Not enough character in the game anymore?

Posted by on Oct 18, 2009 in Uncategorized | 3 Comments

What sort of character should run a team in the second tier of English football?

This was the question debated by myself and Lanterne Rouge after yesterday’s match at the Hawthorns.

Albion’s 3-1 win over Reading meant they ended the day top of the championship with the Royals fourth bottom.

In the summer, both clubs changed manager, and both went for ‘continental-style’ appointments — men who seemed more valued for their technical coaching credentials than their background in management.

Roberto Di Matteo’s appointment — as head coach — seems to be working out at Albion, even if performances haven’t always matched the results.

Yet Rodgers is yet to shine at the Mad Stad. It is early in his reign, but as we discussed yesterday, he seems to be missing those hard-to-define qualities which quintessentially English managers like Harry Redknapp bring to their teams: a midfield hatchetman who breaks up opposition attacks; a journeyman forward who nicks goals when they seem to have dried up; a bit of general needle to upset the more fluid teams.

This is not a championing of that kind of approach, more a question: can a manager whose grounding is almost entirely in coaching manuals take that theory into the cut-and-thrust of Championship football?

Frank Heaven


  1. Columbine Harvester
    October 19, 2009

    Chris Hughton's doing OK for the moment. I'd say that the phrase 'continental-style appointment' could be replaced by 'we couldn't find anyone better willing to take the job'. Surely a man with management experience is always preferable to a coach for that job…

  2. Lloyd
    October 19, 2009

    An interesting post that raises a number of questions.

    Most of us were advocating the new wave of young, thoughtful managers in the build up to the season and the nationals covered it in depth. Keane, Ferguson, Clough, Rodgers, Di Matteo, Southgate, Pearson, Sousa – the list goes on… But, realistically, there's only three promotion places, so 21 managers are effectively going to fail each season. At certain clubs, this is a real problem and the pressure builds as soon as it becomes apparent that you're probably not going to be one of those three.

    In the case of Keane and Rodgers particularly, it seems that they are struggling to fight the pressure. Or maybe they've just brought in the wrong players, or are still dwelling on a missed target who would have sewn it all together? It's all conjecture, but these are the types of challenges that any budding manager has to face and overcome sooner or later in their career. Three of the top six are managed by bosses who have all endured leaner times (Southgate, Holloway and Jones specifically) for example. Rather than giving a verdict now, we should wait until the end of the season, but we all know there's no chance of that at most clubs.

  3. Lanterne Rouge
    October 19, 2009

    Rodgers' start has been inauspicious to say the least. As you say, his ideas probably look good on paper, but coaching badges mean nothing alongside grit and detrmination. Shaun Cummings turned in possibly the worst full back performance I have ever seen on saturday and should have been hauled off to spare him further punishment from the excellent Jerome Thomas. Rodgers takes as much of the blame as anyone for that.

    I hate kneejerk sackings of managers and feel Rodgers should be given until January to ignite an improvement but someone like Alan Curbishley would steady things and James Harper's Sheffield United sojourn could do with being cut short. Good luck to Brendan for now but please start fielding a settled side.


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