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June 29, 2016


Michael Lloyd

Leadership is not synonymous with management.

The Thought Gang

As I watched a succession of pundits decry the lack of passion of the England players.. after a game during which they had been tactically outclassed by a side who limited England's threat potential to set pieces (which English players are notoriously bad at) it was very clear that the problem is structural. The entire industry has been missing the point for decades. Nearly everyone involved in English professional football still thinks that Steven Gerard was a good player.

I get the same feeling from watching political commentary, but I don't know who British politics' equivalent of Gerard is.

Luis Enrique

I don't really follow Rugby Union but I think there might be a recent example of a messiah manager.

Of course you are right about the match, and that is important, but really that just refines rather than denies the idea that the right leader could be a messiah.

I couldn't agree more with your last para.

Hilary Richards

Agree, wholeheartedly. Most successful enterprises are actually about teamwork. And there is such a thing as followership as well as leadership. I judged the success of my career by the number of times I got my boss promoted. Messiah complex is dangerous for organisations.


I think there is a justification (or at least s reason) for high pay as an England manager. Anyone taking it knows it is their last football job, because they will fail. So if you have any sort of reputation, you want a good pay-off.


@ Michael - agree entirely: management is about the hard yards of administration & implementation. "Leadership" is apt to neglect these.
@ The Thought Gang - Absolutely. If I had my way, I would shoot anyone who complains about players or managers lacking "passion".

gastro george

Where to start with English football, and it's been like this for years ... Just a few of the many things that come to mind.

1. English players are ludicrously over-hyped. For some reason they attract premium prices, and premium wages. So they end up with an over-inflated view of themselves.

2. Few play abroad. It means their entire career is mainly played in English high pace bagatelle football. When they do come across a more foreign game, it's the foreigners that are bought that unlock the opposition.

3. English players are largely one trick monkeys. They lack the intelligence to adapt their game to circumstances.

4. Chances come thick and fast in the Premiership. It makes strikers lazy.

... etc., etc.

I rather enjoy international tournaments. Taking players out of their club comfort zones means that the abilities of the manager and players to create a team are tested to the maximum. Iceland remind me of the Greece team that won the tournament. Belgium are another team of good players but no team.


How much does size matter?

Both England and the Labour Party are relatively small organisations. Does that mean their leader can be a messiah in a way that a CEO of a large organisation employing thousands can't.

Yes, Labour has a lot of members, but they're more like customers than staff. And revenue is only a few million.

So maybe you should look at small business leaders for comparison rather than ex-Ford managers? Is running Labour or English football more like running a medium-sized corner shop than a blue-chip enterprise?


Politics' Steven Gerrard? How about David Milliband?

Igor Belanov

Gastro George:

I disagree with regard to the players. England's style of football is little different to other footballing nations, and the players are faced with, and play with loads of foreign players in their domestic league. Player for player they compare well with other countries, in theory at least. Regular starters for Italy such as Giaccherini and Pelle would not have got in England's squad, and possibly one of the Iceland team (Gylfi Sigurdsson).

One of the problems is management in this case (unlike in politics). Other countries play to a set strategy and style, playing to their strengths and picking players in form. Hodgson chopped and changed constantly, it was difficult to see what kind of tactics he was adopting, and he left out in form players such as Drinkwater in favour of Wilshere, who hadn't played all season! He also has been afraid to make difficult decisions, like axing Rooney and Hart, whose best days are behind them, or giving Rashford more of a chance, who could have replicated Owen's impact at France in 1998.

Paul Nightingale

Thatcher and Blair: the Gerrards of politics.

gastro george


I'd agree partially about management. Hodgson never seemed to be sure of the system to play, and fell into the final system when Dier came through during the season. Even then he seemed unsure about how exactly to implement it.

But I stand by my comments about players. The point is that they *only* play in English football, and even the Premiership is a bagatelle game compared with other major leagues. Foreign players are brought up in a different environment, and the best are still able to adapt and operate in our frenetic leagues (though many don't).

For example compare to Bale and his influence on the Welsh team. He has matured well in Spain, is intelligent, not egotistical, and uses that to enhance a team performance (and Coleman is a better manager ...).

Players like Hoddle, Waddle and Keegan improved the England team immeasurably because they played abroad.


People should remember what Germany have done since the debacle at Euro 2004. Klinsmann didn't just take over the team, he insisted of restructuring the whole DFB international team setup (including the juniors). The German system has thrived with continuity and close co-operation with the clubs (the responsibility of Bierhof), in spite of very low birth rates reducing the flow the youngsters.


Van Gaal was shite.


'For Labour, I’d contend, it is a need to unite the PLP and grassroots'.

Step 1 - deselect 172 MPs.

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