Possession With A Focus On Width

UEFA A Licence Coach, Tim Wareing, operates his Academy in Belfast.  The ex Academy Director of Irish League side, Lisburn Distillery, shares his latest elite session with The Soccer Store.  All the equipment that Tim uses can be purchased direct from The Soccer Store.

As soon as the players report in for training they each get a football.  The first 10 minutes is for them to juggle the ball, dribble & perform skills.  It also offers time for them to catch up with team mates.  The Academy is open to all players & many will play for different clubs across Northern Ireland.  After this period I will come in & increase the tempo.  On Sunday I put them through the 'Ronaldo 7' which is a series of 7 skills performed stationary with the ball.  We then played a game of 'Every Man For Themselves'.  Simply half the boys will have balls to dribble & protect while the other half attempt to steal & keep.  This insures maximum exposure with the ball & increases the tempo.  After some stretches & water the players went through S.A.Q. (Speed, Agility & Quickness training using speed ladder, hurdles & hoops) before I progressed the session.

I wanted to keep the high tempo but at the same time recreate game like scenarios.  The below session comes from the outspoken Dutch man, Raymond Verheijen, who is a master on periodisation training.  Many of my sessions will focus on possession type games.

5 V 2 Periodisation Game

5 v 2 Periodisation Game


Ball possession based around periodisation.  Overload then build up to 5 v 5.


Session takes place on a 20 x 20 yard area.  5 attackers v 2 defenders.  Have 3 players waiting to be fed into session to build up to 5 v 5.  The coach should have a supply of balls to keep the game moving.


Simple possession game where players develop their skills of passing & supporting each other.  Players in possession should try to pass to teammates.

Simple, early passes should be delivered & after having delivered the pass, players should adjust their positions so as to receive a return pass if necessary.

The team that starts with 2 players receive an additional player every 30 seconds.  The coach lets them know when to join in every 30 seconds as follows;

0.00 - 5 v 2 (2 touch)

0.30 - 5 v 3 (3 touch)

1.00 - 5 v 4

1.30 - 5 v 5


  1. Set target of passes to be awarded a goal.
  2. One / two touch play.
  3. Add target players on the outside of the grid.
  4. Rotate groups to suit squad size, i.e. 3 groups of 5, work 2 & rest 1.


  • Movement on / off ball.
  • Work rate on / off ball.
  • Create angles.
  • Protect ball.
  • Communication.
  • Quality passing.
  • Positioning.
  • Passing combinations.

Another important factor to remember is to keep a similar theme to your session so you build it up nicely & each session relates to the last one.  To develop I focused on a session I viewed from Arsenal Football Club.  This starts to add a bit more shape & encourages the central players to be the playmakers linking in with the wall players.  You can offer an opportunity for all players to sample each role or if you have an established team or working with an adult team simply play each player in their position.

Arsenal's 6 V 4 + 2

Arsenal's 6 v 4 + 2


Keep ball game with play makers linking with wall players.


Session takes place in a 30 x 25 yard grid with a supply of balls on the outside.

Full build up with 12 players involved.  Positional game with 6 outfield players, 2 midfielders in the middle against the 4 defenders, represents a real game-like environment.


6 wall players look to keep the ball through linking with the floaters (play makers) in the middle.

Encourage your players to think about the set up.  From the bottom of the diagram to the top you can see the basic formation of left back, centre back & right back.  In front of them left & right winger with forward at the top...playmaker / centre midfielders working to link all in the middle.

Keep score.  1 point for 5 successful passes, bonus 2 points for a split pass made between the defenders & 5 bonus points for a nutmeg.

Likewise, if the defenders win the ball they get a point.  If they keep it for 5 successful passes in the middle they get a bonus point & the same points for a nutmeg!


  1. Change players roles throughout.
  2. Limit outside players to 2 touch.
  3. Floaters in middle only allowed 1 touch.
  4. Change scoring system.


  • Work rate on / off ball.
  • Movement on / off ball.
  • Communication.
  • Quality passing.
  • Passing combination.
  • Use the whole area.
  • Shape.
  • Positioning.
  • Losing the defender.
  • Receiving the ball side on.
  • Defenders should stay compact - play in a diamond shape.  They should play pressure, 2 support players & a cover man (sweeper).

The goal of my session was to build into a game.  The game below works perfect as it keeps the theme of possession going but encourages width.  As always don't get too caught up in the training game.  For example, although you want to encourage the ball to go wide if the ball is played through the centre encourage the forward player to have an attempt at goal rather than always going wide to the winger.

Wingers Game

Wingers Game


Encouraging attacking play through the wings.


Play takes place on half a pitch with 2 full size goals & goalkeepers.  A channel is marked out with cones on either wing & separated in two.  Also divide the pitch in two.

Play 3 v 2 in either half (+ goalkeeper).  4 wide players are positioned in the channels, 2 playing in the attacking half for each team.


The objective is to play the ball from the back, where the 3 defenders should have comfortable possession against the 2 attackers.

The ball should be played to one of the forwards who passes wide to one of the unmarked wingers.  The cross is then delivered to the 2 forwards who look to finish at goal.


  1. A defender can join the attack along with the other winger being allowed to leave their zone & come into the central area.
  2. Change roles.


  • Quality of crosses.
  • Movement of forwards.
  • Movement - check run, make space in front to receive.
  • Technique - stop just before receiving the ball.
  • Strength - shield the ball from the defender.
  • Awareness.
  • Quality passing.
  • Timing of run.
  • Quality finishing.
  • Communication.

The football played was terrific.  I always allow the players their own time at the end to play a game with no restrictions.  It was encouraging to see the main points we worked on carried out.  Some of the football was a joy to watch.

Another important factor is to be flexible in your sessions.  I had no goalkeepers present so used 4 mini goals (2 either end) & positioned them 5 yards in from each touchline.  This again reinforced width & switching.  Likewise adapt to suit the players you have in.  Although the above game is based on 14 outfield players I only had 12 present.  I simply played with 1 wide player on each wing who played as a neutral player.

Enjoy the session & let us know how you found it!

TWAcademy.Org Tour To West Bromwich Albion

It was a chance phone call at the start of the season that set up this weekend to West Bromwich Albion on the last weekend of the Premiership.  Rewind to August & we had organised our Academy tour to London to see our friend Hugo Langton & his academy along with playing a game against Fulham.  Through Chelsea being awkward & West Brom being so accommodating we finished the season with the Baggies!

TW Academy outside the Academy Dome

We had tried to organise tickets for the Chelsea v West Brom Premier League game at Stamford Bridge.  Although Chelsea would not offer any tickets for less than £75 per person!  No child discount, no group discount & stuck up in the second tier of the Matthew Harding stand.  They suggested contacting West Brom.  I remember to this day phoning West Brom & selecting the foundation at 5.20pm to get the most helpful & accommodating woman called Jan.  It was Jan that offered us a fantastic match day experience at the Hawthorns along with great assistance & hard work by Rich.

West Bromwich Albion

The club is also known as West Brom, The Baggies, The Throstles, Albion or WBA.  They are an English professional football club based in West Bromwich in the West Midlands.  The club was formed in 1878 & have played at their home ground since 1900.

Albion were one of the founding members of The Football League in 1888 & have spent the majority of their existence in the top tier of English football.  They have been champions of England once, in 1919–20, but have had more success in the FA Cup, with five wins.  The first came in 1888, the year the league was founded, & the most recent in 1968, their last major trophy.  They also won the Football League Cup at the first attempt in 1966.  The club's longest consecutive period in the top division was between 1949 to 1973, & from 1986 to 2002 they spent their longest ever period out of the top division.  The 2011–12 season is their sixth season in the Premier League since 2002.

The team has played in blue & white stripes for most of the club's history.  Albion have a number of long-standing rivalries with other Midlands clubs; their traditional rivals have always been Aston Villa, but more recently their major rivalry has been with Wolverhampton Wanderers, with whom they contest the Black Country derby.

The Hawthorns

The speed with which the club became established following its foundation is illustrated by the fact that it outgrew four successive grounds in its first seven years.  The first was Cooper's Hill, where they played from 1878 to 1879.  From 1879 to 1881 they appear to have alternated between Cooper's Hill & Dartmouth Park.  During the 1881–82 season they played at Bunn's Field, also known as The Birches.  This had a capacity of between 1,500 & 2,000, & was Albion's first enclosed ground, allowing the club to charge an entrance fee for the first time.  From 1882 to 1885, as the popularity of football increased, Albion rented the Four Acres ground from the well-established West Bromwich Dartmouth Cricket Club.  But they quickly outgrew this new home & soon needed to move again.  From 1885 to 1900 Albion played at Stoney Lane; their tenure of this ground was arguably the most successful period in the club's history, as they won the FA Cup twice & were runners-up three times.

The boys behind the goal on the Stadium Tour at the Hawthorns

By 1900, when the lease on Stoney Lane expired, the club needed a bigger ground yet again & so made its last move to date.  All of Albion's previous grounds had been close to the centre of West Bromwich, but on this occasion they took up a site on the town's border with Handsworth.  The new ground was named The Hawthorns, after the hawthorn bushes that covered the area & were cleared to make way for it.  Albion drew 1–1 with Derby County in the first match at the stadium, on 3 September 1900.  The record attendance at The Hawthorns was on 6 March 1937, when 64,815 spectators saw Albion beat Arsenal 3–1 in the FA Cup quarter-final.  The Hawthorns became an all-seater stadium in the 1990s, in order to comply with the recommendations of the Taylor Report.  Its capacity today is 26,272, the four stands being known respectively as the Birmingham Road End, Smethwick End, East Stand and West Stand.  At an altitude of 551 feet (168 m) above sea level, The Hawthorns is the highest of all the 92 Premier League & Football League grounds.

Club Badge

Albion's main club badge dates back to the late 1880s, when the club's secretary Tom Smith suggested that a throstle sitting on a crossbar be adopted for the badge.  Since then, the club badge has always featured a throstle, usually on a blue and white striped shield, although the crossbar was replaced with a hawthorn branch at some point after the club's move to The Hawthorns.  The throstle was chosen because the public house in which the team used to change kept a pet thrush in a cage.  It also gave rise to Albion's early nickname, The Throstles.  As late as the 1930s, a caged throstle was placed beside the touchline during matches & it was said that it only used to sing if Albion were winning.  In 1979 an effigy of a throstle was erected above the half-time scoreboard of the Woodman corner at The Hawthorns, & was returned to the same area of the ground following redevelopment in the early 2000s.

The badge has been subject to various revisions through the years, meaning that the club were unable to register it as a trademark.  As a result of this, the badge was re-designed in 2006, incorporating the name of the club for the first time.  The new badge gave Albion the legal protection they sought.

The teams line up before kick off

Saturday night friendly in the Academy Dome

The success of the Academy teams reaching finals meant our scheduled game against West Brom had to be cancelled.  Although through the special effort of Rich he managed to organise a game against his own team that finished the season as league runners up & cup winners.  Another bonus was he secured the Academy Dome to play the game in!

What an experience for our boys to play in a Premier League Academy facility.  It was also great to have the Academy Dome, Foundation & The Hawthorn Stadium all in the one location.  This was something I liked at Stoke City & previous visits to the likes of European giants, Barcelona & Ajax.  I think it adds as an extra motivation to really make it as a kid developing through the ranks when you see the stadium every day from where you train.

We played 3 periods of 25 minutes.  The first period was very close with both teams playing some attractive football.  A well taken goal from young Ryan McCrory put TW Academy 1-0 up.  His finish was a quality lob over the keeper.  The second period seen another 2 well taken goals from TW Academy through Reese & Curtis Ritchie making it 3-0.

It was also encouraging seeing Rich, like ourselves, insuring that all players were involved & received similar playing times.  The changes that were made seen TW slightly stronger in the third period with John-Lee grabbing a hat trick, Connor Maxwell getting on the score sheet along with Ryan McCrory adding to his tally.

It was a game played in terrific spirits & I was very impressed with the organisation.  Not only did Rich organise the Academy Dome & referee but supplied us with equipment to warm up along with plenty of water & cups for the players.  Although to have a physio present was crucial after Andy McIvor had a bad fall & needed extensive treatment.  It was reassuring that he could be checked over by her.  Again these are all things that people take for granted, but believe me, I know how much planning & organising that has to go in to bring it all together & I can't thank Rich enough!

Here is some highlights from the game - watch the video!

Match Day Experience

The teams meet before kick off; West Brom v Arsenal

What terrific value West Brom offered us.  For only £25 we received a match ticket to see West Brom play Arsenal, a stadium tour, fun training session & small sided games in the Academy Dome along with a packed lunch!

After a cooked breakfast in our hotel we enjoyed the short stroll over to the Hawthorns to meet Rich.  He welcomed us & placed all our bags securely away in an office so we didn't have to worry about carrying them all day.  We started the morning with a tour around the Hawthorns.  The highlight was to get pitch side & sit on the bench!  Rich was very informative but insured he kept interesting for parents & children.  After the tour we had an opportunity to see around the club shop & purchase some West Brom goodies!

We then transferred back over to the Academy Dome.  Rich took the boys for a fun warm up & kept it very light after the game from the previous night.  He then soon divided the boys & operated small sided games.  We then seen first hand to what level the club works in the community.  The Dome was packed with other clubs & teams doing the same package.  Not forgetting that they had to be split, so while we were all playing football there was another group doing the stadium tour...there must have been several hundred children on the match day experience!  We were even treated to a display of talent from Connor's dad - watch the video!

After the session we all received a packed lunch.  This included a sandwich, drink, piece of fruit, chocolate bar & crisps.  We were able to eat this before taking our seats for the game.  What great seats we received as well!  We were in the third row & touching distance of the players.  It really was a special atmosphere as it was the final day of the season & many West Brom supporters came in fancy dress (Batman& Robin insured we got across the road safely & into the stadium!)

West Brom wanted to finish on a victory as Roy Hodgson was leaving for his new role as England Manager, while Arsenal needed the victory to guarantee Champions League football next season.

It was a terrific start to the game.  After an early mistake by the West Brom keeper Arsenal went 1-0 up.  Then the Baggies fought back to go 2-1 up!  The atmosphere was electric!  Arsenal equalised before half time making the score 2-2.  It really was an unbelievable half of football & such a treat to see these Premiership stars live & be so close to the action.

TW Academy Director, Tim Wareing, with Darren Moore

The second half started well & Arsenal went 3-2 up.  After a lengthy stoppage West Brom offered everything going forward & forced what seemed to be 5 or 6 corners in a row but couldn't find that equaliser.  We had to sneak away just before the final whistle so that Rich could grab our bags for us & we transferred back to the airport for our return flight to Belfast.

We captured highlights from a special day at the Hawthorns - watch the video!

On returning to the Academy Dome to collect our bags we bumped into Baggies hero, Darren Moore, who signed autographs & was happy to have his photo taken with us all.

Clubs don't receive enough credit for opportunities like these.  People sometimes take things for granted but to receive what we did for such a low price is special.  To head to an Irish League game can cost in the region of £10-£12 per adult & £5-£7 per child.  To think what West Brom offered us for only £25 really does show you the lengths they work too.


Our thanks goes to West Bromwich Albion FC for such a fantastic experience & for their hospitality - especially to Jan & Rich.  Also to all the parents & children that supported the tour.  A lot of organising goes into these great opportunities & pro club visits & shouldn't be taken for granted.  The Academy was launched in 2010 & boys have had the opportunity to travel to Holland to play PSV Eindhoven & Helmond Sport including playing in an all seater stadium along with visits to PSV & Ajax's stadiums.  We then travelled to London & played against Fulham before having a bumper April & May.  This offered opportunities to players from the academy to travel to Premier League side, Stoke City, for training & a game before a visit to Carrington & Manchester United.  Of course we can't forget about the terrific game & clinic against SC Braga in Belfast!

For those that want more information about the Academy & to request a trial please contact Tim Wareing on; 07740120788 or email.  Remember this does not effect the club you play for.  We offer additional training to develop your child's technique & game understanding helping to offer the all important 10,000 hour theory - 1 or 2 sessions per week is not enough.

‘Coach Tim can we watch Chelsea on our London tour?’…’For £1,800.00 we can’…

...Live football is getting further away from the normal fan, the family & it is simply losing touch with the passionate fans.  As clubs look to charge big money to help pay the crazy wages of their so called super stars they would rather the real supporters & families stay at home.  Why?  Well they would rather sell their seats as hospitality & make more £££...'it is an expensive business' as Chelsea FC box office informed me on a recent telephone conversation.

The Background...

Is football clubs out pricing themselves for the next generation of fans?

My Twitter friend, Hugo Langton, has kindly organised a tour to London for my academy to play against his.  We also play Fulham.  Keen to organise activities & more great experiences for my players I wanted to take them to a Barclays Premier League game.  As a cross community group from Northern Ireland with children coming from different backgrounds I thought I'd do my best to see what clubs could offer them an experience of watching a live Premiership game.  After checking the fixtures (along with 2 of the boys in the Academy supporting Chelsea!) I sent an email to Chelsea FC to see if they could provide tickets for their home game against West Brom.  What I am about to share with you will show the amazing difference in how clubs operate...

After receiving no reply from my email to Chelsea FC I thought I would phone them.  I phoned the box office & spoke with a member of their staff.  I explained who we were & what we wanted to do.  She quickly informed me that Chelsea FC offer no group discount.  I then asked her what tickets she had available for their game against West Brom.  She informed me she had seats available at the top of the Matthew Harding stand.  Obviously not the best seats in the house but the main thing was for our kids to experience a live Premiership game.  So how much would these tickets at the top of the stand cost us?  '£70.00 per ticket Mr Wareing.'


I couldn't believe what I was hearing!  I asked about child discount but was quickly informed there was none!  So for each father to take their son to the Chelsea game it would cost £140!  Some of the dads have 2 children on the tour - it would cost £210!  This is before the match programme, food, drink & the normal visit to the club shop.  For me to take my party of 14 children & 11 adults it would cost a staggering £1,750.00! This is for 1 game, 90 minutes & not meaning any disrespect to West Brom but you would hardly call it a premium game.  I was so frustrated & asked the box office that surely they would have cheaper tickets or assist a group of children?  Well her reply was casual & how Chelsea FC operate, 'It's an expensive business.' For an extra £48 it would offer some of the best seats in the house, a 4 course meal, drinks & entertainment.  Although the best line hadn't come.  When I pressed for Chelsea to be more accommodating I was then informed to phone West Brom!  Yes, you are reading that right.  Even though it is Chelsea's house & I want to visit they informed me to contact the away side for better priced tickets!

I was so disgusted I phoned the main number I could find for Chelsea FC, I got as far as reception.  I suggested I spoke to the community department or someone further up.  I simply wasted my time, not that Chelsea FC minded - they had me on their premium line!  So my last resort was to send an email.

The email to Chelsea FC...

Subject: Disappointed

'Dear Sirs,

I contacted Chelsea FC on Monday 1 August after receiving no reply from previous emails regarding tickets.  I spoke with the Box Office explaining that I was bringing over my academy side from Belfast, Northern Ireland.  We are coming to London from Friday 19 - Sunday 21 August & playing a series of games including Fulham FC Academy.

I have a party of 25 including 14 children along with parents & coaches.  The academy is mixed.  It brings children from both sides of the community together; catholic & protestant.  There is also a mix in terms of personal background.  Some come from dis-advantaged areas with some parents out of work.

To my disgust Chelsea FC would only offer £70 tickets for the live Sky game against West Brom.  When I asked for child discount & / or group discount I was shocked to hear that there was none / nor any group discount!  For a father & son to go & see Chelsea play West Brom it would cost £140!  Worse when you look at an overall total being £1,800.00 to attend one game of football!

I asked to speak to the 'Community Department' but was informed I'd have to send an email.  Although the girl from reception sympathized it did very little to help get children from Northern Ireland to a game...many never seeing a live Premiership game before.  What I found even more shocking was that the only suggestion was to phone West Brom FC!  Bloody hell it is your house, your stadium yet I have to phone the away side to see if we can come in a more affordable way!

I have played football all my life.  Supported Manchester United all my life & have attended many games over the years.  I'm also a football coach holding my UEFA A Licence qualification.  I have travelled, visited & shared many ideas with professional clubs over my 15 years experience.  This has taken me throughout England & Scotland then to Holland with PSV Eindhoven & Ajax to Portugal with Benfica & Braga.  I have also spent a week with FC Barcelona.  I have never come across a more unwelcoming, rip off club than Chelsea!  I am completely disgusted at the price you charge a community group to come & watch a 'low' key game.  No disrespect to West Brom but it is hardly a 'Grade A' game!

I believe Chelsea FC should review their policies.  I for one, along with a number of Chelsea supporting boys from the Academy, have been left very disappointed!

I await with interest your response to my email.  Oh by the way.  I did contact West Brom.  I was put through to their community department & got to speak to a lovely woman who took my details to see what she could do for us.  She also informed me that they offer a match day experience for youth groups of £25 per person to attend a match & also receive a coaching session before hand.  Then a stadium tour after...maybe Chelsea should look at this!'
Chelsea FC responce...

The only credit I will offer Chelsea FC is that they phoned me the very next morning.  'Graham' informed me they have a family stand that normally fills instantly which means that premium tickets, like the ones we were offered, is generally all that is available for general sale.  He also informed me that they do a lot in the local community & they have done a lot of free coaching in Asia (that I am sure is to boast shirt sales!) & that they offer 'cheap' tickets for Carling Cup & the FA Cup.

I informed Graham that it all sounds very good but how does this help a group from Northern Ireland that can only attend the West Brom game that weekend?  Unfortunately we can't offer anything apart from the £70 tickets.  That was that.  Nothing.  Not even a suggestion of come along for a stadium tour or anything else.  It left me feeling very bitter towards Chelsea.

West Brom FC...

I did take Chelsea FC Box Office advice & phoned West Brom.  I decided to click on the number to speak to the community department.  It was 4.53pm on a Monday afternoon yet a lovely woman called Jan answered my call.

During the next 20 minute call I found out the following;

  • Jan purchased tickets for the West Brom end at Chelsea for herself & son.  Her son's ticket only cost £25!  She was shocked & angered at how Chelsea FC dealt with my request.
  • She informed me that West Brom offer visiting youth groups a £25 match day ticket.  I butted in saying that was great but Jan told me to 'hold on luvy, I haven't finished'.  This £25 offered a coaching session by a West Brom coach, the Premier League game & a stadium tour!  Bloody hell, this is how all Premier League clubs should operate.
  • Jan took my details & informed me she would contact Chelsea FC along with other London clubs that may accommodate us.

This was customer service.  I felt important & that Jan couldn't do enough for me.  I have a new love for West Brom FC!  I am also going to look at taking my academy side over to a West Brom game this season!  I haven't heard back from Jan yet but for sure will add comments to this blog piece to keep you all updated.

Other London Clubs at home...

My next move was to check to see what other Premiership, Championship & League 1 clubs were at home on Saturday 20 August or Sunday 21 August.


  • Arsenal vs Liverpool
  • Chelsea vs West Brom


  • Reading vs Barnsley
  • West Ham vs Leeds

League 1

  • Charlton vs Scunthorpe
  • MK Dons vs Chesterfield

I sent the following email on Tuesday 2 August at 2am...

Subject: Youth Academy from Belfast to attend a game...

'Dear Sirs

My name is Tim Wareing & I am a UEFA A Licence football coach from Belfast, Northern Ireland.  I operate my own academy & have organised a tour to London from Friday 19 - Sunday 21 August 2011.  Our Academy will play Fulham FC & the North Kent Academy.  We would love to attend a game, take a stadium tour & if possible organise a game against your academy, development centre or avail of a coaching session with one of your youth coaches?

We are available Saturday afternoon, evening & have the whole day free on the Sunday.  Our hotel is based in south London.  We had contacted Chelsea FC to attend their game against West Brom but have been quoted £70 per ticket with no child reduction!  To take our group of 25 to the game would cost, £1,800.00!!!!!!!  No thanks!  I have been very disappointed with Chelsea & their lack of community support for youth groups.

I have a party of 25 including 14 children along with parents & coaches.  The academy is mixed.  It brings children from both sides of the community together; catholic & protestant.  There is also a mix in terms of personal background.  Some come from dis-advantaged areas with some parents out of work.

I would appreciate if you could help source match tickets & / or a friendly or coaching session on the Sunday morning / early afternoon.  I see from your fixtures you are due to play XXX

Thank you for your time reading this & I look forward to your speedy, but favourable reply.'
The response...
Arsenal...First of all I struggled to find an email address on the club website for tickets.  I ended up having to send the request through to 'disability@arsenalXXXX'.  They don't seem to welcome supporters to get in touch with them.  Arsenal seem to want people to find the answer to their query on a 'frequently asked questions' section on their site!
I got this reply on Thursday 4 August at 2.10pm (2 day response)

'Dear Mr Wareing,

Many thanks for your recent email which was forwarded on to the Arsenal Academy.

I am sorry but we are unable to help you with your request for match tickets.

On behalf of Arsenal FC may I take this opportunity to wish you an enjoyable and successful visit to London.'

Reading...Received a reply on Wednesday that looked promising but haven't had any further contact?  * UPDATE * I received a telephone call from Reading on Friday 5 August.  They are able to offer us a 'Match Day Experience' with group discount.  £20 for adults, £15 for 17-21 year olds & £7.50 for U16's.  This allows pitch side access for photos & a tour around the ground along with the game.  They are also looking to source a game for us on the Sunday against their Academy!

'Hi Shelley please could you sort out reasonable priced tickets for Tim and I will speak to Chris/Ryan about a game.

Thanks very much

Kind Regards


Office Manager'

West Ham...I had already contacted West Ham & again I received the same automated email the next day from my email.  It basically informed me that members get first choice.  If there was tickets left they could offer us them but to do that I need to supply them with my credit card!  No thanks!  So the club that have just been relegated & boast about their youth academy but do very little in terms to assist other elite youth players.  Here is that email...

'Dear supporter

Thank you for your recently enquiry,

We can offer you the chance to purchase these tickets, however our members have priority purchasing so if this fixture sells out to our members we will not be able to complete your purchase.

We would require;

1)Seating details where you would like to sit , please note that for bulk booking we can usually only offer band 2-3 in the West or East or Bobby Moore Upper , these will be situated in the corners of the stand

2)The age bracket of the people attending the fixture and how many are coming

3)A full postal address so we can send the tickets to you as soon as they have been processed

4)Full payment details

We will ask if you could forward the relevant information via post and then we will try and allocate these seats for you once the game goes on general sale

You can also telephone the call centre 0n 0871 222 2700 via option 3 and the customer service team will be able to process these for you, however they will not be able to sell these seats until the game has reached general sale dates can be found on the website for the upcoming fixture, some may not be on the website as of yet, but please revisit nearer the fixture as the website will be updated as soon as we have the information

Fixture information and pricing

The fixtures currently available can be found here;

If the fixture you require is not on the above link then we do not have the information available at this time, please check back nearer the fixture as these are usually made available 6-8 weeks prior to the fixture .

Ticket prices can be found here;,,12562,00.html

We hope this information helps and you manage to gain the tickets you desire

Kind regards

Ticket office'

Charlton...They replied on Wednesday at 4pm with the most positive response...

'Dear Tim

Thanks for getting in touch.

We would really like to welcome your group to our game against Scunthorpe on 20th August 2011.  We would be able to offer you our group rate of £5.00 per person (including adults) for this game.  If you give me a call on xxxxxxxxxx, I can organise this for you.

Kind regards.


Club Development

Charlton Athletic Football Club'

MK Dons...* UPDATE * Received a reply on Friday 5 August...

'Hi Tim,

Thanks for the e-mail.

I have forwarded your e-mail on to relevant members of staff regarding the ticketing request.

Unfortunately, the Academy department is unable to help with your request as we have pre season games; however, we hope our SET department may be able to help with a coaching session.

I have asked the relevant members of staff to respond to you.

Many Thanks'

Our Academy tour last year to Holland offered us great rates for stadium tour & a game at PSV Eindhoven


It is amazing the difference in how clubs operate.  I have an individual in Hugo Langton who has done everything possible to welcome us & set the whole trip up.  I have a professional club in Fulham who have accepted an invitation to play us at their first team training ground.  Then we have clubs who either don't reply, let a computer service reply or simply do everything possible not to welcome us.
As a life long football fan and as a professional coach for 15 years I have seen how clubs work so different.  Last year in Holland we could not have been made more welcome.  Playing matches against professional sides, stadium tours, training ground visits, live name it.  Different mentality!
What happens when these arrogant clubs lose their 'sugar daddy', get relegated or money simply dries up?  Will they then go back looking for the real fans?

Arsene Wenger: Leadership

For the first time on CoachTim.Org we have a guest blogger. Daniel Simpson is currently a performance analyst within Portsmouth Football Club.  He has just completed a BA (Hons) Football Studies degree in Southampton.  Originally from Northern Ireland he moved to England to pursue the main passion of his life - football.  Throughout the years he has developed a great interest in the tactical side of the game & this prompted a move into performance analysis.  Within the past two years Simpson has worked at Glentoran, where he was fortunate to play a role in their very memorable Europa League tie against KR Rejkavic.  He then moved on to Portsmouth FC where he has been learning from some of the best analysts in the country whilst helping develop players within their academy through video analysis.

This article provides an insight into the legend that is Arsene Wenger.  What he has achieved with Arsenal is exactly what every coach dreams of achieving.  His passion for the game & his philosophy & commitment for developing players is incredible.  This article seeks to delve into his leadership to provide a model of excellence for aspiring coaches.

We thank Daniel for sharing his report.  Make sure you follow him on Twitter by clicking here.

Wenger communicating with his players

This report seeks to critically evaluate the leadership style to form a behavioural model of excellence for Arsene Wenger.  Applying Burns (1978) model of transactional and transformational leadership it is proposed that Wenger is a transformational leader and this assignment will explore the cognitive and behaviour characteristics of Wenger in relation to this theory.

Born in Strasbourg in 1949, Arsene Wenger has grown to become one of the most recognisable names in world football.  As a player he played for clubs such as Duttlenheim FC and Racing Club de Strasbourg but whilst never being a sensational player he was fascinated with tactics, an obsession which led him into coaching (Rivoire, 2007).  He began his coaching career at RC Strasbourg where in his final year as a player he would coach the reserve team before moving on to become the head coach of the reserve and youth set up.  He then moved on to manage AS Cannes, AS Monaco, Grampus Eight and is now the current manager of Arsenal.  In his first season at Monaco (187-88) he led the club to their first title win in six years, the first of a long list of personal successes including the Coup de France, FA Premier league as well as reaching the final of the Cup Winners Cup and UEFA Cup in 1990 and 2000 respectively.

Behavioural modelling is a process used within psychology to evaluate the cognitive and behavioural characteristics of an individual (Whitfield & Davidson, 2007).  Within the context of this assignment this refers to the ways in which Arsene Wenger thinks and behaves in various situations.  Kuhnert & Lewis (1987) state that behavioural modelling may be the key to understanding the link between a leader and their followers and applying the method to a successful manager like Wenger provides a model of excellence which can be used by aspiring leaders.

The concept of leadership has changed and developed over time and whilst leadership and management often overlap, they are very much two different concepts (Westerbeek & Smith, 2005).  Whilst management can be defined as the process of directing a group to complete a task when values and principles have already been established, leadership concerns the development of these values through establishing a vision and providing inspiration and motivation to those who follow them (Northouse, 2010; McKenna, 2000).  This assignment focuses on Arsene Wenger’s leadership characteristics to analyse his cognitive and behavioural characteristics in relation to Burns’ (1978) model of transactional and transformational leadership.

Burns’ (1978) model of transactional and transformational leadership was formed on the basis that transactional leadership places emphasis on maintaining stability and exploiting the knowledge of those within the group (Bass, 1990).  It also suggests that followers under a transactional leadership are motivated by reward and punishment based on their efforts (Northouse, 2010).  Therefore the relationship between a transactional leader and their followers is based on tangible rewards such as bonuses for successful results (Wright, 1996).  Transformational leadership however, is a more enduring process through which the leader initiates change and seeks opportunities for the organisation and those in it to develop and buy into the vision of the leader (Bass, 1990; Lussier & Achua, 2010).

This model offers a method for determining the type of leader an individual is and the effect they have on their followers.  However, it is formed on the basis of two extremes through suggesting a transactional leader focuses on the present situation whilst a transformational leader is constantly looking toward the future.  Like all other forms of leadership, transactional and transformational leadership styles will overlap depending on the situation and therefore a leader must have some flexibility in their approach (Kuhnert & Lewis, 1987).  Therefore, whilst Arsene Wenger can be seen as a transformational leader, it is hypothesised that this assignment will display instances where he rejects transformational leadership theory to adopt a more suitable approach.

The first attribute associated with transformational leadership is charisma and Charteis-Black (2007) suggests that a charismatic leader is someone whose followers believe in the power and attributes they hold.  It is a rare quality found in leaders who seek to establish a vision and mission to the group they are leading (Bass, 1990).  When Wenger joined Arsenal in 1996 the club had a reputation of being a highly defensive and boring team but he had a vision of how he wanted football to be played in an offensive manner which would seek to exploit the strengths of their players; a style which Arsenal are now famous for throughout the world (Rivoire, 2007; Wenger, 2011a).  The club have not won the Premier League since 2004 and whilst Wenger believes the values of a club should remain the same he aimed to reinvent the club (Rivoire, 2007).  This has seen Arsenal win three league championships (1998, 2002, 2004) and four FA cups (1998, 2002, 2003, 2005) under Wenger’s leadership, including league and cup doubles in 1998 and 2002.  Despite this success Arsenal have not won a trophy since 2005, a fact that is constantly troubling the ambitious nature of Wenger (Rivoire, 2007; Wenger, 2011b).

Arsene passing on instructions to his players

Audus et al (1997) state that the role of any football manager is to direct and co-ordinate those underneath them. However although managerial change often results in positive short-term results, the majority of clubs tend to perform less well in the longer term (Audus et al, 1997; Bridgewater, 2010).  Therefore, rather than instigating quick erratic changes a transformational manager seeks to develop a culture over time that their followers can buy into (Kuhnert & Lewis, 1987).  This is consistent with Wenger’s behaviour when taking charge at Arsenal as rather than introducing his own coaching team he kept Pat Rice, former Arsenal player and current coach in order to maintain continuity and familiarity with the players (Rivoire, 2007).  This enabled Wenger to gain the trust of the players whilst slowly implementing changes (Bolchover & Brady, 2006).  Similar to when he took over at Monaco, at Arsenal he was balancing implementing new changes with keeping the squad members happy (Rivoire, 2007).  This is most evident in the dressing room before a game as although finding players such as former England international Ian Wright dancing and playing loud music unorthodox, he understood it was part of the culture and he had to respect habits like this whilst making the changes he felt necessary (Rivoire, 2007).  A similar situation arose when he began to modify eating habits at Arsenal, rather than taking sweets away immediately he employed a dietician who explained the benefits of the changes being made whilst Wenger was replacing sweets with dietary supplements he learned from his time at Grampus Eight in Japan (Rivoire, 2007).

Bass (1990) also states that a transformational seeks to instil pride in their followers and gain their respect and trust.  Wenger views this as one of the most important areas of leadership and stated that it is essential for his players to have complete faith in him, even when he does not have faith in himself (Rivoire, 2007).  The model demonstrates that a transformational leader engages followers in a way that encourages them to motivate each other and mutually work together to achieve the club’s goals (Wright, 1996). Throughout his career, he has always focused his efforts on transmitting confidence and giving players self-belief through providing them with the opportunity to express themselves on the pitch, and this is consistent in his interviews where he claims spirit and belief have been the main factors of his team’s success (Rivoire, 2007; Wenger, 2011c).  Through the culture he develops within a team he puts full belief into his players as he believes they will always do their best for the team (Rivoire, 2007).  For this reason Wenger has often been seen to field a team consisting of players who have more of an impact on the team rather than higher ability players such as Tony Adams and former Brazil international Gilberto Silva (Rivoire, 2007).  Such is his belief in his player’s abilities when right back Lee Dixon was injured he played a young centre midfielder called Remi Garde in that position despite never playing there before telling him that he understands the team’s dynamics and is capable of playing there.  This proved successful with Wenger telling Garde after the game “here you go, it’s not all that complicated, is it?” (Rivoire, 2007).

Another way Wenger gains the respect of those around him is through his protection of his players.  Regardless of the situation he always supports and protects his players and when Spanish midfielder Cesc Fabregas was accused of asking the referee if he took a bribe during a game with Everton in 2011 Wenger claimed it was wrong for Everton manager David Moyes to publically accuse Fabregas and stated that it was him and not Fabregas who spoke to the referee at half time (Wenger, 2011c).  Another example of this protection is that although Arsenal have not won a trophy since 2005 he stated that being able to give their best throughout the season has made his team an “absolutely amazing young team” (Wenger, 2011e).

Lussier & Achua (2001) state that intelligence concerns the cognitive ability to solve problems, think critically and make decisions, another characteristic closely associated with the transformational leader (Bass, 1990).  Throughout his footballing life Wenger has always been obsessed with football even as a young coach at AS Mutzig he would travel to games throughout France and West Germany with Max Hild (Rivoire, 2007; Wenger, 2010).  Wenger saw Hild as his first mentor and every night after training they would discuss different aspects of football.  This has had a major influence on Wenger who has always been eager to learn and would always ask and listen intently to Hild’s thoughts on the game any time he visited London (Rivoire, 2007).

From a young age Wenger’s parents always encouraged him to focus on education and as a result he did not fully devote himself to football until after his playing career was finished (Rivoire, 2007; Bolchover & Brady, 2006).  At the age of 25 and whilst playing for Mulhouse he obtained a degree in economics from the University of Strasbourg and also holds a degree in engineering (Bolchover & Brady, 2006; Wenger, 2010).  He is a highly educated individual who enjoys reading biographies, history and politics, but it is within football he has excelled in gaining an education (Rivoire, 2007).  Rather than focusing on football alone, he likes to surround himself with professionals from a range of professions including dieticians, fitness experts and doctors (Rivoire, 2007).  By doing this he has developed a knowledge of each of these areas which enables him to hold an intellectual conversation.  This has also helped him make better decisions on the needs of his players.  For example, when French international Robert Pires tore ligaments Wenger sent him to a specialist in Strasbourg who diagnosed that he would play no further part in the 2001/02 season (Rivoire, 2007).

In order to be able to properly communicate with people Wenger felt it was important to speak a number of languages and being raised in a multi-lingual environment prompted him to explore a range of languages and he is now fluent in English, French and German and can communicate effectively in Spanish and Portugese.  He also claims that if he had not learned the English language he would never have been offered a position at Arsenal (Revoire, 2007).

Wenger finished his playing career in 1979 at Racing Club in Strasbourg and between 1981 and 1983 he was in charge of the reserve team and youth set up at the club and at the age of 32 he knew his strengths lay in coaching (Rivoire, 2007).  This prompted him to begin to study for his coaching badges at the Regional Centre for Popular Sports Education (CREPS) in Strasbourg and gained his coaching diploma in 1981, during which he began to apply and practice the methods he had been learned under Paul Frantz from his time at Mulhouse (Bolchover & Brady, 2006; Rivoire, 2007).  As a player Wenger was never a sensation but he was fascinated with tactics and was constantly striving to know everything he could about all aspects of the game from tactics to team strategy (Rivoire, 2007).  This enabled him to gather as much knowledge and experience as he could which is essential for any leader (Burke & Cooper, 2006).

The term rationality can be defined as the ability to think and act in a reliable way and remaining open to reason through considering both sides of an argument (Fiske et al, 2010).  Bass (1990) suggests this is a characteristic commonly found within a transformational leader.  Evidence suggests however that this is perhaps the main area where Wenger goes against the model and often finds himself in a difficult situation.  Ordinarily Wenger is a calm character and even when games are threatening to boil over this is a quality he is able to maintain.  He views this as one of his strengths as he believes portraying an image of calmness can instil confidence into this team, supporting Daft’s (2008) statement that the emotions of a leader are contagious and keeping a calm persona can portray optimism in difficult situations (Rivoire, 2007).  This ability however, is not limited to himself and at Grampus Eight in Japan he allowed players to take hot baths before a game as it is thought to calm players nerves, a method which would be deemed unthinkable in France (Rivoire, 2007).  In this instance Wenger’s emotions finally got the better of him when after losing eight games he became angry and began questioned whether the players considered themselves as professionals or not (Rivoire, 2007).

Perhaps the most famous instance of Arsene Wenger’s irrational behaviour is when he spoke out after Eduardo’s leg break as a result of Martin Taylor’s challenge in a game against Birmingham in 2008.  Arsene Wenger quickly gave his opinion on the situation by claiming that Taylor “should never play football again” (Wenger, 2008a).  Wenger also claimed that this was a result teams having to rely on bad tackles to stop Arsenal (Wenger, 2008a).  These statements were later retracted by the Arsenal manager who admitted his comments were excessive and were said in the heat of the moment (Wenger, 2008b).

One Monaco player Claude Puel claimed that whilst Wenger would occasionally become angry, pressure very rarely got the better of him (Rivoire, 2007).  However, in 2006 he was fined £10,000 for aggressive behaviour after pushing West Ham manager Alan Pardew after his team were beaten one nil.  Wenger accepted this fine and on reflection admitted that he had over-reacted (Wenger, 2006).

Another characteristic of a transformational leader is providing personal attention and treating each individual equally (Bass, 1990).  This is an area Wenger would appear to excel in and although a young George Weah felt Wenger was interfering too much into his personal life he later claimed it all paid off (Rivoire, 2007).  Throughout his career Wenger has always maintained an interest and personal contact with his players.  When he met with former England centre half Tony Adams to discuss Adams’ alcohol addiction, Wenger was highly sympathetic and keen to listen to what he had to say (Rivoire, 2007).  Growing up with his parents running a pub in Alsace may have had an influence on this as he has seen the negative influence alcohol can have on people (Rivoire, 2007).  When presented to the media for the first time as Arsenal manager he protected Adams along with Paul Merson who was also struggling with alcohol addition by refusing to comment on the issue (Rivoire, 2007).

Whilst remaining a highly personal person who prefers to keep his private and work lives separate he always ensures he takes an interest in his players lives (Rivoire, 2007).  This enables him to understand his players and their motivations much more clearly.  It also helped him establish whether or not they buy into the culture he has created (Rivoire, 2007).  Much like he currently does at Arsenal, with Monaco he would ask the foreign players about their lives back home and the happiness of their families.  However, he would do this whilst remaining enigmatic and slightly distant (Rivoire, 2007).

If a player made a mistake within a game he would refuse to criticise them publically or in front of the other team members.  After the 2011 League Cup Final with Birmingham he refused to blame goalkeeper Wojciech Szczesny or defender Laurent Koscielny for their misunderstanding leading to a Birmingham goal (Wenger, 2001d).  Instead, he prefers to speak to players on an individual basis as is evident when French international Silvain Wiltord repeatedly entered training late and Wenger took him aside for a quiet word rather than ridiculing him in front of the group (Rivoire, 2007).

Unlike a transactional leader who avoids responsibility and decision making, Wenger insists that a manager should be the only decision maker in order to handle egos at the club (Rivoire, 2007).  This extends to the transfer policy adopted under Wenger of unearthing young talent such as Theirry Henry, Robert Pires and Jack Wilshere rather than spending vast amounts of money on players like Chelsea have with players like Spanish international forward Fernando Torres (Rivoire, 2007; Wenger, 2011b).  When at home Wenger likes to watch and analyse football games and a lot of his decision making is assisted through video analysis, whether it is searching for a new player or deciding which player should play on match days (Wenger, 2009).  Therefore he ensures he has as much knowledge as possible before making a decision and that that decision is justified.

Bass (1990) states that a transformational leader coaches and advises their followers, unlike transactional leadership where responsibilities are abdicated to someone else.  Wenger closely follows this theory as he conducts most of the training himself.  However, he does not conduct pre-match and training warm ups or fitness training.  Warm ups are conducted by Boro Primarac who has been ever present in Wenger’s team as he was relied upon to help Wenger adapt to the culture during his time in Japan (Rivoire, 2007).  With the amount of tasks Wenger conducts he holds a large amount of responsibility and admits that he feels responsible for any poor team performances and defeats and after his first managerial defeat against Lens he had to stop the team bus on the journey home to vomit (Rivoire, 2007).

In conclusion, Arsene Wenger can very much be categorised as a transformational leader as he can be seen as a forward-thinker who creates a vision and culture within the team he is leading.  He is a highly intelligent individual who immerses himself in football and strives to know everything he can about all aspects of the game both on and off the pitch to develop his players.  It can be seen however, that whilst he remains calm in most situations there are occasions where his emotions can lead him to make irrational decisions such as his reaction to Mark Taylor’s tackle on Eduardo.

2010 Review

Happy New Year!  Now 2011 has arrived I thought I would review 2010 at the TWSports.Org Group.  From attracting Benfica to Belfast to travelling to Holland and Portugal it has been another action packed year.  I published my first book in March, celebrated 5 years of operating TWSports.Org in July and got married!

Of course I couldn't do this without your fantastic level of support and friendship.  I continue to re-invest to help continue to make our product the most innovative around along with offering the latest in technology with our websites, social media my new blog to help communicate and make ourselves available to you.

January - TWAcademy.Org announced a tour to Holland for August 2010.  Tour highlights included a game against PSV Eindhoven, a tour of PSV training complex, stadium tour and to watch a PSV first team game at the Philips Stadium.  Players involved in the Academy come together from Irish League sides and boys clubs.  Currently we have players from Glentoran, Cliftonville, Dungoyne, Larne Youth, Lisburn Youth, Ridgeway, Abbey Villa, Carryduff Colts and Lower Maze.

The Academy is open to all elite players that want access to additional elite training that focuses on technical training and game understanding.  To get your child involved contact myself by email or by phone, 07740120788.

February - The TWSports.Org Group increase their presence on the social media sites of Facebook, Twitter and You Tube.  Simply search for 'twsportsgroup' or click on the logos at the top of our web page and follow us for the latest news.  We have also made it easy to share pages from our websites by clicking the link button at the bottom of each page!

March - I published my first book, 'Toddler Soccer the Essential Guide'.  You can get a FREE download and your copy by clicking here.

You can listen to the BBC Radio Ulster interview on Tim's new book by following this link.

April - SL Benfica accepted TWSports.Org invitation to fly to Belfast to offer Coaching Clinics and Player Development Clinics.  Hugo Vicente & Edgar Cardosa led the clinics that attracted a number of local coaches, parents and children.  A family also flew in from New York to attend!  They spent the week in Northern Ireland and attended the TWSports.Org Easter Camp in Dundonald.

Over 60 children enjoyed the Easter Camp along with a SoccerSixes.Org tournament being played by a host of local clubs.  We catered for all boys and girls aged 2-13 along with an open age for children, young adults and coaches at the Benfica events!

May - 'Toddler Soccer the Essential Guide' book by Tim Wareing has now sold in 18 different countries!  This stretches from the UK and Ireland, across Europe to USA and Canada, the Far East and Australia!

You can order the paperback version or the e-book by clicking here!

June - Amazon and are now selling Tim Wareing's new book!  Tim has done a telephone interview by his publisher to be used as a case study and offered another publishing deal to write a second book! have also requested that Tim writes a book based on elite coaching using his sessions as Academy Director at Distillery and his visits to FC Barcelona, PSV Eindhoven and Ajax.

July - What a special month!  TWSports.Org celebrated its 5th birthday!  Our Summer Camps offered over 14 venues across Northern Ireland and open to all boys and girls aged 2-13.

Director & Head Coach, Tim Wareing, married to his partner, Leanne.

August - 25 parents, children and coaches travelled to Holland for an unbelievable tour.  From start to finish everything was a huge success from our direct flights from Belfast to the 4* Hotel & luxury coach.

TWAcademy drew 4-4 with PSV Eindhoven's feeder team and then recorded a fine 9-1 victory over Helmond Sport.  Everyone enjoyed the tour of the PSV Eindhoven training complex along with the penalty shoot out with Hans Segars!  A game at the Philips Stadium topped the weekend off!

You can read a full report from our tour by clicking here & view our video by following this link.

September - We kicked off another new season - our biggest yet!  From offering 8 great products that cater for children aged 2 years +; to our web based products that have coaches registered from all over the world!

Along with the likes of Toddler Soccer, Mini Soccer & elite training through TW Academy we also offer other great packages to!  From 1-on-1 coaching and organising birthday parties to coaching in schools and at local clubs we offer the most inclusive and innovative product around!

October - A successful Halloween Camp is held which offers affordable day care solution for parents while children are off school.  Helping children get active, have fun and learn new skills from only £2 per hour!  A party is held for all children and parents at the end of the week.

We base all our Fun Camps on a normal school day from 10am-3pm with an early drop off service available from 9am.  For more information contact me by email or phone, 07740120788.

November - Tim Wareing organised a European Club visit to Braga, Portugal for his staff.  They studied the training methods of SC Braga along with taking in the Champions League game against Arsenal.

You can read a full report from our tour by clicking here & view our video by following this link.

December - We made developments to the layout of our websites.  We have free downloads of books, training sessions and videos!  Simply visit our sites and subscribe to our newsletters.  Along with our FREE chat facility (top left hand corner of each website) we launched a new blog, CoachTim.Org.

We continue to grow & have a huge following around the world that have registered to our web based sites & coach resource information.  The TWSports.Org Group has a number of exciting new features & opportunities as we enter 2011.  We will bring these to you & your child!

Thanks for the support in 2010.  Good just got better for 2011 & we look forward to sharing it with you all!

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