One of Arsene Wenger’s most grating qualities is his inability to not pass judgement on everything. The Frenchman has recently chipped in criticising Chelsea’s allegations against Mark Clattenburg accusing the Blues of “going public with little proof”.
While I agree with the sentiment that Chelsea should not have gone public unless they were absolutely certain Clattenburg had discriminated against Jon Obi Mikel, due to the permanent damage they have already done to the official’s reputation. Considering the serious nature of the allegations it seems unnecessary for Wenger to weigh in before the truth has been revealed.
The 63-year-old is one of many managers who offer their opinion too often, considering what a difficult vulnerable position football managers are in, you’d think they have too much to worry about to get involved with things which don’t immediately concern them. Sir Alex Ferguson had a brief public dispute with Rio Ferdinand other the ‘Kick It Out’ debacle. Ferguson ended up in a strange morale position where he appeared to be directly against the personal beliefs of his long-serving defender. Both parties were intelligent enough to soon quash the row but for a brief period Ferguson seemed to be involving himself in a personal matter which was outside of his jurisdiction.
Ian Holloway has become one of the most polarising figures in British football and is known as much for his sound bites as managerial achievements. I almost like to separate Holloway’s persona in football into two: the affable comic at Queens Park Rangers and Plymouth and then the man who returned at Blackpool after being sacked by Leicester City. Holloway used to come up with some of the best one-liners in football never taking himself too seriously.
For example, “To put it in gentleman’s terms if you’ve been on a night out and you’re looking for a young lady and you pull one, some weeks they’re good looking and some weeks they’re not the best. Our performance today would have been not the best looking bird but at least we got her in the taxi.
“She weren’t the best looking lady we ended up taking home but she was very pleasant and very nice so thanks very much let’s have a coffee.” This brilliant, bizarre quite unique anecdote sums up the way I pictured Holloway as a jovial character who was great for football.
Contrast this however, with the more bitter tirades he launched during his year in the Premier League. For some reason rather than concerning himself with Blackpool’s suicidal approach to Premier League match-ups in the second half of the season, he continued to give his two cents on every single footballing issue. This misplaced desire to comment on everything made him a media darling, regularly featured on Sky Sports News but also in my opinion made him come across an egocentric man, with ill-judged priorities.
Holloway’s thoughts on the World Cup in Qatar best sum up my view on the man, “Well obviously they’re so important, that we’ll have to change our tournament. It’s so vital that they have our tournament that belongs to the world and I think I’m a world person aren’t I, I come from England. So we’ll just change everything cos your weather’s really hot. Cos we can’t play it we should do.
“Brilliant, if it was up to me heads would roll and I know which head it would be and I’d love to do it. Why don’t we get the people of Blackburn to do it because they seem to love sacking people. Sepp Blatter and all of them lot Mr Platini I know he was a good player but he ain’t very good at what he does, I don’t think. I think he’s useless you can quote me on that.”
This bad-tempered monologue further confirmed my fears that Holloway was someone who likes the attention and sound of his own voice too much; I’m also sceptical as to how much time Holloway focuses on goings on at UEFA before deciding Michel Platini was unfit for his job.
Another manager who seemed too concerned with saying controversial quotes and concerning himself with entertaining the media rather than focusing on his football team is Roy Keane. One of the best British footballers over the past 20 years, I consider him one of the worst managers seen on these shores during that period. While at Ipswich Town the former Manchester United captain launched a cynical rant in the direction of Republic of Ireland fans.
“I’d be more annoyed with my defenders and goalkeeper, than Thierry Henry. How can you let a ball bounce in the six yard box? How can you let Henry get goal-side of you and if the ball bounced in the six yard box I’d be saying, ‘where the hell’s my goalkeeper?”
Keane raised some good points going against the crowd here, but his comments also stank of hypocrisy. Keane was hammering an Ireland defence and accusing the media and fans of being too soft on the Ireland players, but a key culprit in the conceding of the goal was Paul McShane. McShane was signed by Keane for Sunderland where he was found worryingly out of depth in the Premier League, if Keane had focussed more on his scouting system instead of offering harsh criticism of an unlucky Ireland team, maybe his managerial career would work out differently.
Managers especially at Premier League level are put in front of a microphone and camera on an almost daily basis, and are asked to discuss various different issues. But considering how vulnerable manager’s are to the sack in football, I often think they should pick their fights more carefully. Manager’s in my opinion are too keen and too readily speak on issues which simply don’t concern them.
Let me know your thoughts on Twitter @jimmylowson.
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