BRUNO’S GRAND DESIGN DOOMED TO FAIL
BRUNO Ribeiro is a decent man who attempted to bring continental football to League One. His failure was sad, but probably inevitable.
Appointed from leftfield in June, the Portuguese hit the ground running. For much of a sun-dappled August, it really did seem that Barcelona was reborn in Burslem.
Then it got cold. Pitches turned rank. Opponents learned to exploit Port Vale’s haphazard zonal marking and kick their prancing playmakers off the park.
Now, after one win in 11 games, Ribeiro has fallen on his sword, happily waved off by fans sick of his dogmatic adherence to a stifling 4-2-3-1 set-up.
The kindest thing you can say about Ribeiro’s reign is that noble intentions were undermined by poor execution – founded, as is so often the case with overseas managers, on a failure to gauge the quality of League One.
Of Ribeiro’s 17 summer signings, 12 were plucked from the lower leagues of Europe. None used to the power and pace of England. None used to the language and culture. None used to a 46-game slog.
Indeed, it is notable that in his final game, a 1-0 defeat to Walsall, three of Ribeiro’s four imports failed to last the 90 minutes. Talented they may be, but tough enough? Clearly not.
Had Ribeiro phased in his system and players, he might have stood a chance. Instead, he went for revolution and paid for it with his job.
EXIT: Ribeiro at Port Vale