I live in Turkiye. I’m surrounded by Besiktas fans, and during the summer, by season ticket holders. I went to my local coffee shop today, and they were sitting at a table drinking Cay (tea). When I told them who our new manager was, I didn’t get rolled eyes. I got laughter. “Sacked on Tuesday, relegated on Wednesday” was the response. Clearly, he hadn’t been a success. Then again, these were the people who told me Tufan was a once in a generation talent.
Therein lies the rub. Our new manager won’t accept anything other than 100% effort and a fitness level that rivals the best. I think that’s something Pep mentioned when he took over City. Since the FA Cup Final we’ve been robbed of all 11 players on the pitch giving it everything. It’s the one thing we all want to see. Win, lose or draw, if you put the effort in, we’ve got your backs. This is why I’m torn with being underwhelmed, but hopeful.
Valérien Ismaël wants to see an energetic team putting balls in the box. I seem to remember one of our previous managers taking us to second in Division 1, Europe and a FA Cup Final with the same concept. Can he get the players fit enough and energised enough to make it work when they know he’ll get the boot before they do? History says not. Over pampered players are why he’s only ever had one managerial success. We’ve seen too many players cruising because they know the manager goes before they do. I want an underdog willing to scrap and that’s his forte. Give him talent and that fight and anything could happen.
Will Gino and the board give him what he needs? It’s unlikely. They’ve proved with this appointment they only read headlines. We’d screamed about a lack of effort, so get a high energy manager in. I think that’s my gaming way of doing things. A long-term concept and growth for the club is a pipedream. I can never thank Gino enough for what he’s done, but every good business owner knows when to step back and let their team do their thing. He needs to do that now. I hope our new manager sees how important continuity is and brings in certain ex-players on the coaching side. It’s a quick and easy win. The rest is down to what recruitment we can do this summer. Let’s face it, we’ve had 3 years of dross. Living on the coattails of Deulofeu, Doucoure and the like are gone. Yes, investment to sell big is fine, but not by losing sight of the golden goose giving the opportunity.
Let’s not get this wrong. This is a massive risk. Everything on red in casino terms. As fans, we want to see blood, sweat and tears on that pitch. Too many for the past 3 years have shown none. This is a manager who expects nothing but effort. You may not be the most talented, but effort wins over a lazy talent every day of the week.
I remember finishing 4th from bottom under GT in Division 2. Elton stuck by his man and a year later we were in Division 1. A year after that we finished 2nd. You know the history. Hollywood (or Elstree Studios) could have made the film.
I’m not enthused by this appointment, but was happy to see a video of him actually at the ground. We want effort and energy. That’s what he brings. My question now is, can the players cope with it and will be properly supported as a man resurrecting his career for our benefit?
Maximilian Sam grew up above his mother’s clothes shop on St. Albans Road. He’s old enough to remember Luther Blissett playing for England Under 21s at Vicarage Road. He’s lived all over the World and always found another Watford fan to share the roller-coaster of a ride being a Hornet brings wherever he’s been. He is also an award-winning author of children’s books about the stray dogs he now looks after. You can find out more at www.maximiliansam.com. His latest book, “Stories From A Stray” is out now on Amazon.