After the most thrilling week in Champions League history, a week that swept so many fans around in the world into frenzy, I’m left with a question:
What can we learn from the seemingly impossible results achieved by Liverpool and Tottenham Hotspur?
Well come on it’s just a game of football, isn’t it? It’s not important? I’d argue that we should be looking hard at these young sportsmen and their managers to see what we can learn.
And the first group of people I’d ask to take a look would be leading politicians.
It’s a Mess
At Red Flag Alert we are confronted daily with the reality of business failure, we have the UK’s best solution for analysing up-to-date business intelligence - rating the financial health of over six million UK businesses. Right now those health ratings are not good; a large number of businesses are in severe financial distress.
Businesses are consistently let down by politicians that aren’t showing togetherness and aren’t putting the nations interests first – creating a very difficult environment for businesses. The Liverpool and Spurs players and management did the opposite; they work together, putting team before self.
Togetherness and Selflessness
Spurs had 45 minutes to score three goals against a team that had lost once at home all season and Liverpool had to overcome a three-goal deficit against European football royalty – led by the probably the best player of all time.
Two things were evident about these performances – togetherness and selflessness in putting the team before personal interests.
The Intensity was Almost Frightening
Players tackled the game with an incredible intensity.
As Andy Robertson confronted Luis Suarez and Danny Rose punched the ball across the pitch in frustration you implored them to calm down – the intensity you felt was too much, but it was necessary.
Of course, they were intense – it was the type of intensity you can only get from being part of something-something bigger than yourself. Something that demanded players pull together and put the team first.
At Liverpool Jurgen Klopp has made the Liverpool players feel part of a team, part of history and that drove them. After the game every player interviewed stressed that the team performance led to victory and it wasn’t faux modesty – you could see in their eyes they meant it. They were together.
When Jordan Henderson lay prone on the physio’s chair at half time, his knee in agony he took the pain-killing injection and played on – he decided to take that risk. In that moment he wasn’t thinking about himself he was thinking about Liverpool Football Club. To dominate a midfield in the second half against players that are technically on a different planet like Ivan Rakitic and Sergio Busquets was simply breathtaking. His selflessness drove the team forward.
At Spurs Mauricio Pochettino has taken an injury-depleted team with a relatively meagre budget to the Champions League Final. He has shown loyalty by committing to Spurs when Real Madrid came calling – he has shown the loyalty and spirit he asks of his players. Again, selfless.
But back to my question what can this teach us?
British businesses have suffered from poorly managed Brexit negotiations, badly deployed changes to business rates, the unwanted and poorly implemented Apprenticeship Levy and a lack of support from the finance sector.
By and large, the government departments are good but the politicians that lead them for generally short periods tend to be interested in their party first and dare I say their reputations.
What leading politician is putting his career on the line like Jordan Henderson or stepping up bravely when everyone doubted him like Divock Origi.
What politician is putting the team befoe personal ambitions like Mauricio Pochettino or stirring up a deep passion in people like Jurgen Klopp?
None of them.
So many people look down on footballers – over-paid, privileged, spoilt – this week has shown us their best side, and if British business is to thrive we need our politicians to do the same.