British Cycling performance director and Sky team principal Sir Dave Brailsford has said that he might consider a move into football, and believes that techniques that have helped the country’s cyclists find success could translate to the soccer pitch.
Brailsford, speaking at the Advertising Week Conference in London earlier this week, said "Football is something I would look at," and singled out Everton manager David Moyes as someone who "does an unbelievably good job," reports Telegraph.co.uk.
The prospect of such a move on Brailsford’s part inevitably gives rise to thoughts of another sporting knight, Sir Clive Woodward.
Two years after leading England to victory in the Rugby World Cup in 2003, Woodward joined Southampton FC as its performance director and was subsequently made director of football. Things didn’t go well, however, and he was out within a year.
Subsequently, Woodward became director of elite performance for the British Olympic Association, a post he left last October.
Brailsford, who was born in Derbyshire but grew up in Wales, outlined how psychological techniques used by British Cycling, including overcoming the infamous “inner chimp,” could also help the England football team overcome their unfortunate habit of exiting major tournaments after losing penalty shootouts.
"In sport people talk about the zone, switch off the frontal lobe, emotional engagement," he explained. "Switch off the chimp. Penalty kicks are a great example [where] silencing the chimp would be beneficial."
While British Cycling is on good terms with neighbours Manchester City – manager Roberto Mancini visited the velodrome last year to swap advice with Brailsford and this Friday, the two organisations team up for a 24 hour charity cycling event, Velocity – Brailsford looked to the red half of Manchester for an example of a coach who gets it right.
Referring to Manchester United boss Sir Alex Ferguson, the most successful manager in English football history, he said: "You never read about conflict like you do with most other managers and clubs."
Presumably, the British Cycling supremo was otherwise engaged and missed the blanket media coverage when two of the club’s biggest stars of recent years, David Beckham and Roy Keane, left after reportedly falling out with the manager.
Brailsford said he was impressed by Ferguson’s “drive and ability to manage people,” adding that “his knack is to retain total control about what goes on at that club."
Inevitably, given the sport he operates in, Brailsford was asked about doping, and he compared the path taken by some to the one that outside sport sees people progress from soft drugs to harder ones.
"To me [riders who doped] are not bad people as such," he maintained. "It is similar to someone having their first joint and then moving onto ecstasy or whatever. Then the next thing you know it is everyone on crack cocaine."
Simon joined road.cc as news editor in 2009 and is now the site’s community editor, acting as a link between the team producing the content and our readers. A law and languages graduate, published translator and former retail analyst, he has reported on issues as diverse as cycling-related court cases, anti-doping investigations, the latest developments in the bike industry and the sport’s biggest races. Now back in London full-time after 15 years living in Oxford and Cambridge, he loves cycling along the Thames but misses having his former riding buddy, Elodie the miniature schnauzer, in the basket in front of him.