LEEDS IS A BIG JOB – IT NEEDS MORE THAN 9 MONTHS!
I MUST declare a personal interest in Brian McDermott’s situation. I know Brian, we get on well, and like me he moved from the south to the north to work. But none of that personal interest has any bearing on what I am about to say.
Brian took Reading into the Premier League; he is proven in his ability to win promotion from the Championship. He took over a big club in Leeds, punching below its weight, and he inherited a big expectation. He clearly had a big job on his hands.
People really don’t seem to understand what ‘a big job’ means. Football is not like any other walk of life. A boss can walk into most companies and exert influence. If he or she doesn’t want a key person, he or she can fire him or her. There is a price. But change can happen.
In football, it isn’t like that. In football, a manager can inherit a group of players, who are of a kind.The agenda might be the easy life. The party life. The gambling life. How many times have we heard about the drinking culture that Fergie inherited?
But in football, contracts prevent a manager from making the changes that are needed.You can be forced to work with a dressing room for months or even years.
If lads who are hanging on to the easy life decide to revolt against a tougher life then it is not easy. Especially if they are strong characters. They know how to bully a dressing room, to stop lads going your way, to undermine your position with key figures in the club and how to batter your name in the media.
This is all aside from the issues of whether the squad is good enough or has the right ingredients to play the type of football that a manager wants. It might take several transfer windows for a manager to bring in the type of players he wants. And sometimes, transfers don’t quite work out.
I don’t know the ins and outs of Brian’s situation yet. But I am absolutely certain he will be well into the big job that he inherited. I bet he has learned what needs to be changed at Leeds and I will bet he is working hard and smart to make the changes.
Bad results don’t indicate he can’t do the job;they could indicate that he was doing what needed doing and was facing a bit of inevitable difficulty. Change rarely happens without problems. Even Man United are finding that.
Continuity and belief in a manager is a lost art in football. Nine months to do a big managerial job? Come on!