Mails: What separates great & good bosses?

Date published: Monday 7th September 2015 8:29

What separates Sir Alex Ferguson and Jose Mourinho from Louis van Gaal and Brendan Rodgers? The Mailbox also features some investigative work from a Chelsea fan and more on City criticism.


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Klopp Shop
So if Klopp doesn’t need to sate his desire by managing a top (top) club next, does that mean he’ll be replacing Van Gaal?
Andy West CTID


Dear Deirdre
As an England fan, I spent Saturday afternoon not watching England (looking after granddaughter (I’m only 42), watching Shrek, ferrying kids about, etc). Now watching Wales and hoping they do ok. Am I strange?
Mark (Weymouth)


City Criticism
This is in response to the very learned gentleman named Guy S who was asking why city are not getting criticised for their spending.

City have been roundly criticised for their spending recently, not necessarily for the overall total, but definitely for the price of the players. The hilarious Paul Merson has recently had a few rambles about the baffling cost of De Bruyne, and many journalists/ex-player pundits (with zero affinity to their old clubs, of course) had fun filling column inches about whether De Bruyne and Sterling were worth the money… Oh yes, and people like David James said “just spending loads of money and acquiring players. It isn’t necessarily the model of continued success.”.

Let’s not forget the constant whining from opposing managers, pundits and fans about how unfair city’s spending is, whilst completely ignoring that City are now a very well run club, who are now earning more than all but 1 of their PL rivals. Not a “sugar daddy loan” or “dodgy family sponsorship” in sight (have a look at the public accounts before responding please, guys)

City’s spending has been carefully planned out, they knew who they wanted and they got them, apart from Pogba. They have a system, sorry, a “philosophy” – for United and Liverpool fans – that they want to play and they’ve built for that and strengthened in every department. So there’s little criticism that can be legitimately fired in their direction, without you just sounding like a disgruntled fan.

May I remind Guy that United are criticised about their spending just like every other club who spend hundreds of millions are. If United are criticised more in his eyes then he needs to look in to why. I can save him the time now though; United are just really bad at spending money wisely at the moment. Their constant desire to bring in a galactico to prove that they are still a draw for big names, and get every new signing to tell us at their press conference that they’ve joined “the biggest club in the world” is embarrassing.
Rick, Manchester


I’m not sure Guy S reads the football media all that widely. City don’t get criticism for their spending?! City have been beaten mercilessly with that particular stick for the last seven years, ever since Sheikh Mansour decided to allow me to spend my money watching David Silva every week rather than Ousmane Dabo.

I take as an example Paul Merson’s recent nonsensical ‘grading’ of City’s transfer window performance: ‘They have bought well, but I am going to give them a B- for the money they have had to pay.’ Or Rio Ferdinand’s description of Raheem Sterling’s fee as a ‘joke’ back in June. Or this absolute pearler from the Daily Mirror which a simple internet search found from July 2010, shortly after Yaya Toure’s arrival:

‘Barca reserve Yaya Toure was seduced by the whore of world football’

The whore of world football?! No you’re right Guy, City don’t get criticised for overspending.

A few other minor points:

1. Kevin De Bruyne could be described as ‘a previous league failure’ or he could be described as the Bundesliga’s current footballer of the year, depending on your point of view. Why don’t we just wait and see what he plays like?

2. City have one of the best strikers in the world, surrounded by a handful of extremely talented forward players. Goals from nine different players in the four games so far suggests reliance on Agüero’s magnificence might not be a big problem this season.

3. Bringing in an expensive striker would have stunted the development of the very impressive looking Iheanacho, which City would have been rightly bashed for in the media (see the reaction to the Otamendi signing re the future of Jason Denayer at the Etihad).

4. I make no particular judgement on Anthony Martial – he may turn out to be a bargain. However, if we’re criticising City for spending, let’s remember that City’s most expensive striker ever cost just £2m more than United’s newest recruit. Yes, that was what City paid for Agüero. If anything, £38m for him was cheap.
Matt, Manchester


Dear F365,

To answer Guy S on why City don’t get any criticism, I think it’s generally because we’re pretty inoffensive. Ok we’ve got lots of money from Sheikh Mansour rather than pimping our brand round the world (although it’s definitely started) but mostly we don’t have that many idiots associated with us. We don’t have any particularly dirty or stroppy players, apart from maybe Samir Nasri, but he’s not seen as often these days. The only time I’ve ever seen fellow city fans be arrogant is when it’s done in a way to wind up our united supporting mates rather than actually believing we’re the Pride of all EuropeTM. It’ll take a very long time yet until the club loses its soul and my generation of fans who remember the worst of times are completely replaced by any bandwagon jumpers. Hopefully that sense of feeling we’re only a Jamie Pollock own goal away from calamity will be passed on.

I think the main contributing factor and outward face of the club is the manager. Manuel Pellegrini must be a candidate for the nicest man ever to be a manager, but he’s also the most boring interviewee ever. He very rarely says anything interesting and even less often anything offensive. The other top clubs all have managers who are easy to laugh at or pour scorn on in various ways. This radiates out in the press and causes us all to have the general impression that we do about the other clubs.

I’m happy to be proved wrong, what are other mailboxers’ impressions of city generally as a club?
Andy, Cheshire


What Separates Great Managers From Good?
What is it that distinguishes the great managers from the good? The Fergies, Shankleys and Mourinhos (yes even though we hate to admit it he is) from the Van Gaals, Rodgers and Benitezs?

Is it knowledge, tactical awareness, market savvy, force of personality, man management skills or perhaps just being slightly better at all these things that your competitors?

Not quite.

In my opinion what separates the great from the nearly is pride. What the great managers all have is a commitment to doing whatever it takes to win. The nearly men all have blind spots and allegiances to differing “philosophies” in which they place more store than winning.

Mourinho pointed this out earlier this year: football involves scoring more goals than the opposition and conceding less. Complicated? No. But let’s see how a few of the hopefuls make it so.

My own man. the Brodge’s pride has seen us spend 200mil euro in two summers and still have Martin Skrtel, Dejan Lovren and an ageing slowing Lucas Leiva as our defensive unit. This is madness. Surely anyone can see the folly of trying to build a team on this flimsy foundation but not Brendan. That’s his blind spot, his pride or in modern terms his philosophy.

Wenger picked up some league titles on the foundation of George Graham’s great Arsenal defense. Since they have left and retired: nada, zilch. Arsenes pride/philosophy/blind spot is apparent for all to see but not him. Arsenal will never win the league with him in charge whilst pragmatists like Mourinho manage his rivals.

Benitez believed wingers were obsolete from the modern game while he managed Liverpool. So despite having a team with the best spine in Europe at the time we lost the league to a ronaldo inspired United while we watched Ryan Babel labour through a series of costly home draws.

I could go on (Van Gaal’s blind spots are only becoming apparent, Rooney, Herrera, man management and self defeating arrogance spring to mind) but for any true football fans the agony of watching their once promising manager stumble at the same hurdle again and again and again reinforces the point I believe.

The nearly men of management are blinded by the pride, the true greats see the way to victory clearly.
Dave Lfc


Bring Back Tim Sherwood
Aston Villa have only named a 24 man squad (over 21s), so left one space free. Would Sherwood be able to stick his name down too, or would that be breaking some employment contract or league rule (Manager acting as Player/Manager). If they can just add names to fill it out, then why not Giggs at Man U, Duncan Ferguson at Everton, Vieira at City too,

I understand that the plan for most teams would be to use Under21s and youth prospects if you are unable to do so with your 25 man squad, but what’s the harm in naming all the spaces you can. I realize that you might hurt team spirit a bit or demotivate youngsters, but probably only if you actually use the oldies ahead of them. I bet Giggs/Ferguson/Vieira would sell some shirts even if they didn’t get minutes.
James Smythe


Some Investigative Work
In response The literary Ed Quoththeraven, upon reading your mail I immediately thought “Chelsea could probably match that, we go through managers like a ginger goes through sunscreen on a holiday in Dubai” so thought I would check it out and see if I was right. By my (somewhat lazy and limited) investigative work I found we currently have signings made under no less than 7 different managers in our first team squad according to wiki. The breakdown is as follows;

Jose (2nd time around) – 12 players

Rafa – none (he only had 1 transfer window to be fair)

Di Matteo – 3

AVB – 2

Ancelotti – 2 (Traore is a bit of a stretch as he hasn’t actually played, but Ramires definitely counts)

Guus – none (no transfer windows)

Scolari – none

Avram Grant – 1 (Ivanovic)

Jose (1st time around) – 1 (Mikel)

Ranieri – 1 (Loftus-Cheek)

Vialli – none

Gullit – 1 (Terry)

Granted there are a couple of youth players in there who the manager at the time obviously had no input whatsoever in signing, so I’ve not really stuck to the essence of the task. My point is, even taking into account my slightly dodgy method, the fact that we have signings by 7 different managers (8 if you count Jose twice) and those manager are spread over the last 12 managers of the club (14 if you count Rix and Wilkins) just shows no matter how crazy the player merry-go-round gets in professional football, the managerial one will always be even more mental.
Jaybob (overdone it a bit on the brackets), London


A Question
Why the f*ck did we not buy Charlie Austin?
Danny, Austin (TX) Spurs


One Size Fitz Hall
Is anybody considering following up ‘One Size’ Fitz Hall with ‘On the’ Wayne Rooney?
Girish (Surely someone should have thought of this?), AFC, Chennai

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