So the chase for a manager is over, and after all that has been said and done, it’s someone who was here last season. This isn’t exactly news of course; anyone who doesn’t know by now must have been living under a rock.
Many have been venting frustration, that after all the names mentioned and after all the promises of iconic names and experienced managers who can lead us to glory, they have stumped for a less than glamorous name. For a safe name.
This is no bad thing in my book. You want someone who knows the division, knows what players to get, knows our current players strengths and weaknesses. We went for the name last season in McClaren and look how that panned out.
Many of the big names linked and mentioned were frankly never on the agenda, Redknapp as I repeatedly said was never a contender, we may have spoke to him, but it would take something special for Redknapp to go north of the M25 to manage.
Look at the successful managers at this level over the last few years. Rodgers at Swansea, Lambert at Norwich, McDermott at Reading, and Adkins at Southampton, all of these are relatively unattractive safe managers. Two of these have now moved to “big clubs” and all of them were promoted. Compared with the big names, Eriksson, McClaren, Sousa, these have struggled to make the grade. They have success before and maybe will again, but they don’t know this division.
When you see the names who succeeded above, they were all in their second, third jobs, having been at a relatively smaller club before getting the reins at a larger Championship club, this is exactly what O’Driscoll has, so hopefully he can replicate those successes.
The appointment has apparently been largely player influenced. Maybe somewhat to do with the fact they experienced a large name sweeping in the guise of McClaren; they prefer the approach of an O’Driscoll. Dexter Blackstock certainly seemed delighted on Twitter and having a manager players want to play for is such a bonus, they will go the extra mile.
O’Driscoll has a hard task now though in creating a new defence from scratch. Whether he works with the youngsters available to make up at least a part of that, if not the backup, that remains to be seen. Hardened pro’s who know the division would be more than adequate.
The appointment itself has started to be mocked by fans of other teams. I don’t think they realise the fact that our board has listened to the players, and took a wider look at the situation. Rather than the initial promise of the big name, after looking at the situation and appraising what we need, they decided to go for the guy the players themselves say is good. It shows certain humility that new regimes often lack who go in all guns blazing and then fail to listen to what others recommend.
It has been pointed out by a few the similarity to what Blackburn did, in firing the recognised a manager and bringing in his assistant, but it doesn’t quite flow like that. Our man has experience, Kean didn’t, and he had left the club for another managerial role, not promoted from below.
The next few days will be key as we see the kind of players we are chasing and what kind of players sign up, how much financial backing O’Driscoll is given. Many have speculated because we have chosen a “budget” manager that it indicates the funds are significantly lower than first indicated. That is pure guesswork, conjecture. Others are saying he’s purely a yes man to be able to be dump Arabian players on, and that others had refused because of this, again guesswork. Does it matter as long as they cut the mustard?
As I say, an interesting week or so ahead as the new look squad is built and assembled.