Steve Clarke - Genius Appointment or Madness?
Well, now we know. After almost 2 months of deliberation and bookies making a fortune, we now have a new manager. To pretty much everyone, the choice was a surprise. The response from fans extremely mixed. Many see It as a huge gamble and can't understand how we came to the decision. If fans got a little overheated during the appointment process, it became a meltdown of Chernobyl proportions for some after the announcement.
I fully agree that it is a big risk. Pretty much every managerial appointment has risk though. So much is unknown. Even Roy's appointment was met with negativity from some quarters. I believe this appointment is more of a gamble than most of the recent ones though. We have gone from vast experience to a novice in managerial terms.
However, I can see the logic. Hodgson was an unusual appointment for us. He didn't really fit the model of the club. He is more than a coach, his control far wider. Whilst it worked out well, I think the hierarchy will feel more comfortable to get back to the blueprint set out by the club of a Director of Football and a Head Coach.
Many have seen the appointment as a panic measure. However, Clarke was not plucked out of the air at the last moment. He was considered at an early stage. We looked at all the top rated coaches around the country. Clarke, along with Hughton, were the favoured ones. Rangnick was the wild card but his coaching credentials were said to be top notch.
For whatever reason, Rangnick dallied, Hughton wanted his trusty lieutenants around him which wasn't part of our plan so Clarke got the job.
What we have now is a supreme coach. A man whose CV is fabulous. If he is good enough to be The Special One's right hand man for 3 and a half years then he has got something special himself.
Players are said to respond well to him and thoroughly enjoy his coaching. He keeps things fresh, works hard on defensive work and likes quick tempo passing football.
That all sounds good. The vast majority of a footballers work is spent on the training ground. It's the most vital component at a club.
However, we then have the many unknowns. He now has to make final decisions, not support decisions made by others. He now has to deal with potentially unhappy players that his decisions have created, not put his arm around them like before. He has to choose the tactics and then change them during games where required, not offer advice to his number 1 like before.
He has to deal with losing streaks. The true test of any manager and one that many a seemingly good manager has failed at in the past. Just look at Di Matteo for evidence of that.
This is where the gamble lies because we have no proof whatsoever how he will cope with all these factors. More importantly neither does he.
Many fans have taken this lack of experience as a surefire reason for future failure. I prefer to keep an open mind. I really don't know how he will cope so totally refuse to write him off before he starts.
I really hope that those who have made up their minds about him in a negative way give him a chance. We see this all the time in football. Unwelcome appointments are given a much harder time, their every decision questioned. There is no bigger one eyed creature than the football fan.
I hope he gets more balanced views and support than Villa fans gave Mcleish, than Liverpool fans gave Roy, than Blackburn fans gave Kean. He needs every single fan to have an open mind, give him ample time and offer total and unequivocal support.
This is now Stevie Clarke's Blue and White Army.