A Huge Performance Bonus to Rikard Norling

26 Jul

If you are a regular visitor to this blog, you will have noticed that it oozes class. Why else would someone like you visit? I judge my readership by quality rather than quantity.

Even you might have your work cut out for you, however, to match the class shown by Rikard Norling, coach of Malmo Football Club, after his side had inflicted a 7-0 home defeat on the luckless Hibernian. The aggregate 9-0 over the two matches was the highest defeat ever suffered by a Scottish club in European competition. Here’s what he said after the match.

“It was one of those lucky days for us, Everything that went close to the goal, it wanted to go in.”

This is probably true. You don’t win a match 7-0 if luck is against you. We’ve all seen teams completely dominate a game, but somehow the ball just won’t go in the goal and it ends 0-0. Or at least it doesn’t end 7-0. No matter how much better Malmo were than Hibs, on a different night, it could have ended with a less humiliating  2-0, 3-0 or 4-0.

Norling knows that the Hibs boss, Pat Fenlon can hardly say any of this, no matter how true, without appearing to be making excuses and being undignified in defeat. It showed real compassion on Norling’s part to say it for him.

He went on to say, “We had a few goals in the beginning and then their captain, James McPake, had to go off injured and I think maybe they lost more belief and made us a little stronger.

“Normally, it’s an even game between the clubs, but sometimes that can happen when we are in top shape and they haven’t started their league.”

He just made two more excuses for Hibs. Both are valid – Hibs were woefully lacking in match practice and McPake is their most valuable player by a long way – but most people in his position would not even think of making these points.

Hats off to you, Mr. Norling. In a sport not noted for the gentlemanly behaviour of its coaches and managers, you would appear to be that very rare gem – a thoroughly nice chap.

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