get in touch. Or I could just phone the Ministry-of-what-the-

hell-is-that?