Mon | Sep 24, 2018

Hubert Lawrence | Patience needed

Published:Thursday | November 16, 2017 | 12:12 AM

To be honest with you, I was shocked by the sacking of Frank De Boer just four matches into the English Premier League (EPL)season at Crystal Palace. Brought in to bring a new style of football to Palace, the Dutchman was ditched unceremoniously. There have been several victims since then with the last being Slavan Bilic across London at West Ham United. Both firings are the sign of a game gone mad.

The haste is here, too. As is the case abroad, coaches are dismissed if their teams start slowly. Yesterday's Jamaica STAR publication pinpoints Lenny Hyde, the coach of Humble Lion, as the next to go.


Season still early


As I grumble that this is just November in an EPL season that will end in May, football shouts back that this is a business and tenure is based on performance. Yet, we all need time to settle into new jobs. Culture change and behavioural adjustments take time. That's common knowledge, but in football, it isn't common practice.

I can't help but laugh at the case of 2015-2016 English champion Leicester City. The club's owners fired Claudio Ranieri almost before his plane landed as he returned from a Champions League game. The team had so much quality including England striker Jamie Vardy that there was every chance it would emerge safely from a relegation battle. It did but under the leadership of Raneri's former assistant, Craig Shakespeare.

Now Shakespeare has lost his job. The newcomer often gets 'new manager bounce' but equally often doesn't have time to introduce lasting reform designed to keep the club performing well. When the novelty wears off, the struggle is renewed.

Incredibly, there was talk of Antonio Conte being shown the door at Chelsea Football Club after those Blues struggled in the early days of their defence of the 2016-2017 English title. That would be preposterous if Chelsea hadn't fired Carlos Ancelotti, Roberto di Matteo and Jose Mourinho in seasons immediately following great triumphs in recent times.

The result bowls me over. Hyde has just taken over from Donovan Duckie, who now occupies Admiral Bailey's hot seat at Waterhouse FC. Bilic had West Ham flying high just last season. Roy Hodgson, who took both Switzerland and England to the World Cup, is now at Palace.

In both jurisdictions, money is the root of these decisions. To be relegated or to finish outside the European Champions League places has major financial implications. More often than not, this imperative overrides the value of stability as a contributor to continuing long term success. Balance is needed.

It happens at the international level, too. In one recent example, Jurgen Klinsmann was relieved of his post as USA coach just two matches into the 2018 World Cup qualifying campaign even though the German had taken them to the 2014 World Cup. The USA will miss the 2018 renewal.

Alex Ferguson stands as an example of patience leading to success. Manchester United waited three years for a trophy under Ferguson's watch, and from all accounts, was about to show him the door when he delivered the FA Cup in 1990. He never looked back.

- Hubert Lawrence has been making notes at track side since 1980.