Football Blog: Tangerine Flavoured

Monday, December 9, 2019

The Caretaker

The article isn't about the experimental electronic act 'The Caretaker' though he's pretty good - it's more about the heartstring tugging joy of Duncan 'Big Dunc' Ferguson and the pleasure afforded to wider football world by Everton Football Club's decision to do the caretaker manager thing properly. 

Not music by Duncan Ferguson

There's a few routes you can take when you sack your manager. Everton took the right one. Don't appoint someone straight away - that's boring. Don't appoint the assistant (unless it's Billy Ayre) - they're tainted by association. Don't get 'an interim manager' - that's just a stupid phrase that means 'caretaker manager' but sounds like you're trying a bit too hard to come across as business like.

The right option is always to appoint a legend who will whip everyone up into a frenzy and everyone likes. Instantly everything that went before is forgotten as everyone suspends their collective disbelief in the hope that simply singing his name will prompt a miracle. This can fail (Alan Shearer) but it's definitely the most fun.

However, whatever you do, don't let the bloke do the job long term because there's precious little to believe in these days and the talismanic qualities of the caretaker manager should be best left relatively untested for fear that grim reality be allowed to set in. Trevor Brooking at West Ham being the perfect example of someone who had just enough time to enhance an already legendary status.

Image result for Trevor Brooking
Reputation intact
But whatever the longer term consequence of Ferguson's reign, Everton will always have that match. Apparently, they tackled more than they have in any match for the last 10 years. Ferguson also played a crazy throwback formation (you might have heard of it - it's called 4-4-2) and did insane stuff like look like he gave a fuck and be really happy when Everton scored.

It's on trend in management now, to scowl, to prowl, to be slightly disdainful of such gauche pleasures as celebrating a goal. Instead, you must give off an air of aloofness, as if you are really thinking about whether or not to switch to a formation consisting entirely of left backs playing up front or to rotate your goalkeeper to ensure his electrolyte levels are at an optimum level. Acting like this makes pundits say things like 'know-how' and 'insight' and everyone is happy because your ego is massaged and they can spend hours explaining how a game of football was won or lost using 3d infographics and flogging betting adverts in the breaks. It's also crucial to have a really good coat and to possibly combine this with knitwear or a roll neck.

So, what a delight when Ferguson stuck two up front and added two wingers, two central midfielders, two full backs, two centre halves and a keeper, got them wound up and they won. It doesn't leave that much to talk about. The wingers ran down the wing, the full backs played full back. Everyone did their job. Nothing more to say.

Ferguson looked so happy that I'd fear for him being in the job much longer.

I don't think I can stand to see a downcast Big Dunc, in front of the cameras, mumbling about how 'it's not good enough' and and becoming a bit of a laughing stock. He's better than that. Like Trevor Brooking, he's too important to allow his club to burn him out on the management merry-go-round, to fucking brilliant to be analysed by the new breed of 'tactically aware' journalists who write articles like 'How Klopp has revolutionised the art of the full back' and manage to churn out 1000 words on some kid who is really quick getting forward a bit. If Big Dunc wants to play 4-4-2 then he will play 4-4-2 and you, you jumped up prick who probably ran a newspaper named after your family called 'the Foster Times' and included stories about your dad putting up a new shed and your sister getting a new pair of shoes have no right to question him, for he is Big Dunc and he has done shit and you have not, beyond 5-a-side that you probably only play so you can have banter with all the other journalists who sound exactly like you on your shit podcast.

I feel very strongly about this.

I also feel very strongly that Ferguson doesn't need to be rung up about on 606, with people who read the above journalists making second hand points that they don't even understand complaining about 'tactical naivity' or 'the club needing a proven winner' - If the country is too full, then I'm all for setting these people to sea in an open boat. I don't give a shit what Dave from Surrey thinks. Big Dunc is Big Dunc is Big Dunc. He's beyond critique.

I'd hate to see him deflated, hands in his pockets, his shiny suit dulled, made ordinary. I'd hate to see him shrunk and sad, hands on his chin, slumped in the Goodison dugout looking like a depressed parent sitting in a little primary school chair, despairing that they can't control their unruly child and are facing yet another meeting with the school where they have no answers. It surely would end that way. Spoilt footballers rolling their eyes behind his back, languid sulky performances by superstars not happy about running the channels, grumbling fans muttering that 'he's picked his favourites again' when all he's trying to do is put a team on the pitch that will give the effort he knows the shirt deserves.

He deserves far better. He's a legend. Keep it that way.


Post a Comment

Follow on Twitter!

Get MCLF in your inbox!

Subscribe with a feedreader!

Buy the book (proceeds to Blackpool Foodback)

Blog Archive

Yet another bad owner. Where do they breed them?

This is Brooks Mileson. He owned Gretna FC. If you don't know who he is or what the score is with Gretna, it might be worth giving it ...