Wednesday, 15 October 2008

Only three more days....

until the end of the Ice Age that is the international break. Many of you excited by England against Belarus tonight? Nope, thought not. I think Scott at Republik of Mancunia summed my views up pretty well (with the qualification that I still get behind England in major tournaments, just not in these interminable qualifiers and friendlies).

It would be nice for Rio, Wes and Rooney to build on their good performances on Saturday. On the other hand, we don't want Rooney - who is becoming a notoriously streaky player, prone to scoring in 5 consecutive games and then hardly at all for a couple of months - to use up all of his hot streak for England.

The one thought I will leave you with today concerns Rio's comments yesterday that England pre-Capello was a circus.

We all know how Sven was prone to blurring the boundaries between business and pleasure, so the WAG culture seemed a logical adjunct to (a) his own character and (b) his deference to the human being now known only as Brand Beckham. But you would have expected Steve McClaren, a former pupil of Fergie, to have cracked down on all that sort of thing on taking over.

Not a bit of it, apparently - the circus was still in force, with people "more concerned about what they were wearing" than the game (shame nobody told Steve that umbrellas were out). And this is why it is very dangerous for assistant managers to be promoted to the big job.

There are so many examples of this failing and none (that I can call to mind) of it working. I was particularly vehement on this point when people were talking last season about Carlos Queiroz taking over when Fergie retires. Assistant managers as the players' mates - they are a filter to the manager, they can put an arm around the shoulder when necessary, they can be a confidante, a middle man. Changing that relationship to the more distant, authoritative position that a good manager needs is difficult bordering on the impossible.

That was one of my main arguments against CQ being next in line, and one of the many arguments against Steve McClaren for England.

If you want to read a very good piece on the dynamic between manager, assistant and players should work, read this interview with Mark Hughes and his assistant.

See you tomorrow for the last part of the Progress Report series.


I know there are a lot of you out there reading this blog - my nice little site stats box tells me that. Please do come and contribute in the comments - even a three-worder makes me feel like it has been worth the effort.

Also, don't be afraid to contradict me or even go off on a tangent - ultimately, why I and others make and read blogs like this is because we enjoy discussing United and football. So start discussing!

With that in mind, how have you coped with the international break? What did you make of Rio's comments? And do you agree with my views on assistant managers?


ancha said...

i would like to put forward a choice..for manager position after fergie...""Ole Gunnar Solskjaer""...
please post an article...with your views

Penguinissimo said...

Ancha - I'm always open to suggestions for articles, so thanks.

The game of "who should succeed Fergie" is one of my favourites, and if you want to read what my views were back in May, have a look here and here. Feel free to post any reaction to those articles in this thread.

It is interesting to see how Ole is getting on with the reserves this season, and great to see him involved in the club in an active way. I have a feeling that it will be too soon for him to take the top job when Fergie moves on, but I can definitely see him in the role of assistant in that timeframe.

Gapi said...

I like what Capello is doing with England. It's one of the toughest jobs in football and I feel there's no better man than him.

The only thing I'm afraid of is Rooney getting injured again...

Penguinissimo said...

I wouldn't wish the England job on my worst enemy - but you're right, Capello at least seems to be approaching it in the right way.

By which I mean he seems to care about the football rather than his ego, and doesn't really seem to care what the press think.

MoYa said...

Good work Penguin!
The next mananger is always very intiguing... I think I do recall an article you once post on RedRants a while back.
My personal favourite would be Marcelo Lippi... Or someone along those lines to perhaps fill the gap until say Keano or Ole are ready.

Hightower said...

Class Articles and views from you Penguin, long may they continue, im thinking you should go on MUTV with Paddy C (if allowed!) Your views and feedback form a site like this could be used to make areal programme on MUTV or else get on some other media outlet as your site and views are second only to Fergie's!!!!

Penguinissimo said...

Moya - thanks.

Lippi is an interesting one - and in fact, I have never really gone into much detail either mentally or in print about European managers who could take over. Undoubtedly there are some, and Capello must be coming up fast in the running at the moment, but I have to say that I view experience of the Premier League as crucial.

Of course, Mourinho didn't need it...bastard.

Penguinissimo said...

Hightower - his praise indeed, for which many thanks. Hope to see you around here a lot over the course of the season.

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