Football: Yesterday’s values, at tomorrow’s prices

When the story of Malky Mackay and Iain Moody’s texts broke the other night, the football world was shocked. It’s the only part of the world that was, however.

This wasn’t because we all knew that Mackay was an unpleasant chap, most would assume that he was a rather dull man, but because we all know football is so far behind the rest of the world. So far in fact that Crystal Palace are considering offering their managers job to promising up and comer: the Lindow Peat bog man.

Football might be slightly more advanced than golf, but only fractionally. It’s still an old boys network, totally disconnected from society.

Foreign footballers are still treated with suspicion, racism is still a huge issue, and homosexuality is something that football really isn’t close to understanding or welcoming.

Above them all is sexism, which is the only one not buried away behind the curtain of this men’s club. It’s our front and centre, serving drinks.

Gabby Logan cannot host Match of the Day without an outpouring of sexist bile on twitter. Richard Scudamore’s emails were found to be sexist and he didn’t even lose any sleep, let alone his job. Chelsea’s club doctor is a talking point, not because of her credentials, but because she’s an attractive female.

I’ve not even touched upon the two chaps smoking cigars and sitting on leather Chesterfield’s Mr Keys and Mr Gray.

The reality is though that football is decades behind the times, and it will never catch up because it doesn’t want to change. It’s happy as it is, and makes loads of money so it’s not bothered.

It’s got slightly better at hiding it’s deep flaws, but when asked to do something about it football responds with all the assertiveness of a timid man confronting some difficult teens who are sat on his car.

Football is basically your uncle who makes everyone uncomfortable with his casual racism and ruins the meal by calling his nephew a “poof” for drinking lager. Then spends the rest of the evening going “what? What did I say?”

The only way in which football is ahead of it’s time is the prices which will still be more than high enough when we reach the next Millennium.


Blindly hoping to find

When Mark Robins walked away from Huddersfield Town, messages immediately started appearing from fans saying who they wanted to come in and take over.

Football fans always start off as optimists, but reality brings pessimism. Once the boss you want, a Champions League winning manager, has been ruled out, you’re left with a list of candidates who leave you pulling your hair out. It stops being about the best candidate, and starts being about who is the best of a bad bunch?

So, who will Huddersfield choose? I have no insider knowledge so this isn’t going to be a huge scoop. If you look at history however, I’d rule out a big name.

Lee Clark was assistant at Norwich, Simon Grayson had been fired by Leeds, and Mark Robins was at Coventry.

Doesn’t tell you a lot, but all are also relatively young managers, and in the case of Grayson and Robins, had a reasonable record at similarly sized clubs.

None of them were particularly huge characters. Clark had his moments, and was a passionate guy, but had similar qualities and similar faults to both Grayson and Robins.

All three, in my view, were similar managers. Clark seemed the only one who wanted to really leave a stamp on the club, however.

I would not be surprised, considering our previous hiring policy, if we went down a similar route again. The manager will almost certainly be young, either a young up and comer or a manager who has done ok at a similar sized club.

So, with that in mind I think the club will end up taking a punt on a manager. They’ll look honestly, and interview thoroughly, but ultimately I suspect whoever is chosen will not be a name to get excited about.

It’ll be someone the club can control, and someone who buys into what the club want to achieve. A restricted budget and high expectations from an average squad is likely to put off big name managers.

We still hope, rather than expect, that this time we’ll get the right manager.

The desperate search for continuity

It was over for Mark Robins when we played Leicester last season. As the game ended the majority of fans shuffled out of the stadium rather than stay to witness a lap of honour.

What had started as an admirable project: to get the team to play football properly, had stalled drastically. Obvious failings weren’t being addressed, and the whole squad looked like they were happy to see the season out.

If there was a time for Robins to go, then that was probably it as things were petering out and the spark was lacking.

It seems that he decided to leave the club last night, as didn’t feel he could achieve his goals in the way set out by the board. I respect him for that decision but it was a realisation he should have come to in May, and leaving now could leave the club in a real mess.

Although it seems the decision was Robins’, I’m sure he was aware that he was a few bad results away from the sack so decided to jump first.

Regardless of reasons, Huddersfield Town are again on the desperate hunt for a manager who can deliver a lot on a limited budget. Unfortunately, judging on the recent past it won’t be too long until we’re searching for his replacement either.

The club seem to be giving managers just over a season, and don’t seem keen to back a manager when trouble inevitably comes along. For a team with a low budget compared to the majority of the division, there will be rough days and we’ll almost certainly lose more games than we win.

We’re underdogs in this league, and even when we’ve won games the margins were often fine. To get trigger happy in this division after a bad patch is a risky strategy for a board to employ.

Whoever comes in is going to have to achieve a lot without significant investment. He’s also going to have to contend with a hands on board, whose intentions are honest but frequently misguided.

The club have to recover from an average transfer window, and a now possibly wasted preseason. Once again it’s important that the club make the right appointment, and once again it seems unlikely that they will.

No unnecessary finger pointing, but it’s time for the club to redress it’s expectations, realise it’s limitations, and learn to fight through the tough moments without throwing our toys out of the pram.

The only way is up!