Every football – or soccer – fan is really a frustrated manager.

They watch their team’s games utterly confident that they would have picked a better team and thought up smarter tactics than the professional actually doing the job. Motivating a group of individuals to play for each other? Not a problem. 

Frank Warren is an ardent Arsenal fan and has spent years watching some of football’s most successful managers at work. Still, there will have been many times when the Hall of Fame promoter has shouted at his television or told the person sitting next to him that the man in charge doesn’t know what he is doing.

On June 1, Warren will put his own managerial ability to the test when Queensberry face off with Eddie Hearn’s Matchroom in the ultimate five-a-side game and Warren has just handed in his first ever team sheet. 

The rock solid, dependable Hamzah Sheeraz will captain Queensberry while Nick Ball is the energetic, no nonsense dynamo capable of setting the tone for the whole event. Warren has gone for two big men up front. Don’t expect any intricate hold up play from Daniel Dubois and Zhilei Zhang. The heavyweight duo won’t be running the channels but they do form a pretty potent tandem. Willy Hutchinson will play the role of the mercurial number 10, an undoubted talent capable of moments of brilliance but prone to inconsistency. 

There are certain transferrable skills between boxing promotion and football management. Warren will have spent his fair share of time massaging egos and dealing with problematic agents, but it remains to be seen whether he will be a George Graham-type disciplinarian, with style taking a back seat to success or if will he take a leaf out of Arsene Wenger’s book and allow his team to go out and express themselves individually in Saudi Arabia?

Will he be giving a sabre-rattling John Sitton-esque dressing room speech beforehand?

“I’ve done that already, don’t worry about that. I’ve told them, ‘Don’t you embarrass me. I don’t care about you lot, just don’t embarrass me,’” Warren told BoxingScene with a laugh.

“You’ve gotta have a serious side for obvious reasons but I do like to have a bit of banter as well. There’s a line you draw and you don’t step over it but what I’m trying to build in them is that although they’ve got their individual careers – and that is the most important thing because boxing is the most selfish of all sports – I want a sense of camaraderie. I want that feeling that they don’t want to let each other down or let the team down. I want them to support each other, I want that feeling of it being us against them

“It’s important for them, it’s important for Queensberry and our TV channels. Everything.”

Before hitting the big time, world class footballers like Harry Kane and David Beckham spent time out on loan at lower league clubs. By the time they were given their chance to play at the highest level, the grounding they received from competing against hardened, determined professionals made the jump from the youth and reserve teams much more manageable.

Over the years, a number of talented British fighters have been put in at world level without the invaluable experience of having taken part in high stakes fights against ambitious, top level domestic rivals. Time and time again, capable fighters have been unable to bridge that gap, filling it with bravery and effort. 

Warren wants to ensure that the ‘5 vs. 5’ show is more than just a standalone event. An ongoing series of events would obviously benefit the fighters financially in the short term but Warren believes it would also prepare them physically and – maybe even more importantly – mentally for more sustained success whatever their level. 

“I want to win it and I want to do this again,” he said. “I’d never had a conversation with Eddie Hearn until a few weeks ago and, since then, there have been some quite constructive ones. If you remember, I put forward the idea of doing a similar type of show a few years ago. It’s there to be done now and I think we could do this at various stages of shows. We could do it at York Hall with the younger kids , then medium sized shows at, say, the Copperbox and then big ones. There are a lot of different connotations we can do with this.

“Even if the fighters get beat but they’re in a fight that they learn from, that’s not the end of the world because they’re picking up experience.”

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