Dug-out beats the studio every day
THERE is a strong argument being put forward that ex-players now prefer the media as a footballing after-life rather than the dugout. It seems that the riches bestowed upon players are leading them in general to avoid the perilous world of football management and choose a more stable life in punditry.
Managerial reigns just get shorter. Authority to do the job seems to diminish. Pressure seems to increase by the second with social media at the heart of that.
We all get told that the days of a Sir Alex Ferguson are gone and will never be recreated.We hear that the game has changed irreversibly. That ownership structures have created a totally new order and that there is no going back.
And yet, it would not surprise me to see Jose Mourinho at Chelsea for the long haul. I believe he will have a strong say in who his club signs. It would not be a shock if his dynasty becomes one that others refer to in the future as ‘a thing of the past’.
Succeeding in football management is tough. Every club wants to win. Every manager does his utmost to win. Not everybody can. Losing today doesn’t make a club a losing club or a manager a losing manager. Neither does having a bad month or two.
Similarly, enjoying a great month is no indicator of sustainability. The guy who takes a job and creates a surge may or may not have what it takes in the long haul.
I think things will change back, given time. It isn’t stable or in any way strategic to keep changing manager at a club. There is no evidence that change is a positive recipe. Certainly, believing in a manager does bring benefits. But only if you let a manager be himself and make his own decisions.
I cannot believe that a club wanting to be successful will truly expect their manager to work with players he hasn't had a significant input into signing.
There is definitely a chemistry needed in building a winning team which the manager must provide. He needs personalities around him that spark off him and who he sparks off, too. No third party can judge that. It is a personal thing.
It is difficult for a club to believe in a manager when their owners will be fed information from the dressing room, often via agents of players, some of it true and some of it distorted.
But it is important that a club stands behind the man who will be setting the future strategic standards. Change won’t suit everybody and clubs have to be very strong to stand by their man when results wobble and big characters who may be affected by change perhaps resist the change.
Anonymity allows vicious rumours to circulate on message boards.
Sir Alex survived turbulent days. Mourinho didn’t survive his the first time around. But I do see a more rounded Chelsea now and I sense a long-term vision. I feel the club and the manager are closer and I sense that both have learned lessons.
Being in management is not about fearing the axe. It is not about worrying about ‘who signs the players’. It is about winning games, loving the sport, and striving for betterment.
The more you win, the longer you last and the more authority you wield. That’s football.
The studio will never match the dugout. Just as the dugout will never match the pitch.
HE’S A KNOCK-OUT: Wayne Rooney celebrates his goal Inset: Gazza at Wembley