TOTTENHAM Hotspur were supposed to be different, a club that didn’t follow the zeitgeist of football as a rich-man’s plaything. Spurs were committed to developing players, providing the hub of the Southgate project, and they resisted the temptation of throwing money around. They had also kept faith with a coveted manager that was popular, played football in keeping with the club’s rich heritage of purist … Continue reading Tottenham’s frustration forces a change of ethos
MANCHESTER UNITED are going through what amounts to something of an identity crisis. The astonishingly high standards set during the Ferguson era meant that whatever followed him would be an anti-climax, but the club has made a series of poor judgement calls, partly in desperation to return to winning ways – and that means league titles – and partly because of the need to maintain … Continue reading CV-risky jobs: Managing an elite club
HOW OFTEN have you heard someone explain away a poor title defence with a comment like, “They needed to turn things over….they needed to rebuild”? It is true that nothing lasts forever in football and sometimes, a title winning team burns itself out in lifting the big prize. A manager gets the best out of a group of players and then they’re done. The fact … Continue reading League title winners – passing the baton on
REMEMBER when Chelsea went left-field and hired André Villas-Boas, the 35 year-old Porto head coach? It was meant to be bold, innovative and – with absence making the heart grow fonder for the man who brought two league titles to the club – a Mourinho-lite appointment. It all turned sour and inexperience, over-expectation and tactical confusion led to AVB out of work in mid-February 2012. … Continue reading With Lampard, it may be different
REMEMBER when Chelsea went left-field and hired André Villas-Boas, the 35 year-old Porto head coach? It was meant to be bold, innovative and – with absence making the heart grow fonder for the man who brought two league titles to the club – a Mourinho-lite appointment. It all turned sour and inexperience, over-expectation and tactical confusion led to AVB out of work in mid-February 2012. … Continue reading Chelsea and Lampard – where’s the biggest risk?
BRITAIN is a nation of football experts. Watch any game at, say, Anfield, Griffin Park or Stamford Bridge and there will be 35,000 football managers in the crowd. It has always been the same, but in recent times, the talent pool has got bigger due to computer games such as FIFA and Football Manager, all of which convince the addict that they can manage a … Continue reading Homage to Brian Glover – my life as a coach
MANCHESTER did not have a good Champions League this past week, with both City and United tumbling out of the competition. While City’s exit was harsh in many ways, United got no more than they deserved against a Barcelona team that was far too good for Ole Gunar Solksjaer’s charges. The gulf in class was huge, making Solksjaer’s comment, “there’s work to be done” one … Continue reading Remake/remodel – United’s task in hand
THE INEVITABLE happened, the end of the Mourinho era at Old Trafford. Football is a funny game, it tip-toes to the abyss with alarming regularity, making bad and expensive decisions that play to the wisdom of trends time after time. Nobody, but nobody, should be surprised about the outcome, the media have been talking about nothing else for 12 months, looking for signs that the … Continue reading A CV-destroying job?
IT’S not fashionable to defend José Mourinho, especially after his poor impression of Ted Rogers on the TV Show, 3-2-1, but is it really so big a crisis at Old Trafford? Mourinho has the best win rate of any Manchester United manager – 61.48%, a figure that beats even the records of Sir Matt and Sir Alex. But there’s two things that are really agitating … Continue reading Finding galactico gaffers – why United may be better off with the status quo
THE DAY before the Arsenal v 1. FC Köln Europa League match, I was offered two tickets for the game by a Gunners’ season ticket holder. I also looked on Viagogo, there were a few tickets for sale, almost certainly from Arsenal fans who didn’t fancy Thursday night football. In London, there had been a steady stream of German fans arriving for 48 hours. In … Continue reading Football Media Watch: Billy goats and scapegoats
IT IS sad when a good guy gets the axe, particularly when public opinion is so positive about his achievements, but there should be no surprise about the sacking of Claudio Ranieri. Leicester City, in their current position, would probably be parting company with any manager, let alone one that led them to the most unexpected title win since Ipswich Town’s triumph in 1961-62. The … Continue reading Ranieri – don’t be surprised at all
A FEW years ago, a group of young managers was highlighted as the new breed of progressive coaches more interested in technical advancement than in becoming black-suited egos prowling the touchlines. They were not necessarily in charge of the top clubs, but they were taking their employers into the realms of possibility. This group of “tomorrow’s men” included Michael Laudrup – and then his successor … Continue reading Martinez exit signals end of the “Likely lads”
DESPITE the ongoing debate about Arsene Wenger’s future as Arsenal manager, the Frenchman stands out across the premier European football leagues for his durability. According to the latest report from CIES Football Observatory, Wenger has been in charge at Arsenal for 233 months. Nobody gets close to this figure – Wenger’s length of service is more than six times the next manager in the Premier, … Continue reading Wenger has most staying power among big five leagues