“Any man who must say ‘I am the king’ is no true king …” – Tywin Lannister.
One of the truisms of football is that players sometimes get managers the sack.
It is a fact. It happens.
But it only ever happens in one of two cases; either the players stop playing for him or they fail to grasp his ideas and thus fall to pieces on the pitch.
In all other cases – all others – managers get themselves the sack.
And you know, there’s an argument for saying that in those two cases where there’s a claim against the players that the claim is also against the manager himself.
Because if players won’t play for you then your authority has been eroded to the point of anarchy in the dressing room. If they can’t grasp your ideas it’s because they are either vague and woolly or more complicated than they need to be; in either case, it’s a communication problem better managers don’t have. I’m not saying that players never get managers fired, but it’s a rarer spectacle than many people think it is. Managers are their own worst enemies.
I have to admit, I’ve listened to Lennon these past couple of days and I think he’s talking garbage. His excuses are becoming more and more desperate. He is failing around for straws to clutch to, and they all boil down to the same thing; blame the players.
His litany of allegations against them makes no sense. Are they arrogant – as he suggested the other night – or mentally weak, as he suggested a few weeks ago? Are they full of themselves or lacking in confidence? They can’t be both. When he points the finger at a “culture in the dressing room” he’s talking about more than just a couple of footballers who aren’t on form or who might have their minds on a move; he’s talking about everyone in it.
The comments in the paper today suggest that he believes he has been too soft on them and now intends to start cracking the whip.
A manager who has to resort to that has nothing left and we’re on the brink of anarchy. That old school “bollock them until the walls bleed” might have worked before footballers were multi-millionaires but it is tired and dated and discredited now.
If Lennon thinks the answer to this is treating grown men who’ve won everything like naughty children, then he’s sinking without a trace.
There’s a reason the top bosses are also brilliant man-managers and intellectuals.
Rodgers had studied not only football but neurolinguistics.
Coaching badges are routinely supplemented these days with courses on psychology.
Say Lennon is right and the players view him as too hands off; whose fault is that?
If things around Celtic have become too lax and too laid back that’s not anything this website and others didn’t recognise months ago when we wrote about players getting days off for winning matches, and how tolerant he was of certain footballers.
He slammed the attitudes of players “who don’t want to be here” in the aftermath of the Ferencvaros disaster and then continued to select them. He was backtracking on those words – which most of us recognised were damaging – by the following press conference … this website said at the time that he had been weakened by the affair.
I opened this article with a quote from George RR Martin’s Game Of Thrones.
Those who’ve studied power dynamics know that it doesn’t come from throwing your weight around; good leaders don’t need to remind people who’s in charge.
If they’re good at what they do people know that already.
If the players need to have his authority hammered across to them then he’s got no authority, and the dressing room’s already lost.