The diversity of football clubs across countries and continents varies remarkably. As enthusiasts, we all tend to have our opinion on what a manager is doing wrong and where he can improve the fortunes of the squad. What we usually don’t take into consideration is the style that the manager wants to deploy to achieve success - his ethos if you will. However, as football continuously evolves as a sport and a business, clubs targeting superiority should look to their enthusiasts to dictate the direction of the club.
First, let’s take Manchester Unites as an example. When Sir Alex Ferguson left the football club the board with the influence of Sir Alex himself, took the decision to hire David Moyes, an unproven manager at the highest level and one with a ‘style’ contradictory to how the enthusiasts wanted the team to play. Moyes was rigid in his approach without the creativity to extract the best out of his squad of world-class talent. Next was Louis Van Gaal, a manager with the correct footballing philosophy but without the personality to follow Sir Alex. Finally, Jose Mourinho, an absolute train-wreck of a hire and one who didn’t fit the persona nor deploy the style that the supporters demanded. Enter Ole Gunnar Solkjaer, a manager who understands the style of the club and has the personality and experience to understand the philosophy demanded by the enthusiasts. Hence a happy and successful environment has now encapsulated the club and most importantly, they’re winning.
They’re have been numerous examples of clubs hiring a big-name manager based on previous success rather than an educated selection based on the culture of the football clubs and what the supporters expect.
Take for example Steve McClaren’s super successful reign at FC Twente in Holland. McClaren was trained in management philosophy under Ferguson at Manchester United. He failed miserably with England but that catastrophe was a combination of McLaren’s inexperience at the international level and England’s lack of football identity. Contrary to his England gig, McLaren was the first manager to win a title abroad wtih FC Twente in the Eredivisie since Sir Bobby Robson’s Portuguese triumph with FC Porto in 1996. When McLaren joined Twente he totally immersed himself in the culture which was indicative by his insistence to not bring any English coaches with him but rather rely on the local Dutch coaches already on the books. He also didn’t buy many players instead placing faith in young, promising, Dutch prospects. He also deployed an attack-minded 4-3-3 formation that is well regarded within the Dutch football community. McLaren led Twente to the Holland’s top domestic title finishing above a rampant Ajax team that included the indomitable Luis Suarez who scored an astonishing 50 goals. He did it through putting his own twist on what the local fanatics demanded while not straying from home-grown Dutch philosophies.
Despite the influx of cash coming into the game of football, supporters still rule. We are of the most vociferous and critical fans in the world of sports due to the passion we hold for our football club and country. Therefore, ownership and management must abide to some of the general principles that have been instilled within the club throughout history – for only then will success ensue.