Recall the old saying “Rome wasn’t built in a day”? As irritating as the next cliche. But it is as true as it is literal. Just like the Manchester United trophy cabinet didn’t come to be bursting at the hinges overnight. Just like Barcelona’s distinguished brand of pass and move wasn’t perfected in 90 minutes. And just like Mourinho didn’t become – albeit self-proclaimed – “Special” after a handful of matches.
So just how can a Manager emerge as a future Great and go down in Club folklore if, after a few wobbles, he gets given the elbow? Or during a dip in form the fans turn and call for his head? Unfortunately in today’s current climate there is a somewhat apparent chop-and-change culture. There’s more twisting than a Chubby Checker dance number, and not enough sticking when it comes to the man in the hot seat. It seems this mentality has swamped our sport over recent years, and as each season begins, the new gaffer is given less and less game time to prove himself and to establish his philosophies.
It is clear to understand where the supporters and chairmen’s frustration boils from, when the team they plough hard earned money into isn’t performing to the level they really should be on a weekly basis. We all want sound tactics, slick passing, and the whole system running like clockwork. But these things take time – and time should be longer than a season.
Surely it’s no coincidence that during Sir Alex Fergusons 25 year tenure at Old Trafford, the club accumulated prize after prize, award after award, and were the most supported, and celebrated outfit on the planet. And all of this after a strikingly suspect start to his reign. Imagine if the powers that be bowed to the instructions on the “Ta-ra Fergie” crowd banner in ’89, and with a blink of an eye and the ink barely dry on his contract he was given his marching orders. It took the man, who is now widely regarded as the greatest, 7 seasons at the helm to bag a League crown and once he had his first, there was no looking back.
So with this in mind it almost beggars belief that murmurs from the terraces circulate, and a lot of the pub-talk is all “Pochettino Out!” and, “He’s not the man for the job.” The impatient nit-pickers, and angry axe-wielders calling for the head of the honcho to be stuck on a corner-flag and held aloft, paraded through the City. So we haven’t hit dizzy heights. And granted, we have had some truly uninspiring games seen out at snail-pace. Yet there have been some dazzling moments and sublime football. The problem is consistency – or inconsistency, whichever way you look at it. Does that mean that Mauricio should be shown the door?
Ok so we get rid of him. Then what? Bring in someone else, who seemed like the perfect fit at the time, who everyone was raving about at the point of his arrival, and after half a season, when things aren’t going as smoothly as they were during the honeymoon period, get shot of him. And so on, and so on. We see it time and time again.
So instead of getting absolutely nowhere over 5 seasons with 5 different managers and 5 different approaches, starting from scratch each time, why not stick with the one manager, with the one philosophy? And maybe, just maybe, after an inconsistent season or two, something wonderful could be on the horizon. A daring statement, but what’s the harm in trying to find out?
After all, to dare is to do.
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