Sunday, 25 April 2010
What does the players' love for Zola tell us?
It was wonderful to watch Parker run to Zola after scoring that goal. The affection for his manager was obvious and you could see from all the players that the win was as much for Zola as it was for themselves, the club or the fans. What conclusions should we draw from this? How can you sack a guy who obviously has such support from the team he is managing?
The Zola backers will use this as the main reason in favour of retaining the lovable Italian. The argument goes, don't blame Zola, he clearly has the support of the players. The trouble is, should the players love their manager so much?
Listening to a Hull player on MOTD last night was very informative. The criticism of Brown was amazing. Most were shocked by Brown's (effective) dismissal, but it seems he had lost the players completely. Obviously you don't want to go that far. But what good has appointing Dowie done them? Hull looked a better team under Brown to me, perhaps because he was prepared to chew off the primadonna "superstars" who now "grace" our football pitches in the Prem.
Let's bring it closer to home. Who was more popular with the players, Curbishley or Roeder? Who was the more successful manager? Who did the players and fans like more, Bonds or Redknapp? Who has proved the more successful manager? Apparently, Greenwood and Moore had very little time for each other as people, but that didn't make Greenwood a bad manager did it?
It was player pressure that landed Roeder the job at Upton Park and look at how disastrous that proved!
How popular are the best managers? Martin O'Neill had a tense relationship with Clough and Robertson, one of his European Cup winning players, said how he did not like Clough, the man. There is no doubt that Clough, one of the best managers the game has ever seen, was objectionable in the extreme - but that didn't stop the players recognising his brilliance as a manager did it?
Would the players have ever hugged Revie? Not a chance. Revie was a manager - a man apart in public, but his players respected him enormously and knew that he would back them to his last breath. A mate? No. A manager? Absolutely. Can you imagine Revie not being in contact with "one of his boys" if he was out for 12 months with a career threatening injury? Mobile phones didn't exist back then, but Revie would never have ignored a player in the way that Zola ignored Ashton.
Do you think the players "like" Wenger? Do they run to the touchline and hug him? How about Ferguson? Jose is an interesting one. He is Clough like, playing with the emotions of the players, using the team almost as an extension of his own ego. But do the players like him in the way ours like Zola? I doubt it.
Sadly, football and management are not about being "nice" and popular, football and management are about winning. Why were the players hugging Zola? Because we were winning -against Wigan! Winning has become such a rare event at West Ham that any victory provokes this public outpouring of relief. That's not to the credit of Zola, that's an indictment: a home victory over a team in the bottom 8 should not be cause for wild celebrations, should it?
So where do we go from here? Has this changed anything? We will survive, but we may survive with the lowest number of points ever secured by a club not relegated from the Prem. Even if we win our last two games, we will still finish with 2 points less than when we were relegated under Roeder. Those are the hard facts and no amount of smiling and hugging will change that. On Monday, we surrendered at Liverpool. Zola's response was to field the same team, except for the return of Parker. Yes we won, but how well did we play? If we are honest?
Zola is a very nice guy but what good is that if very nice guys finish 17th - or lower?
Posted by Hammersfan at 09:56