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Could Aston Villa Be The Saviours Of The English Manager??


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DC110980 writes...

First off, I'd like to apologise in advance if my writings seem to be nothing more than the incoherent ramblings of a mad man.

This is the first article I have written since my days at university many a moon ago (work reports excluded), and I hope it will be received generously.

You see, I have been thinking about the plight of the English national team; and how my beloved Aston Villa, are almost single handedly setting out to resolve the issues of our future generations - But what about managers??

It is my thinking that great managers come around only every so often in the English game (and they are rarely English) - Alex Ferguson, Arsene Wenger, Brian Clough, Martin O'Neill...the list goes on (albeit, not for much longer).

With only a hatful of names that spring to mind, and a million and one teams in the English game, is it any wonder teams like Manchester United and Arsenal excel when they manage to get hold of one of these greats??

Aston Villa have finally managed to do likewise with O' Neill, but what happens when these managers are gone??

Many pundits and fans alike point to the downfall of Manchester United and Arsenal once the management moves on to retirement - and why wouldn't we? It is proven time and time again in football that a new manager brings new ideas, and inevitably he wants to play a system that just doesn't work with the players already there - resulting in turmoil (Bolton without Allardyce anyone??)

For me, the answer is simple - We have one of the best youth systems in the country at the moment for training players of the future but why not managers??

The ramblings of a mad man? I beg to differ.

I am not suggesting having 30 strong trainee Martin O' Neill's - far from it. But imagine if we had a young chap interested in completing a sports related degree, and looking for a career in football in some form or another.

Now if Aston Villa were to take him in house (a kind of part time, work release system) and train him in the ideals of Aston Villa - molding his development from managing the youth set ups to reserves for say 10 years - gaining all his FA coaching badges in the process.

You would then have a number two to Martin O' Neill, who knew the club explicitly, how each system was managed, and first and foremost - how the current manager thinks...

Look at how Martin O' Neill and Roy Keane talk continuously about how much they learnt from Brian Clough as players under him... now imagine if he had a young protege?? Sorry, i digress...

Now if after these 10 to 15 years, Martin O' Neill were to move on - Aston Villa could have the perfect replacement in line - a relatively young mini Martin if you would - making the potential turmoil period at handover almost seamless.

Contrast this with what will happen at all the other top clubs, and this will surely bring us an advantage in staying at the top when (not if, but when) we get there.

The thing is, this idea is far too idealistic - not all will make the grade (similarly to our youth players) but what is the harm starting this process every few years and keeping the better models?

This will just mean more English managers in the lower leagues, trying to get to the top the only way they currently can do - by hard graft.

By being the club to implement a system it will surely help our rise to the top...

Management in English football, similarly to coaching - is seen almost as a last choice "I wasn't good enough to be a footballer, so i tried ........ *Insert position* instead"

Lets make these positions accessible to the potential we have in this country, and sit back and watch both Aston Villa, and the English national team climb back to the top.

I hope that all makes sense to those of you still reading (and thankyou for still reading!). I just needed to get it off my chest thats all. Far too many sleepless night wondering about how great the mighty Aston Villa look like they are becoming again.

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Interesting article and something I hadn;t really thought about. Makes sense and because of that I doubt that many clubs will take it on board. Unless it can happen overnight clubs don't always want to know!

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I hope our next manager is a step up from MON, who then continued the good progress sewn by his predecessor by taking a more global outlook on acquiring talent like Arsene Wenger. Ideally a foreign manager might be the order of the day - with MON and previous managers like JG signing just young UK talent and players with a point to prove may do us well for qualifying for the UEFA, but its hard to see how we can progress further into CL contention or even for the Prem title unless we get a manager with a worldwide reputation, excellent scouting contacts, who likes to play a mix of established world-class players and aspiring homegrown talent, with a strong tactical brain and who can keep a big squad happy. We don't have the status to attract such a name yet, but MON will get us there and when he does decide to leave (hopefully on a high after acheiving success with his team) we will be a big enough draw to attract a world-class manager.

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Good thought provoking stuff DC. I'm not sure how many of the current high earners will want to continue in the game as their futures are already secure without the pressures of being a manager and Keane may prove to be a bit of an exception here.

It seems to me that the players who want it bad enough should do what Martin did and pick up things from their current managers and then put it into practice at a lower level before doing it with the bigger clubs as Paul Ince seems destined to do or they could work under a top manager as his number two with a view to getting a top job in the long run as Tony Adams is likely to.

Being a great player does not mean you will be a great manager and grooming great players that may not have that something special that will make them great managers may not be as productive as might be hoped. After all the late great Bobby Moore was a better player than Graham Taylor but he found club management more difficult than GT did.

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I know this might sound a bit naive, but you mention a young chap to learn the idaeals of villa.. well i my career goal is to become a top football coach or at least as high as i can get. I am still only sixteen, so i have plenty of time to acheive this target, although i will be very hard. I have also written to villa, and asked about work experience and also to ask if i could simply watch martin O'neil in training ect, but on both occasions have been dismissed if that's the right word.

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I can understand why the club may 'dismiss' your request so to speak, they must get thousands of requests each week for peole trying to become a part of the club they love - so a blanket reply of 'no' to all of them is probably the only sensible option they have available to them considering the time it would take to sensibly review everything.

I suppose it would need to be a bit more gradual than getting striaght at Martin O N'eill himself anyway, probably working with the smaller younger youth teams, gaining experience from the bottom up so to speak.

You sound like the kind of ambitious guy im talking about, and good on you for trying to get somewhere in the game at an early age instead of being just another nearly man that just took an alternative route later in life. Its that early dedication that can make all the difference later in life.

Its a shame football clubs dont have such systems, because based on your reply, the interest is there for them if they tried it.

Im not daft, i dont expect every person they take on to become a great manager, but at least they'd have the first option on him if they did!

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Have never thought of a managers youth system... but the only reason i see that they do not have one is that they\would put money and effort into manager creation with no guarantee of getting a future top draw manager or finding a prodigy... and even if they did, there are no guarantee tht they will want to manage villa or that they will ever be required by the club in the future. Is an interesting concept but personally think the club will see it as a more of a loss to them than a potential gain (dont get me wrong there is potential for gain from your idea, i just dont see the weight of profit/loss as being beneficial).

is a very good question though... one i think you should look to ask the general about because they should be able to see the potential in a manager's academy.

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