Yes, the tiresome coach discussions. Or are they the “found food” for the media, in the absence of the ability to make the game itself palatable to the viewer? Skilful commentary on exciting scenes? Maybe that used to be the case. Today, all that is heard is a standardised mish-mash with a negative slant, live and in summaries.
The consequences of a discussion about a coach: very often dismissal. But in this context, it’s okay to ask a few questions about how this happens. For example: where does the “discussion” begin, who opens it? Who puts the coach under the famous pressure? Who determined that the coach is not the right one for the club and in the situation? Who makes him the “weakest link”? Who provides the players with the popular “alibis”? Where does the assessment that the coach is doing anything wrong actually come from? Who could guarantee “success”?
Well, admittedly, the questions are suggestive. Of course, the media open the discussion. Here, too, it is advisable to take a more multi-layered approach. Among other things, there is the aspect that – due to the inability shown in many other places to capture positive action, dramatic play in general and exciting progressions – there is simply nothing else to report. But the reporting should not fall asleep completely. A match report today is tantamount to counting goals. The analyses yield nothing more than a “in the end, the result is deserved, da….”. Each time, slightly differentiated sequences of generalities follow, which actually only provide an overall result and allow for a single (but generally valid) sentence supplement: “… because in football it’s the goals that count.”
On the media side, one is virtually forced to build up a fringe event which, if not positive – which is out of the question in principle, since most of them actually seem to orientate themselves on the journalist’s phrase “good news are no news” – then one can at least make sure that a few heads roll. Somewhere and somehow you have to create a spectacle, don’t you?
In addition, supposedly “everyone knows the laws of the coaching business” – which are, of course, simply “installed” in their way by the media – and therefore the “discussion” is simply “opened” after the second defeat, with one of the so ridiculous and so little human or empathetic questions to the coach — who just had to accept an unfortunate defeat with his team — which is anyway based exclusively on the knowledge of the results in terms of professional competence, and which reads: “Do you believe that the board is still behind you? ” or “Are you still reaching the team?” or “Do you think you’ll still be on the bench next week?”
So the media play a delightful double pass with themselves. The print media pick up the ball and write about the “discussions about the coach”, while the next interviews are based on this again.
Thus the wildfire is ignited. The players, of course, read this. You knew nothing about discussions, you work with this man every week, every day. They respect and appreciate him. Defeats never do any good, yet they continue to try to implement the guidelines. However, as soon as they read about the discussions – with the usual reference to knowing the laws – they also start discussing among themselves. But not whether he is the right man but rather whether he will withstand the pressure?
The next step is that – unquestionably from all the ridiculous and false “analyses” that want to accuse the coach of wrong handling of the team or wrong tactics or wrong formation — he really starts to doubt his work. He reads that the team has never lost with this player, but that he has already been relegated three times in his career, or that they scored exactly 1.4 points per game in the familiar old 4-3-2-1 under the previous coach, while now, in the 4-4-2, they scored a measly 0.98 points. He begins, without any special requirements, to try a change of players here, a change in training work there and a variation in tactics here.
The players begin to feel this. But that alone would not have a direct negative effect. This only comes in the next step: this is the alibi that has been created. As soon as the weakest link in the chain is identified, everyone – including the players in this case – knows that this link will probably break out long before they themselves are called to account.
After that, and as a result, the wildfire becomes a conflagration. As soon as the willingness to perform is no longer 100%, it is even called a vicious circle in which no more results can be achieved. The justification that drives each individual player to do this is in itself quite simple: “If I play weakly today, all that will happen is that we might lose, next week we’ll have a new man on the bench and with him I’ll start again from 0.” Since this extended to the collective makes defeat almost inevitable, the next steps are really predetermined.
The spectators turn on the team. The board has only one chance left: to pull the famous ripcord and – replace the weakest link.
What did all this have to do with the man’s abilities? You can actually see it: the coaching carousel keeps turning, three months later the man is back in office and leads the next team – with a bit of luck – into the Euro League — only to be sacked again on match day 12 of the next season.
The media have done a great job. And this is really just as true: they have done all the work. It’s a downright farce, a media campaign that is purely a demonstration of power. We can take care of everything! Objectivity? Judgement? True analysis? All completely irrelevant. The skills are reflected 1:1 in the results, there’s nothing to tamper with. If they are bad, the work was bad. Patience? Rehearsing a style of play, a tactic? Luck or bad luck? Other criteria? No such thing.
The spectator/listener/paying fan is supposed to “feast” on the spectacle of the media campaign, right up to the rolling head, in the absence of other, described, experienced, discovered eventfulness in the games.
Only one should know that in every game there are a number of luck factors that are responsible for the outcome. And two defeats in a row are guaranteed not to allow any conclusions to be drawn about the daily training work, still less about the coach’s abilities.
The chair is exclusively sawed by the media – and later off. Ruthlessly. These are the only valid laws. We make the laws, we write them, we call them, we follow them and we implement them. Here the law applies: whoever loses more than once is under pressure, whoever loses three times has to tremble, and the fourth time that’s it.
As soon as we succeed in extracting something from games and match results, in recognising the differentiations that actually exist, the weighty share of the so small word “coincidence”, which can also tilt serially against one and/or in favour of another and from a certain abundance becomes luck or bad luck, and above all open our eyes to what someone actually did wrong and what was right or what was good and what was bad, regardless of the result, then these inhuman laws could quite soon be a thing of the past.
The coach and his work are not and were not bad. Nevertheless, he was dismissed, only to find a new job shortly afterwards and be hailed as a “saviour”. Surely this should lead to the conclusion that he was merely the victim of a campaign when he was previously dismissed?