The Eddie Howe story gathers pace again, and as it does, in certain places an old debate is being had; does Howe need to retain some “continuity” with people currently at the club, all the better so that he can understand the complexities of the Scottish game?
This is not a new idea.
This is what I call a Peter Lawwell Apologia, and it was used to justify giving Ronny Deila a Scottish assistant manager he didn’t pick, and it was used to justify Neil Lennon being hired as a temporary, and then permanent, solution when he was given the gig both times and now it is being used in an effort to spin the idea that Kennedy should get a major role at the club.
Every time it has been deployed it has been nonsense.
This is the old mythology that football is different around the world.
That there are places where a certain understanding is needed.
I don’t think it’s an idea unique to Peter Lawwell fans, but they’ve mastered the art of promoting it.
It’s as if Scottish football is an alien landscape, as if trips to Kilmarnock and Ross Dingwall require some special brand of wisdom which you can only get through experience.
Having that experience is better, it seems, than understanding tactics and modern football concepts. Clearly this knowledge can be acquired over time, but until it is you need your hand held.
I just think it’s daft. The idea that Eddie Howe needs local knowledge to be able to do the job, I mean it just sounds nuts and completely disconnected from reality.
What knowledge did Howe have the first time he stepped into the dugout? Every time he stepped up to a new league? Why do managers from around the world bring their own people with them if they need “local knowledge” and why are so many better off without it?
A trip to Perth is no more mystical than a trip to Bury or Chesterfield or any of the other myriad places Howe has been in his managerial career so far.
If he doesn’t know how to get there he can use a Satnav.
If he doesn’t know what to expect there are plenty of games in the archives which will reveal how those teams play and defend and prepare for matches against us.
Lennon and Kennedy didn’t watch those videos; they had the “local knowledge” which is why we’re still losing goals from set-pieces although that’s a weakness that’s been exposed time and time again.
It’s why we struggle with one up front against packed defences but persist playing that way.
It’s such obvious claptrap this.
Martin O’Neill came up here from England and picked his own people and none of them had the special secret Scottish knowledge. But they were strangely good at using the knowledge they had to win football matches here.
Brendan Rodgers, likewise, came here without having such a keen insight on the terrors of visiting Motherwell. He cleaned up and never lost a domestic trophy. Somehow without the cheat codes for Tynecastle.
Continuity isn’t always a good thing, and actually I can’t think of a worse thing right now.
We need the rebuild to be total, and that means clearing away all the detritus of failure.
The ideas and people who dragged us down for the last couple of years have to be bulldozed away. I mean everyone accepts that the structures and processes we were using weren’t getting the job done, so to me any form of continuity with that is madness.
The irony here, of course, is that people are going to say – and they will be right to say – that we are actually coming out of the greatest spell of success this club has enjoyed since the 60’s and 70’s and that’s true, without a doubt.
But this club raised itself up to that level because for once we went for excellence across the boards and then let those standards fall.
What this club needs is a return to those standards, and that won’t happen whilst we’re hanging onto the fag end of the decision to put that “local knowledge” before everything else.
Some lessons, we should only need to learn once.