Friday, 20 April 2012

The Flavour of the Month Ideology in Football

What do Louis Van Gaal and Rafa Benitez have in common? Both have won the European Cup as managers, yet both managers find themselves out of work. 

In football, managers don’t seem to last that long. Indeed, they can be very successful in one season, but if that is followed by a season of failure, this can often lead to the sack. Take Van Gaal at Bayern, the Dutch tactician, won the double in his first season at Bayern, getting to the final of the Champions League.
What’s sad is that a manager can have 5 or 6 years of success, but this past success can be virtually forgotten if the manager falls from the limelight. 

Though in football this flavour of the monthism (if I can call it that) is hilarious. Especially in English football.
When a vacancy opens up at a big club or when a manager is on the ropes, all types of names pop up as managers who could ‘do the job.’ I recall Owen Coyle being touted for Arsenal at one stage. I recall, Neil Warnock being linked with the England job and recently we’ve even had Alan Pardew ruling himself out of the England job. Yes, Alan Pardew. (the same guy who was managing in League One 18 months ago.)
Indeed, hindsight is a wonderful thing, but reading some of these names now are just hilarious. It’s crazy, far more qualified, experienced and better pedigreed managers are often forgotten for managers who are having a good spell at their club during the time a vacancy opens up.

Perhaps this is agents come in handy, especially for those managers who are out of work. The more publicity means the more awareness the manager gets. And the more awareness a manager gets it means fans, press and club boards will remember the manager and his brand as it were.

But often with some fans, and even with the press, if a manager has 5 years of success and two years of failure, this can lead to the manager’s reputation to be crushed. And if a big job comes up, people are quick to dismiss him, and they point to his recent failures, saying he is not up for the job and will ‘destroy the club.’  I feel this is a harsh mentality to take when determining if a manager is good enough to manage a certain club.

After all, failure often leads to learning, a development of a managers skills. Also its basic human desire, when someone fails their desire for redemption is high. Look, managers in ANY sport have a huge competitive streak in them. Why else would they take jobs which such intensity and pressure?
In England, flavour of the month has been dominant for decades. 

But has it really worked? Its seems that most managers are given some jobs as they are going through a great moment with their previous club, rather than being right for the club and the culture of the club.
Take Roy Hodgson’s tenure at Liverpool. Prior to his move to Liverpool, Hodgson had just taken Fulham to the Europa League, and narrowly lost to Athletico Madrid. 

Hogdson a man, with vast experience, as he often tells the world, was linked with all sorts of jobs. He was seen as a bigger contender than Harry Redknapp for the England job during his final season at Fulham.
But Hodgson had a woeful time at Liverpool. And now the West Brom manager is seen as a huge outsider for the England job.

While former England boss, Steve McClaren, is a unique individual in regards to this manager of the monthism in England.

Let's make no bones about it, Steve McClaren transformed Middlesbrough.

He won the club their first major trophy in the club’s history. While he also took the side to the Uefa Cup final. This success inevitably lead him to be linked with the England job. And when he did take the job, he failed.

And now, although he transformed Middlesbrough and made them a solid fixture in the Premier League. Something which the club would crave for now, Steve McLaren is now deemed as highly unfavourable by most English clubs and their fans. 

But what’s more frustrating about the harsh reputation Steve McClaren has is that the former Boro boss  has furthered his career abroad with success at Twente, winning the Dutch title with them.

Yet even with his success across the continent, when McClaren returned to manage in England, he was quickly rejected by Aston Villa fans, who saw him as signs of the club 'lowering their ambition.' And when former Boro boss when he DID get a job back in England, he only managed to get a job in the Championship with Nottingham Forest.

For me this is absurd. 

Yes he isn’t the best manager in the world, but by no means is he the worst. McClaren’s achievements show he is a manager who at the right club, can achieve a fair deal of success.

This manger of the month mentality or perhaps even ideology in England has done the clubs and the national team in England no real favours at all. 

It’s more far more important that a manager is right for the club. In terms of the clubs culture, values and expectations, rather than the manager ‘deserving the chance’ at a certain club.

This mentality is sadly hindering the chances of some of the best managers in the UK or even the world from managing in the Premier League and other top leagues.

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