Monday, March 5, 2012

When Owners Barreling At The Front of The Door

It's the Scolari case over and over again 5 years ago. I was counting on the case where Villa-Boas would be fired at the end of the season as what happen to Carlo Ancelotti but it happened prematurely, with barely 2.5 months towards the end of the season. This assumes that the club has been knocked out of European football but still having to play the remaining Premier League games and continuing their FA Cup challenge.

The problem is that Roman Abramovich is a living example of people in the football industry that is barreling at the front door. No patience. Many failed to see the need to understand long term of having a great depth of squad before mounting a challenge of trophies. Instead, the approach was the opposite - buying great players at the start hoping to go past the post instantly. There have been a few clubs that really actually understood the value of long-term projects, like Man Utd and Everton. These are clubs that show the close and strong relationship with manager and the chairman; there's an acknowledgement of making a good team will take years on. It took Alex Ferguson 6 years to win his first Premier League trophy, 12 years to win his first European Cup. (they came agonizingly close to final in 1997 when they lost to Dortmund in both legs in semis)

By this barreling at the front door attitude, Abramovich had to spend millions to compensate Villa-Boas (28 months remaining of the 3 year contract). And it is 8 managers in 9 years, average of one per season. It's similar the rich mega-spending club in Russia, or a few clubs where the owner attempts to interfere with the manager's work on team selection, thus the manager will be complaining about how he's unable to have autonomy on work. Abramovich is not the only person or parties that adopt this attitude. Fiorentino Perez's first spell at Real Madrid was also case in point. His mistake was not to keep Vicente Del Bosque while at the club even if Del Bosque won 2 European Cups in the space of 3 years (2000 and 2002) and then going through lots of coaches. Fabio Capello's second stint at the club lasted only a full season, having left even if the team won the league trophy. Sates the club and fans satisfaction of winning trophy, yet being unappreciated and get thrown out? It really scratches my head really.

It's more frequent to see this problem and attitude of the owners / fans in Middle East football. Take Saudi Arabia for instance, where a coach's job hangs on the balance in no more than a dozen games unless the team either qualifies for the country-level continent competition. If one condition is not met, expect the man to be shown to the door. For the owners, their nigh-infinite amount of money from oil can be splashed in bringing in coaches here and there as they please. But it will be the squad that will suffer for each coach has a different way of traning and strategy and thus the struggle to adapt to the system desired. Until today most Arab-club owners and FAs still barrel in front of the door, impatient, expecting a magic pill to happen.

Still it's not as severe as in Brazil's famous Dance of the Coaches syndrome - coaches go in and out after a few games within a season. Much of it is because of intense fan pressure and owners' impatience - even a slight setback in form a league game defeat means of people taking offense and unable to accept it. In fact, it can - if overuse - drive players and coaches mad as hell. Can you imagine, like in 2002, at the end of the first month of the Brasilla state championship that 12 coaches were replaced? In Brazil, coaches are made scapegoats and if a team is elbowed, the coach gets it first.

Abramovich never has the passion of the game. His is strictly on the business and expecting the magic pill with no patience and no finesse. The passion component is missing and will never happen with his impatience and barreling at the front of the door. Only crazy money can really tempt a potential coach into joining Chelsea. A coach potential coach offered to join Chelsea should first hand know the history of the club of the last 10 years before taking the risk. Otherwise, it's best to snub any offer Abramovich would offer and let him keep searching and searching around. Then we can see who's laughing the last.

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