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Inside Lichfield City FC With Shaun Webbley

If you’re an aspiring football manager, one thing you cannot allow is your emotions to influence your decision-making.

Ivor Green and Wayne Chapman have never allowed their emotion to influence their decisions, and they despise the suggestion of doing such a thing.

Football is football and the pair just see it as that and remove emotions from any decisions they make.

There will be players on the periphery who aren’t happy with the decision made by the pair. That one player may well talk to other players about the decision and that negativity can spread through the squad.

Green, a man who is very careful and thorough with every decision he makes in regard to Lichfield, can sometimes spend days talking to Chapman about whether dropping one player is the right decision or switching a winger to play in midfield. The decision-making process is certainly thorough.

The players in their power don’t see the week-on-week battle the pair have, whether it’s an internal battle or a battle with each other, only verbally of course. But there are times when the pair only decide on the team a few hours before they have to give their team talk, but this week, that wasn’t the case.

The pair are always deep in conversation, especially before a big game like this. They have travelled the 100-minute journey to Cheshire to take on Northwich Victoria. This was a big game, a chance to make a statement, a chance to show just how far the team has come in the few months since the end of last season.

After what had been a good start to the season, you can sense the pressure was on. Lichfield had a poor away record last season, including a 1-0 defeat to bottom-of-the-league Market Drayton. A shocking performance that Green admitted he could have thrown a few punches in the aftermath of the shock defeat.

A few changes had been made to the starting eleven, the younger players have been given an opportunity to impress. The rather slow jotting down of the players who would be starting the away game raised a few eyebrows amongst the squad.

Green then confidently assuaged those concerns, giving a detailed tactical breakdown of how the game will be won and lost. Luke Childs, who was deployed in the centre of the park, was to start following a good second-half performance in the FA Vase.

Following the team talk, in which Green singled out Childs’ first-half performance in the Vase as not good enough, the winger accepted it and agreed with the former Atherstone boss.

The pair had a private chat, and Green’s man-management skills came out in full force. An arm around the shoulder of Childs brought the best out of the winger.

Childs was superb in the middle of the park; he added a side to his game that hadn’t been seen when he was on the wing. He added the composure that a player in the middle of the park needs.

However, it was the front two who really caused issues for the opposition and delighted Green and Chapman in the process. Dan ‘Wonder’ Smith and Liam Kirton are really forming a devastating partnership up top.

The new formation provided a risk but Chapman, in the aftermath of the Northwich game, believed that it was a risk worth taking and ultimately, he has proved to be correct.

The pair have incredible stamina, so much so that one of the directors for the Cheshire club simply uttered “Fucking hell, those strikers” at half-time. The pair not only have incredible stamina but are also superb in the final third.

The fearsome pair both scored during the dominant 3-0 win. A win which, truth be told, could have been decided by half-time. The performance had all the telltale signs of a side that clicked into gear.

The free-flowing football was a joy to watch, despite a mini resurgence early on in the second half from the hosts, the away side dominated from the first minute to the last minute.

There was a sense of excitement amongst the players at full-time, the feel-good factor around the club has certainly just gotten that much bigger.

Nobody at the club, whether it’s the players or the two owners: Darren Leaver and Liam Heath, will be getting ahead of themselves.

The club have been in this position before. Back in the 2021-2022 season, Green’s men were unbeaten at the beginning of the season but a drop-off during the winter months brought the club crashing back down to earth.

These first few fixtures have been tough. Two sides vying for promotion and another side who are a complete unknown in their first three games, and to have seven points from nine is certainly good going.

Another tough fixture awaits them when they take on Stourport Swifts.

A win against another side vying for promotion will continue the feel-good factor around the club.

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