The Players Manager vs The Dictator

I was watching Norwich City this weekend play Spurs.  If Norwich didn’t win there was a chance the Manager was going to be fired.  Norwich played with real passion and looked like a team on a mission.  They ended up getting the win and the manager kept his job for another week.  The players at Norwich respect and like Chris Hughton. They want to play for the manager and it showed.  Thats is not always the case in soccer.   When AVB’s job was on the line at Spurs you didn’t get the same feeling out of them.  I think the team was happy when he left.  AVB was like an unemotional robot.  His ability to form relationships with the players was lacking.  I don’t think any players complained when Di Canio was fired by Sunderland FC (they probably celebrated).  When Benitez was sacked at Liverpool you didn’t hear a peep.  There is a fine line when you are a manager between being approachable, open minded, easy to talk with but at the same time being respected as the boss.  As many flaws as Jose Mourinho has the players for the most part not only respect him but like him as a person.  Jose will often take players to dinner, ask them about their families and get to know them outside of the soccer context.  The days of the authoritarian coach who is the dictator is coming to an end.  In order for players to “buy in” to the coach they want to feel some type of connection.  A connection where the coach actually cares about them and is looking out for them.  The team is obviously the first priority for every one but there is also a personal relationship and respect between coach and player.  I remember a former Liverpool player who mentioned Benitez never talked to him for his entire two years at the club.  He never even said hello to him in the morning.  If that is a true story then I can understand why the players didn’t care when he left.  As society evolves the role of manager needs to evolve as well.  The dynamic between player and coach is changing.  I personally would always want to play for a coach I could relate to and respect than a dictator. 

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