There are many ways a manager can motivate his squad.
Yet, in an attempt to inspire his troops, you can’t help but feel Trades WMC boss Aaron Haggard got a bum deal.
Haggard has his own way of keeping his players interested every week, starting a few bets between himself and his team.
These aren’t cash wagers, though. And as the Trades gaffer explained during his side’s 4-1 victory over Masterlay in the Supplementary Cup, one losing bet ended up scarring him for life.
‘We do some bets, just to keep things interesting,’ said Haggard.
‘The worse one, though, was at the start of the 08-09 season. We had a couple of friendlies and our holding midfielder Steve Salway scored two goals.
‘I told him that I was setting him a target of 15 for the season, bearing in mind he had only scored twice in the whole of the previous year.
‘I didn’t actually think he would score more than 10. To spice things up he said that if he got them, I had to get my hair cut, as it’s pretty long.
‘I told him I would rather get his name tattooed on my bum than cut my hair. So the bet was on!’
Luckily for Haggard, with Salway being so defensive, he was never in danger of scoring 15 goals.
Or at least, that’s what he thought.
‘He ended up scoring 23 and I had to do it,’ smiled Haggard.
‘We had loads of injuries and I had to put Steve up front and that didn’t help.’
A man of his word, Haggard went under the needle and his one and only tattoo remains inked on him to this day.
‘I found myself in the parlour getting the tat. It was my first and will be my only one.
‘It reads: ‘When you’re good no-one remembers, when you’re bad no-one forgets.’ S. Salway 1509.
‘The last bit means 15 goals in 2009.
‘As you can imagine, every single one of those goals was greeted with a pat-on-the-bum celebration which everyone found hilarious – apart from me.’
Haggard’s ill-fortune has not stopped his team from betting amongst themselves, though.
He added: ‘This season, our midfielder Lee Brant has had to shave his hair off because Scott Hamilton up front said he wouldn’t score seven goals before Christmas and he didn’t!’
As well as doing well on the wages, striker Hamilton has been in fine form in front of goal, too.
His double in this clash with Masterlay took his tally to 35 for the campaign.
Trades’ in-form forward had a big hand in the first goal of the game too, curling a superb effort against the post before the ball rebounded in via unlucky Masterlay defender Paul Kilpatrick.
Hamilton had to wait until midway through the second half to get the goal his performance deserved – his effort resembling a certain Michael Owen goal versus Argentina in World Cup 98.
Masterlay set up a tense final 20 minutes, pulling a goal back through a well-worked free-kick. Instead of the anticipated shot, the ball was rolled wide to Mark Keogh who crossed for Craig Harrower to score.
It was Trades who went on to seal the win, though, strikes in the dying embers from Hamilton and Jason Williams adding gloss to the scoreline.
With his team firing on all cylinders and victory secured, perhaps Haggard will no longer need to raise the stakes in order to drive his men forward.
I wouldn’t bet on it.