When I was young and misbehaved my mother would often tell me ‘the tale does not wag the dog’. In layman’s terms she was telling me she was boss and that what she said went!
In 2008 following his team’s 3rd place finish in La Liga, Frank Rijkaard was sacked as manager of Barcelona. The club had gone out to eventual Champions League winners Manchester United in the semi final of the competition and had also gone out in the semi final of the Copa del Rey so the season was not a disaster by any stretch of the imagination. Just two seasons before he had won the Champions League beating Arsenal in the final and the season prior to his dismissal, lost the title by way of a weaker head to head record against champions Real Madrid.
So why exactly was he sacked?
Rumours had begun circulating about problems in the dressing room and by the end of his tenure in Catalonia, Rijkaard had completely lost the dressing room with players like Ronaldinho and Samuel Eto’o dancing to their own tune.
And although not as extreme as the Rijkaard case, it is felt that this is part of the reason why Mark Hughes became the 49 th manager to lose his job this year.
Ian Wright highlighted the likes of Robinho, Adebayor and Joleon Lescott as the types of player that cost him his job and although I can see where he is coming from with Robinho and Lescott, the case for Adebayor is a bit sketchy.
Wright claimed in his column in The Sun:
“In Robinho, Emmanuel Adebayor and Joleon Lescott, these three signings, for various reasons, contributed to Hughes getting the boot. Robinho and Adebayor are not players you would want in the trenches. When you hear certain stories coming out of City about Robinho, he doesn’t strike me as the kind of player a manager can hang his hat on, and Adebayor left a club like Arsenal among all sorts of player unrest stories.”
As brilliant as Robinho has been on field, he has caused his fair share of problems off field too, he was accused of rape in January and as a result went AWOL leaving the club’s Tenerife training camp without permission. More recently he also hasn’t helped by courting Barcelona, sometimes publicly, in an attempt to orchestrate a move back to Spain.
Joleon Lescott although not disruptive in the same sense as Robinho, piled the pressure on Hughes when Man City forked out £24m to bring him to Manchester from Everton. Lescott has been one of City’s biggest underachievers this season failing to perform to a standard that confirmed City’s belief that he was worth such a hefty fee.
This leaves us with the controversial Togolese forward Emmanuel Adebayor. Initial he got off to a dream start scoring in all 4 of City’s first 4 games. But over on Sky Sports’ Soccer Saturday Jeff Stelling and co. believe that after getting off to such a great start Adebayor has taken his foot off the gas as he feel he has justified his place and price tag already. This is disputable as he is still scoring, grabbing the opener as City beat Chelsea, although not as frequently as at the start of the season. I think it is a case of his reputation preceding him as there is no concrete evidence we can use in this case.
It would be wrong to just blame these players as others have failed Hughes as well with poor performances and Hughes himself must shoulder some of the blame too. After spending the money he has, going on that record breaking run of draws was not acceptable.
But essentially his job could have been made easier with the co-operation of his players. Ian Wright also claimed:
“I have the feeling they will not care less that Hughes has been replaced.”
and when you look at the likes of Robinho and Adebayor I too share that feeling as it looks like these tails could very well have been wagging the dog.