Same goal, different perspectives 29/10/2011Posted by NB in Cardiff City, season 2011/12.
Tags: Dato Chan Tien Ghee, Leicester City, Malky Mackay, Raksriaksorn, Sven Göran Eriksson
Both Leicester City and Cardiff City have the ambition to win promotion to the Premier League as soon as possible. It’s in the understanding of “as soon as possible” that there seems to be a huge difference between the owners of the two clubs after Leicester have sacked Sven-Göran “Svennis” Eriksson just 13 games into the season and only one year after his appointment.
I know the Swede’s departure shouldn’t come as a big surprise, but I didn’t see it coming. Not as early as this in the season. It’s riddiculous really. You would think he would be given more time. Especially as Eriksson was the owners “own man”, chosen by them to lead the club only one year ago after Paulo Sousa had been fired. As well as embarrassing Eriksson, the sacking also indicates that the owners made a bad decision by appointing him, which puts them under further pressure to get the right man in for the job this time around.
We of course don’t know the whole picture. There might have been disagreements behind the scenes that made it natural for Leicester and Eriksson to part ways (as I guess the case was with Steve McClaren at Nottingham Forest), and that there actually was “mutual consent” as the official statement said. Eriksson’s own statements after leaving the Foxes suggests otherwise though:
“I am disappointed to be leaving Leicester City Football Club. It was always my aim to lead the club into the Barclays Premier League and I am very sorry that I won’t be able to do that.”
“I have always thought, and still believe now, that the club will be promoted this season. The current squad is capable and ready to achieve promotion, but football is a results industry and unfortunately we couldn’t quite get things right enough of the time.”
“Being the manager of Leicester City was an absolute pleasure and I wish everyone connected with the club the best of luck. Leicester City is a great club and I am certain that with the current owners in charge the club will go from strength to strength. To the players, old, new, everyone in the squad, I would like to say thank you. You are a talented group and I am hopeful that you will achieve success very soon.”
“To the staff at the club, both at the stadium and the training ground – you treated me like a king and I shall miss working with you all. Last but not least, to the fans, I want to say a huge thank you for your support. You are fantastic people and I will never forget the way you welcomed me into your club. I am just sorry that I won’t be on the bench the day you reach the Premier League.”
While Cardiff’s Malaysian owners, under chairman “TG” (Dato Chan Tien Ghee), in the summer brought in Malky Mackay and let him start the process of rebuilding a Cardiff squad in ruins, the Leicester owners, the Thai family Raksriaksorn, appointed Sven Göran Eriksson on the 4th of October 2010 and expected the effect to be almost immidiate. The Foxes, who were bottom when Svennis came in, finished 10th last season, eight points off a Play Off place, and after spending a lot of money on new signings during the close season it seems the owners think that Leicester should be running away with it by now. If so they haven’t understood just how difficult it is to get out of the Championship.
I’m glad we have our sensible Malaysian owners combined with the great manager Malky Mackay in stead of the Thai-owners and the overrated Eriksson that Leicester supporters have had to put up with!
I guess whereas the Malasyians coming into Cardiff City had as their number one priority to make sure the club is run sensibly and is well of financially before pouring vast amounts into the transfer kitty, Leicester either don’t have the same debt issues as us or the owners are simply stinking rich and prepared to pay whatever it takes to both get rid of debt and give their manager carte blanch when it comes to bringing in players.
Mackay has used his connections and knowledge of what is required in the Championship to bring in experienced players like Kenny Miller, Robert Earnshaw, Don Cowie and Andrew Taylor, a couple of proven players that are still young in Aron Gunnarsson and Ben Turner, plus a few young talents like Joe Mason and Filip Kiss (loaned). The average age of the current squad is by the way just below 26 years old, which bodes well for the next few seasons.
The money available to Mackay in the summer were probably above average for the Championship, but still not a lot compared to a club like Leicester, and there’s little doubt that he spent them very wisely.
One might argue that had the money been available to Mackay he could well have spent them on players like Matthew Mills and Jermaine Beckford in the way Eriksson did in stead of bringing in the ones he has brought in. The question then would of course be if he would have succeeded in making all the newcomers function as a unit, as a team. In that respect you can understand that the Leicester owners think “Svennis” has failed, but I do find their time frame unrealistic. With so long to go this season and with the evenness in the Championship there’s no reason why Leicester wouldn’t have made promotion this season under Eriksson, which he himself was quick to point out after he was sacked.
Patience to let a manager build stone by stone is a rarity at football clubs these days. The more money the owners have, the more they want to just splash the cash, snap their fingers and have success at once. That football doesn’t work quite like that seems to be lost on most of the money men.
Even RobertoMancini and Manchester City with their seemingly bottomless supply of money and incredible number of transfers both in and out since the Italian’s appointment in December 2009 have shown that time is a factor.
Last season was needed for Mancini to start implementing his ideas and at the same time mould his squad. After last season ended he was able to bring more world class players in to add to the quality he already had at his disposal, and now Manchester City are reaping the rewards not only for the money they’ve spent but also for the work done by Mancicni to make sure that all those extremely good footballers play the way he wants them to and that they play together as a team.
I’m sure that had the owners stuck with Mancinins predecessor Mark Hughes, who was in the progress of building a team and who despite signs of improvement and success got the sack after 18 months in the job, he too would have made sure Manchester City eventually would have been successfull.
Patience really is an underestimated factor among clubs and supporters, but although we patiently waited for the Premier League under Dave Jones without making it, the club matured and developed greatly under his reign. Our owners also had the decency and wits to give Jones a fair chance to finish what he had started at the club before deciding to replace him.
I have no doubt that we’ll get to the Premier League under Malky Mackay.
Maybe not this season, but we’ll get there.
As soon as possible.