Do coaches have to be “a good fit”?
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