Waiting 15-years for a new Guns N’ Roses record is reason enough to be a little peeved off, especially when the album is decent at best and consists of about 30 different musicians working to Axl Rose’s loony demands. But waiting a season or even six-months to really see the workings of a manager shouldn’t be too much to ask.
Andre Villas-Boas was welcomed to north London by a chorus of boos, albeit not from all the supporters. The switch from the media’s best mate and towards a manager who doesn’t fancy giving interviews out of his car window, instead insisting on examining DVDs of his next opponent should be greeted with more than just a good helping of scepticism. Where’s the settling in period that’s needed for any job, especially sports coaching and management?
Brendan Rodgers is a championship manager who got lucky one year but will never live up to the genius of Appetite for Destruction, even if that holy name did bring such a poor set of results in the recent past. But people are obviously drawn to drama away from the pitch, where sensationalist stories make much better reading that a quick recap of how well everyone is doing.
Where’s the story if AVB did start well at White Hart Lane and picked up at least two wins from three? Well I’m sure there’d be a spin on the whole thing and a look into the foundations being left by Harry Redknapp. Anything for a stir, I guess. But with football, there seems to be little understanding that good mangers and good player needs time to settle in and make sense of his surroundings; not every player is dropped in with the natural talents of a Messi or Ronaldo—both of whom also took a number of years to establish themselves as the best in modern football.
With Rodgers and Villas-Boas, people expect instant results in a world where that’s simply not possible. If either manager wins a trophy by the end of the season then it’s nothing short of a miracle—and not because either team is particularly bad, but instead because of the time needed to force their footballing ideas onto the pitch.
There’s a whirlwind of pressure created that now hangs over both managers, yet neither are willing to accept defeat, even after only three league games. Somehow, and I know it sounds crazy, but somehow the managers and the chairmen at each club understand the ideas that have been put forth: notably the words “three or four year project.” No manager outside Jose Mourinho, Alex Ferguson and Pep Guardiola can walk into a club and assure onlookers of instant success. And even then, they’d need mountains of cash to throw around in order to keep their promise.
In this case, there’s little acknowledgement of the lack of resources afforded to both managers, with their desires for an impressive future mocked by those who believe them to well out of their depth. Both have proven to be very good managers who are determined to stick to their principles, gaining success in the past through their desire for something different on the pitch and with the personnel needed to execute said orders. John W. Henry and Daniel Levy are worthy of some form of criticism for not giving their managers exactly what was needed for this season, but there is comfort in knowing that the trigger happy feeling isn’t coming from inside the clubs.
Football fans and the media are greatly mistaken if they believe new managers are going to transform their clubs into Barcelona or Porto MK2. There’s even less acknowledgement of just how good their recent opposition have been. But if the good and winning football doesn’t come early, then at least we can lean on the “shortcomings” of managers, even if those aimed cannons are pointing in the wrong direction.
The criticisms of Rodgers and Villas-Boas is nothing short of mind-numbing. Where’s the reference point to how competitive and difficult English football is? Oh yes, that only comes in when levelling criticism at the failings of other leagues around Europe. Nice work.