Why everybody wants you around

Please stay with this one, even if you’re not a football fan – there’s a really interesting point here, honest!

Yesterday Southampton Football Club annouced that striker Shane Long has signed a two-year contract extention. All very normal. Except it isn’t.

He’s 33 years old. Very much at the end of his career. Most don’t get a two-year contract at a Premier League club at that age.

Shane Long is a striker. In the last four seasons (including this one) he’s scored twelve goals in the Premier League. Three per season. At one point last year he had scored each of his last four goals under four different managers. These are terrible stats by any standard.

And yet when the announcement was made I, a Southampton fan, was delighted and, judging by social media response, I was not alone.

It seems we love Shane Long.

Not just fans though. Watch/read any interview with his team-mates. They love him too. They love working with him. They love what he brings to the team. His efforts make others’ jobs easier. He helps his collegues excel.

Why is this?

Attitude. Character.

Unselfish, positive, humble, tireless, kind, helpful, caring, good fun.

These are just some of the words used to describe the way he is on a football pitch or generally around the club and, importantly, in the community.

He’s also an absolute nightmare for the opposition because he never stops running!

It’s clear the contract extension is not just about what he brings on the pitch but also his all-round contribution, his influence on younger players, his positive contribution to the whole environment.

Of course we’d love it if he scored more goals, but we would absolutely hate it if he wasn’t around.

I’m sure you have some people like that where you work. Maybe it’s you?

 

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