While there’s a lot of talk about the return of Jose Mourinho to British football, there is none about who is the better football manager: Mourinho or Marc. This blog features self-parody comedy, built on truthful information. Its ultimate claim is that I, Marc, am better than Mourinho… on paper.
Opening Day Disasters
This is a long story, but I’ll try and make it as short as possible. It probably starts last season, when Mourinho had a better season than me. Then on the opening day of this season we both had disasters. The difference is, that I bounced back, while Mourinho went into terminal decline.
Mourinho seemed to want to win the first game of the season at all costs, maybe feeling the need to better last season, maybe going for a winning season at home or in all games, or maybe just wanting to get off to a good start, and build a strong lead at the top of the table before the Champions League.
Whatever his reasons, Mourinho lost his cool with physio Eva Carneiro, ignoring the Hazard warnings, and never seemed to regain his aura of previous seasons afterwards.
I also had a disastrous opening weekend, picking my team influenced by Arsenal’s strong end of last season showing. My hopes for a better season seemed dashed at the first hurdle. However, I took the advice of the Match of the Day 2 analysts and included Dimitri Payet in my plans after that, as he’d starred in the game. He has since been one of my stars of a successful season.
I didn’t think Leicester would be as successful as they have been, but I did have my maximum three of their players too. I remembered Rihad Mahrez’s speed and shooting power from the end of last season. Robert Huth has become a star, even though I missed his three goals as I had him as sub! I had Wes Morgan as my third player at the start, but swapped him for Jamie Vardy when Leicester couldn’t stop scoring or letting goals in! Recently, it’s gone the other way around, with their defence stronger than attack, again showing how things can change over a season.
So while Mourinho was sliding down to the relegation zone before leaving, my team was climbing the table.
I don’t know if they are good picks for the remaining games of the season for those who think I’m giving tips away! I’m still a Leeds supporter too, and was relieved they won 3 (a greenYgrey3?: no, can’t start claiming credit for influencing wins, although maybe the players heard about the blog, and stopped believing they were jinxed, as players often play better or worse under certain managers or conditions?) big games after I last blogged about them. Returning to greenYgrey wordplay and colours, Leicester starts with an Le like Leeds, and their away strip is very Leeds-like, and they’re a smaller ground club, so I’m thinking it is a case of what might have been… and could be…
Serious Point of Parody
While people reading this blog for the first time might think the above is slapstick humour at best, which can be the funniest sometimes when done well, there is a more serious side to it.
Generally, the main serious point is probably that you shouldn’t give up when all seems lost. Time usually provides new opportunities even when you can’t see any way out of a bad situation.
Personally, Mourinho and all the other proper managers in professional football are of course better than me now, because they’ve spent their lifetimes in it. But there’s a ‘but if…’
But if I’d passed my trial with Newport County back around 1980, and spent my life in football, might I be a top manager now?
But then there’s a lot of counter ‘but ifs’. I probably wouldn’t have gone to university then, and become a trained analyst. Maybe I’d be an ‘old school’ manager, not believing in new fads, like statistics, and depending totally on my playing experience.
Creative Writers and Football Managers
Another serious point is that football management is like writing in that way. People like me who have a good season think they could do it full-time, and it’s probably the same for people with full-time writing. People think that if they write a good letter, or know something a journalist doesn’t, then they should be that profession.
Maybe they could, or could have been, but most professions are as much about experience as potential. It’s also about being able to do it most of the day, and most days. The novelty soon wears off when it gets down to the nitty gritty; when you have to continue working when you don’t want to; trying to outdo each day’s coffilosophy; and doing the jobs you don’t like (editing rather than creating for me).
So, this season I think I am without doubt a better manager than Mourinho; relatively speaking at least. But so are most of the other managers in the world: on paper, verbally and on the field.
Will Mourinho bounce back? It depends on him, but also on the people and circumstances around him.
That’s one of the reasons I much prefer fantasy football management to how I imagine the real: while there is ‘luck’ involved in FFM, with events in games or injuries to players, generally it’s a fair playing field, with no influence by other humans, and ultimately all on paper (computer screens!).