Monday, 29 October 2007

The Two-Face Perspective

Issue #3
Director of Football





Harvey Dent: So another manager fails under the Director of Football structure.

Two-Face: Failed? I would argue against that. I think Levy is accountable for appointing Santini but found himself lucky to then promote Jol to work with Arnesen. It worked with those two because they were suited for each other. There is nothing wrong with the structure as long as the parts fit.

Harvey Dent: Not many Arnesen signings left at the club.

Two-Face: Yes, but the point is Jol worked well with him. It was Arnesen that gave the go-head to promote Jol. Which forms part of the continuity flow that the DoF system is meant to promote. When Frank left for Chelsea, Levy had to replace the DoF. That’s the crux of the problem thats confusing you with the suggested 'failure'. You can’t employ a new director of football when you already have the coach there because you run the risk of bringing in someone who may not like the current manager. Levy had to obviously replace the gap left by Arnesen. I do agree that this was potentially a risk and was proven so.

Harvey Dent: Yes, and by your very defination it didn't work, did it?

Two-Face: It does work and has worked.

Harvey Dent: Nope. Comolli didn’t see eye to eye with Jol and vice versa. Neither were comfortable in each others company and had different targets in mind. That's the systems fault.

Two-Face: You are simply echoing what the papers write about the DoF structure and the fact that it supposedly undermined Martin Jol. Jol approved of the signings, but was found not capable of taking the club any further. Tactically he was shown up and incapable of developing the players and team. The DoF system works fine. You are missing the point. The problem was with Jol. Not the system.

Harvey Dent: Jol would work fine without a DoF. The problem was that Comolli found himself working with someone he couldn’t work with and vice versa. That's the systems fault. You do know Jol has gone on Dutch tv and made suggestions that things were not right at the club since the summer? He stated he had the same view as Arnesen. Doesn’t have to mention Comolli, and the fact he doesn’t speaks volumes. You even touched upon this yourself. He also stated he felt something was wrong during the summer and that in the end he was simply waiting till they took him aside to tell him he was sacked.

Two-Face: Thats Jol's perspective. Levy and Comolli will possibly suggest the opposite of that. But Levy knows to admit to anything would be detrimental for the way people percieve the DoF system. Levy knows the system works and knows that Jol doesnt fit into the system.

Harvey Dent: Best manager we've had for years and we've got rid of him because the system doesn't work? Lunacy. What about Petrov, Distin, Elano?

Two-Face: What about them?

Harvey Dent: Three players he wanted to sign, that’s Jol. Rejected for being either too old or too expensive.

Two-Face: We don't know that for sure. Didn't Petrov reject us because we wouldnt say yes to 100% first team football?

Harvey Dent: He also mentioned on Dutch tv that you can’t read too much into the £40M spent in the summer as the players are either for the future or for the subs bench and thus are not that big of an improvement to the squad. Sure, we all know Bent is a replacement for Berbatov. But how about spending money on areas that need immediate improving rather than covering our backs with the potential sell of one of our current players? The DoF was stagnating Jol.


Two-Face: Look, I'm not arguing that it wasn't working out for Jol - but that's down to Jol and not the system itself. It wasn't working in his favour, we can agree on that. In fact I would go as far as saying that Levy and Comolli made their minds up a while back and the players bought in the summer were players that another manager could reap the benefits from rather than signing a player that falls into the Jol philosophy. So that explains Jol's frustration on that £40M spent.

Harvey Dent: So you are saying what now? That the DoF works but it has to have the right director and coach?

Two-Face: Yes. Do you not listen? You know that's exactly what I mean. Look at Ramos at Sevilla. The DoF he had there was able to work in complete unison with Ramos. It was a perfect partnership. Comolli has appointed Ramos. Comolli sees him as the person, the type of coach, he can work with. They share the same philosophy therefore there will be little or no disagreements with signing players.

Harvey Dent: So let me get this straight. As long as the DoF remains consistent, i.e. the same person, then it doesn’t matter who is coach as long as the coach is of top drawer quality?

Two-Face: Retaining a DoF allows for continuity. It isn’t detrimental when we have to change manager. A new coach comes in and the same club ethos continues.

Harvey Dent: That’s really dressing it up right there. Detrimental? Of course it is. It’s not like there’s world class managers waiting to be picked off a tree. How many other managers do you think would suit Comolli? Surely we are limited to the DoF and his ethos? In fact, its almost like the DoF is the kingpin and the coach is there for his benefit. And if the DoF walks, then you need to start again. Its potentially messy. Very untidy.

Two-Face: And having one man buying and selling and coaching isn’t? The DoF is there to assist the coach. The coach wants a certain type of player, the DoF will draw up a list of 5 or so, and then along with Levy and others they will agree to sanction the transfer.

Harvey Dent: Works for Fergie and Wenger, not having a DoF.

Two-Face: DoF worked for Sevilla and Ramos pretty well too. You need to remember, when this system works – with a DoF and coach – who see eye-to-eye, then it WORKS. They obviously gave it a go with Jol due to circumstance and it worked with two top 5 finishes. But there’s been problems there for a while and they unfortunately exploded in August. Jols wasn't improving the team and if you look closely, which Levy obviously did, the team were going backwards. We flattered to decieve. Hence the chase for Ramos. And look what happened just before we got Comolli. We signed Rasiak. A DoF is there to aid the coach. If you want to believe the press that there is continuous disagreements on who we should sign then you are some what delusional. Nothing more, nothing less. The system does work. Jol simply wasn’t good enough for the system. He had to go.

Harvey Dent: If a manager isn’t capable of buying players on his own, then that individual can’t possibly be a good coach. Sure, have someone doing all the leg work but don’t dress it up as a ‘Director of Football’ and stick him at the top of the hierarchy. That has the potential for conflict. Jol was undermined because of it.

Two-Face: Oh please. Do one. Undermined? How so?

Harvey Dent: If you are part of a system that doesn’t work, how can you possibly concentrate on the work at hand? How can you even work with players if they are players that you did not want in the first place?

Two-Face: You’re saying what? That Spurs poor form is down to interference from above? That Jol wasn't inspired to work with the team he had because the team he had wasn't completely his own selection? That Levy and Comolli are to blame? That’s pushing the boundaries of belief just a tad. Put down your copy of the News of the World. Levy and Comolli are not out on the training field shouting out instructions. Jol takes reasonability for that. And he has failed to correct countless long running problems with selection and tactics. You can’t say this is the fault of the DoF system.

Harvey Dent: Ok, maybe not directly. But by your own admission you are saying it’s not working with Jol stuck in the middle of it, so ignoring the ideal template for the system - if all parts fit, it works like a dream – when they don’t fit, it quite obviously causes problems. In this case it’s done just that, so you can't argue that it works. The moment someone, a coach, feels surplus, then this will affect him and affect his management and his coaching and the players and the results. That’s exactly what’s happened. Jol has admitted that things haven’t been right since the summer. So, this is the fault of Levy above anyone else for the single fact that this whole system is his responsibility. The moment he brought in Comolli he should have sacked Jol if that’s what Comolli felt was the right thing to do.

Two-Face: Sack Jol? At the time there would have been a riot. The team were playing well and improving.

Harvey Dent: And the progress stagnated. The DoF system didn’t help matters. Again, remember you have stated that when the right people are working as part of the structure/system it works, when there's one person who isn't quite right, it doesn't work. What was it you said? There is nothing wrong with the structure as long as the parts fit.

Two-Face: Thats right.

Harvey Dent: Yes, and that's my point. If you don't have the right people in there then it wont work which means the DoF system doesnt work. Its not full proof and not stable.

Two-Face: It is if you get it right and you are naive if you think its easy to rid the club of Jol in a blink of an eye and replace him. Levy and the board have had to think this over and make the necessary changes over time. Wasn't fluid, but it wasn't a knee-jerk either. Levy's aim has been to bring back stability that will help produce the results needed. You need to see beyond Jol's lovable character and see he wasn't cut out for it. DoF or not.

Harvey Dent: This will go on and on...

Two-Face: Flick a coin and be done with it.

Harvey Dent: Up, up it goes…

6 comments:

oops said...

Kudos. I wonder who inspired this blog entry?

Paul Williams said...

The amount of negative hype surrounding the DOF is laughable. 'Experts' say it doesn't work and use Spurs as the example. It does work. Spurs are not the prime example to use. Sevilla would be, as pointed out. If a 'top 4' club used it, I doubt it would change much in the way of that top 4 clubs success. To a degree, Chelsea have had a similar system in place - though that is not the best example to use considering that Jose was pushed out of the club.

shelf side warrior said...

Superb piece of work.Personally think that there is nothng much wrong with a Dof. Arsenal and Utd probably have the same type of system when scouting/signing players helping out Wenger and Ferguson respectively.

Dazza said...

I don't think Wenger and Ferguson need anyone to suggest potential signings for them.

shelf side warrior said...

You think Wenger travels the length of Africa personally scouting potential talent? He has a network in place.Its the same principle.

Dazza said...

Does he have a network in Portugal?