I was minded to think of this famous quotation (actual author unknown fact fans) at the recording of #TAW32 and the discussion of the ‘Rooney rule’ with Ollie Holt.
As we know, this ruling put in place a structure in the NFL were for any managerial job vacancy, at least one minority candidate must be interviewed. We also know that as a consequence of this ruling, doors opened when previously they were shut – and with amazing success.
Although the obvious benefits of this ruling were aimed at African American coaches who were being shunned when it came to the big ticket jobs, the reflective benefit was that those who weren’t part of the same old managerial merry go round were given the chance to perform on the big stage. This interests me.
Just how big is the gene pool of very average British managers with no track record of success that compete for the next vacancy in the game? Not very big judging by the bookies and the names linked.
I’m looking at you Big Sam with your space age methods and your 5-a-side muzzy, I’m looking at you Curbs with your indepth knowledge of Scotty Parker (so in demand right now), Steve Bruce and his enormous fois gras head, leaping Martin O’Neil and his Sports Direct trackies, How long before no nonense Mick McCarthy is back in a job? Colin Wanker? The trophy magnet Moyes? The same names (for usually the same jobs) time after time.
And guess what, nothing changes. Never a turn around in fortunes. No challenge to the established order EVER happens. It’s time for a rethink.
Maybe The Russian was onto something by trying AVB. One season at Academia, one phenonemal season at Porto before his ill fated move to the Celery botherers. Wrong club/wrong time? Possibly.
Roman’s empire does seem from the outside to be breaking up. But anyway, lets consider Barca’s last two managers.
Guardiola went from one season coaching Barca’s B team to winning the league and Cl double in his first season. Rijkaard is just as unusual, having first 2 years as Dutch national coach, then one year as Sparta Rotterdam coach (where he got them relegated) he went straight to Barca as manager, winning a few leagues and a CL in the next 3 years.
Closer to home Paul Lambert at Norwich and Brendan Rogers at Swansea have drawn the plaudits, but look around Europe and see who is really making waves.
It is blindingly obvious that the leagues of Spain, France, Italy and Germany have no problem trying a rookie coach and enjoying great success. They are certainly mixing it up in their own leagues (I’ll give you the Barca/Madrid duopoly) far more than our carousel of crap are.
In England this never happens as the tried and tested method is the high achieving ex player who fancies a go at this management lark takes on a small club to earn his stripes. The almost universal outcome being that he gets spat out by the system a few years later having failed on the muddy battlefields of of the lower leagues. As far as Englands big 5/6 clubs and the aspiring 7/8 below them (and the 20 floating clubs below them) are concerned, the idea of trying something new is never gonna happen.
Why shouldn’t Gerrard or Carragher or Babbel (that’s two b’s reader) be considered for the Liverpool job in the near future?
Isn’t this exactly what we did so successfully with King Kenny back in 85? What LFC did back then was unheard of and it’s exactly what Barca have done all these years later.
I keep reading that Moyes is nailed on for the Manu job, but why not Blanc? Come to think of it, Giggs could continue the job Tommy Docherty left, Everton and Phil Neville are made for each other. Anyone but bloody Alardyce, Bruce, Hughes, McLeish etc etc
So, I’m all for the Rooney Rule. Yes of course, I want it to address the imbalance of minorities represented in management levels first and foremost.
But at least with a structure in place which meant other candidates had to be interviewed for managerial vacancies, who knows, perhaps we may see the end of the old boys network and get some much needed new blood and new ideas and new successes into the English game.
It’s not like it’s worked so far is it Messrs Lerner, Moxey, Whelan…
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Ciro Ferrara was a disaster managing Juve though.
The current, highly successful, Juve coach is Antonio Conte.
Steve Clarke should take over from Kenny
Laurent Blanc is managing France, who aren’t in the Champions League. Nor were Stuttgart, currently managed by Bruno Labbadia; Babbel’s at Hoffenheim. Leonardo’s at PSG this season; Allegri’s in charge of Milan. And as noted above, Antonio Conte is managing Juventus.
That paragraph aside, though, nice piece.
Thanks Andrew. Always double check the source material !
It would work if British football was crammed with bright young coaches looking to try new stuff. Sadly, to a man, most of the dimwits plying their trade in the game are Mini-Me Fat Sams and Curbishly Clones.
It’s all ‘I wanna see 125% effort, run yer guts out, burst yer heart for this team son’ sort of claptrap.
Shouldn’t any appointment be based on being the best man or woman for the job? If the Rooney Rule makes this happen, then I am all for it, but I’ve always been uncomfortable with positive discrimination.
British football is not that different from many companies in Britain, the same old faces doing the same old jobs, with no progress, innovation or change. I wonder why our economy is so fragile at the moment?
Our own club has always been different when it comes to appointing managers. Paisley, Fagan, Dalglish, all without direct managerial experience. Even Kenny’s return after being out of management for many years was a clear break from recruiting from the same old pack.
Yes, being inclusive and equality is important, and my experience of British industry is that it has a long way to go to achieve this. As far as football is concerned my only interest is LFC and our club always appointing the right person for the job, regardless of colour, background or the media agenda.
More often than not we have done that, regularly bucking the trend followed by other clubs, vive la différence!!
The selection criteria can’t be that uniform – Arry Redknapp managed to get his management jobs and pass all his UEFA exams? despite being a self confessed illiterate!!!
Really enjoyed the article Mike. The Rooney rule addressed a real anomalous situation in the states where, for many years the number of minority coaches has not matched to any degree the number of players from minorities who have been present at senior level in the NFL for years. I don’t see the same problem present in our game where 20 years ago minorities were hardly represented in the four divisions of the Football League.
No one with any perception would deny that there is pernicious racism still in our society but positive discrimination such as the Rooney Rule will not help. We should strive for true meritocracy in all walks of life imo.