Do coaches have to be “a good fit”?

November 29, 2007

Jose MourinhoIs there a clear distinction between the good managers and the not so good, or can a manager be the right man for one position but not necessarily for them all?

This thought is triggered by speculation that Jose Mourinho might be persuaded to take over the England job following Steve McClaren, and by Paul Sturrock’s return to Plymouth Argyle.

Mourinho obviously has the necessary coaching credentials to manage England having won league titles in Portugal (Porto) and England (Chelsea), and his ability to change a game with an inspired substitution would be manna from heaven for England fans.

But Mourinho appears to have a low boredom threshold, does not suffer fools or criticism gladly, and often talks his way into trouble. Would he be able to deal with the great and good of the Football Association, the long gaps between internationals and the lack of preparation time with his squad?

He reminds me of Brian Clough, the unguided missile of the 1970s. Great manager, possibly the best in post-war English league soccer, but ignored by England much to many people’s disgust. The FA mandarins knew Clough would be out of their control and, with hindsight, it is almost certain his appointment would have ended in tears.

Now to Sturrock who returned this week for his second spell in charge at the mighty Argyle. Sturrock is a maestro at inspiring English lower division clubs to promotion — he took Plymouth up and then left them near the top of the third tier from where they clinched another promotion.

He led Sheffield Wednesday up to the Championship (second division) and then guided Swindon Town to promotion.

But the Scot failed spectacularly on his one attempt at Premier League management at Southampton. He was in charge for just 13 games and appeared to alienate the players, supporters and the club’s chairman before being shown the door.

What does all this prove? Perhaps that a club or country needs to be sure their manager is a “good fit”, something Newcastle United and Sam Allardyce might have considered before linking up.

Also, if a club find the right man, like Arsenal with Arsene Wenger and Manchester United have proved for 21 years with Alex Ferguson, they should stick with him through thick and thin.

Robert Woodward, London.  A proud Argyle fan

PHOTO: Jose Mourinho while Chelsea boss REUTERS/Eddie Keogh


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Mourinho was a much mroe sympathetic character when he ws at a smaller club (in Champions League terms) at Porto. Now England have dropped down to underdogs at international level he might feel right at home.

Posted by Kev | Report as abusive

Where does Harry Redknapp fit into all this?

Posted by London | Report as abusive

I think if the FA don’t ‘go and get’ Mourinho now while he could be tempted, they’re stark raving mad. Even if he would make things uncomfortable for some at Soho Square, he’s the absolute standout candidate.

Of course instead the FA are going to take their time, ask the opinions of their newly enlisted experts and by the time they come to their ridiculous interview process, Mourinho could well be sitting in a Serie A (or Anfield) dugouot.

Posted by Padraic Halpin | Report as abusive

London – I think Harry’s chances of the England job have probably been ruled out after getting arrested! Besides, I’m not sure I’d want him as manager anyway.

I see your point Robert and I do think coaches have to be a ‘good fit’. For example, I cannot see Arsene Wenger managing England (not that he would take the job anyway). He would not be working the type of players that he likes to, thus the lack of Englishmen in the Arsenal side. Some managers will fit into any job though I think. Jose Mourinho I’m pretty sure could work wonders anywhere because players are always going to play for him.

Posted by Betting Blogger | Report as abusive

I agree wiht you!


Posted by simon | Report as abusive

I’d agree with that, Padraic. England would be crazy to elt Mourinho slip through their fingers, if he is truly interested.

Posted by kev | Report as abusive

Glen Hoddle had to pay a heavy price for some
thoughtless words – but England paid too because
Hoddle’s England team , reduced to 10 men , put
up a stirring World Cup performance.

I’d like to see him put back in charge of

Posted by Danny Posner | Report as abusive

Headline of the week on Who Ate All Thie Pies: he_fa_do_they.html:
“The FA – do they know the way to sign Jose?”

Posted by kev | Report as abusive