Mr. Dillow Will Like This

His misfortune was to follow a man who was reckoned by everyone to know precisely what he was doing at every single moment of every single day. José Mourinho, the handsome Portuguese capable of weakening the most football-phobic of female knees, had elevated the art of coaching to new levels.

A wily media operator, a sharp tactician, the shrewdest of psychologists, Mourinho took credit for Chelsea\’s success in recent years. It was the manager who did it; nothing could have been done without him.

And yet, this season, the club is in with a strong chance of achieving everything with a man written off as second rate. It is a result that would suggest the manager doesn\’t matter that much. Which would rather undermine conventional wisdom.

We live in the era of management. We are fully paid-up members of the cult of the executive. It is a modern-day tenet of faith that everything can be delivered by simple application of management techniques.

2 thoughts on “Mr. Dillow Will Like This”

  1. “the club is in with a strong chance of achieving everything with a man written off as second rate”

    Is this the same Jim White that wrote in July last year that:-

    “On the evidence of his first couple of outings, Grant knows precisely what he is doing.”

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/sport/main.jhtml?xml=/sport/2007/09/20/ufnagrant.xml

    If Jim White thinks that managers don’t matter, he should explain how Wycombe, Leicester, Celtic and Villa all improved under Martin O’Neill.

  2. So Much For Subtlety

    Having worked as a British Civil Servant (for my sins) at one stage, I think that there is a huge difference between Management and leadership or executive skills or pretty much anything to do with running a business. Management is a bizarre fetish for reducing everything to numbers. Leadership is what good coaches do.

    And I would cite football as precisely the one sport that does not respond to Management. You can’t look at a team, count goals scored and the like and then make sensible management decisions. Often the best player is the one that passes instead of shooting himself. Football is a team sport after all – the only player who is “manageable” in that sense is the goalie. Poor bastard. Thus Communist countries usually have relatively crap football teams and excellent gymnasts whose performances *can* be reduced to a single number.

    In Britain “management” becomes the skilled manipulation of your inputs on paper and avoidance of any trouble by covering your arse which usually involves screwing your work mates with various degrees of success. Which, I assure you, does wonders for morale.

    God save me from a line manager who doesn’t give a shit what happens on the office floor as long as the paper work comes out right ever again.

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